Adapting to the pressure: the critical role localization plays in digital customer engagement

Camille Avila 27 Mar 2023 6 mins read
As famously quoted by Heraclitus, “The only constant in life is change.” This statement holds true for all aspects of life, including the business world. In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, businesses across all industries are under pressure to keep up with the pace of change. Just look how rapidly artificial intelligence (AI) has swept across all industries, transforming the way we do business. 
The localization industry is no exception to this trend. With the constant evolution of technology and changing market demands, it is more important than ever to keep a pulse on the industry. That’s why Trados recently conducted its third industry-wide Translation Technology Insights 2023 (TTI) survey to shed light on the challenges being faced by professionals in the translation industry and offer valuable insights into what can be done to tackle them. 
In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the impact of mounting pressures on over 400 corporate translation departments, through the findings of the TTI survey. We will also explore why localization has a critical role for corporations in increasing digital customer engagement and delivering exceptional customer experience.

An industry under pressure: work demands intensify

In today’s global economy, companies need to localize large volumes of content in various formats coming from a variety of channels to effectively reach their international audience. Even companies that have implemented translation programmes are feeling the pain of increased demand. The TTI tells us that translation work demands are intensifying, and corporations are experiencing the brunt of it.  
While language service providers (LSPs) and freelance linguists are also feeling the pressure, corporations are seeing the most significant increase in demand in three areas: the number of project files (48%), the number of departments requesting work (37%), and the number of words per project (37%) in the last 12 months. 
Given that the TTI also tells us that delivering translations faster is an ever-present pressure for translation departments, and that high-quality translations remain a top priority, just how are corporations tackling the increasing demand for translation? 

Relieving the pressure: the role of technology 

While technology can alleviate translation work pressures, not all solutions are equal. Using only traditional technology like translation memory, terminology and CAT tools, as we have done for the past 30 years, is no longer enough. Even with the increasing use of machine translation to speed up processes, the problem of scale and pace of content now dwarfs what the more traditional translation processes can handle, which is why new technology is needed to keep up with the demand for translation.   
Although overall we see a mature industry in terms of technology adoption, this is not universally so, with 53% of corporate TTI respondents labelling themselves as less mature on the Localization Maturity Model (LLM) developed by CSA Research. And with CAT tools still playing a critical role in 69% of corporations, many are lagging behind in terms of the adoption of newer technology and processes.  
Slightly newer, yet well-established, technology like translation management systems (TMS), software localization tools, and connectors are greatly underused. These tech offerings could significantly ease work pressures by helping the seamless flow of content through the translation process and automating time-consuming tasks. Given the lack of adoption, it is no surprise that 73% of corporations are looking to improve their work processes.

Why does it matter to corporations?  

But why should corporations invest in improving their own translation management processes? The answer is clear, given by those who are most important to them - their customers. 
The RWS Unlocked 2023 Report surveyed 6,500 e-commerce site users across 13 global markets, revealing the importance of speaking to potential customers in their own languages. The report found that 82% of consumers will not purchase from global sites that don’t offer local language support. 
With customers now predominantly online and interacting with content across various channels, investing in localization has become a critical aspect for businesses to remain relevant and competitive. So, the biggest shift in consumer behaviour, as it relates to the localization industry, is that there is more consumer expectation that content they interact with is in their languages. And if their language is not available, they are likely to take their business elsewhere.  

It is in corporations’ interest to do something that benefits their customers, and with 71% of global consumers trusting brands that have a localized online presence more than those with a standard global experience, the research highlights a massive opportunity for businesses looking to engage with global audiences, build trust, and expand into new markets through digital channels. With this knowledge, corporations can make informed decisions and take proactive steps to ensure their businesses thrive in the face of ongoing change.

Successfully navigating change

While change can be difficult, many corporations are successfully navigating it by using the latest available tools to connect, automate, and collaborate on translation within and between teams. For example, a popular skincare e-commerce company wanted to rapidly expand its global reach. Time was the most critical factor in their digital transformation requirements, and they quickly identified that translation was a potential road blocker. They deployed a cloud-based TMS with a CRM connector within just 2 days, implementing and supporting an agile process. Read more about this case study. 

As you can see, for businesses to adapt to the ever-changing demands of the industry, keep up with increased pressures and stay ahead of the curve, the right translation technology is crucial. With this investment, you can ensure your content is connecting with customers, in positive and long-lasting ways. 

You can read more about the pressure facing the localization industry and changing attitudes towards some key technologies in the full TTI 2023 report.

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Camille Avila

Camille Avila

Senior Product Marketing Manager
Camille is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at RWS, with eight years of experience in the localization industry. Currently, she oversees the Trados portfolio, with a dedicated focus on translation technology for the corporate markets. Her role is to assist corporations in effectively communicating with their customers by ensuring their content is understood, in any language.
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