Industry Insights

Interview with SDL CMO Peggy Chen on Globalization

92% of companies face challenges as they translate content into different languages and only 29% integrate their content management system with a translation management system or language service provider, according to 2016 Forrester Consulting study commissioned by SDL. Knowing the market has certain needs, SDL, a provider of global content management and language translation software and services, announced two global solutions, a marketing solution, and the release of SDL Trados 2017, in an effort to address the adaptation, management, and delivery of global omnichannel content through the combination of content management and translation management technology. 

Today, I reached out to Peggy Chen, Chief Marketing Officer at SDL, to discuss globalization, their challenges, and SDL's newly announced offerings. Before diving into the conversation, I would like to step back for a moment to introduce the new capabilities for those who are not familiar with them. 

SDL Global Digital Experience Solution

The solution includes a package of 2 million translated words using advanced machine translation plus a package of human translated words equivalent to 8 average local country websites. As a result, SDL Global Digital Experience Solution is designed to provide more effective and effecient customer communication on a global scale. According to SDL, the product accelerates time to market for time-critical content without sacrificing ongoing content standards and consistency. Here are some capabilities: 

  • Direct submission of content for translation from SDL Web

  • Real-time translation status updates

  • Built-in translation review workflows that include in-progress review

  • In-context translation previews

  • Trained machine translation engines for select industries

  • Translation memory.

SDL Global Knowledge Delivery Solution

The solution includes a package of advanced machine translation and human translated words, similar to SDL Global Digital Experience Solution. The company aims to radically change how organizations manage technical content on a global scale by enabling them to deliver quality technical documentation and support content anywhere in the world, in any language, on any device much faster and at a lower cost. Here are some capabilities: 

  • Direct translation requests from within SDL Knowledge Center

  • Fully manageable multilingual content 

  • Trained machine translation engines for select industries

  • Provides authors with direct access to advanced translation capabilities, using both machine and human translation

  • Review content collaboratively between content authors and subject matter experts (SMEs)

  • Publish content automatically into any destination format

  • Translation memory

SDL Marketing Solutions 

SDL believes that the cost effective delivery of locally relevant – but globally consistent – content across all customer touchpoints is one of the biggest challenges facing brands today, as it creates the fragmentation issue. To help organizations overcome this challenge, SDL integrated its transcreation and copywriting services as well as rich media production services into its managed web content services. The Global Marketing Solutions Offering is designed to provide its customers a single source solution to manage, adapt, and deliver global branded content faster and at a lower cost. Specific services included in this offering are:

  • Managed Web Content Services include translation, editing and omnichannel delivery services that bring together the creative with the site management and publishing of content on a global scale.

  • Transcreation & Copywriting Services complement all forms of translation and adaptation for creative local marketing messaging. This service uses bilingual copywriters to adapt messaging and brand tonality to increase local relevance and impact.

  • Content Production Services provide image, video, graphic and animation localization and transcreation. 

My interview with SDL CMO Peggy Chen on Globalization

Based on your experience, what are the most common challenges brands struggle with when it comes to operating global content? 

Companies are, ultimately, trying to reach a broader audience across the world. To achieve this really depends on how they actually communicate, and the content is their vehicle to communicate. Therefore, the way that they manage and deliver the content becomes so critical. If you really think about the entire content lifecycle, from creation, management to delivery across channels, one of the biggest challenges that organizations struggle with are silos. According to the study conducted by Forrester and SDL, only twenty-nine percent of enterprises that work with a language service provider or translation management systems have a direct integration with their web content management system. If you do not integrate translation into your content system, it means that your transcreation process is sitting somewhere else – it is either outsourced or taken care of by a couple of different departments within the company. It often leads to manual processes and fragmented technology environments. At the end of the day, organizations really want to communicate fast after they launch their products. Speed is one of biggest challenges. 

What are the challenges SDL specifically wanted to address with these new, integrated offerings?

This week we announced two global solutions. The first one is SDL Global Digital Experience Solution which is targeted at marketing departments. If you want to launch a local and global website campaign across every channel, this product is the complete solution that includes integrated translation capabilities and a content management system available in the cloud, meaning that you can get your campaign up and running very quickly. It also comes with integrated machine translation capabilities on the backend as well as our professional translation services which are powered by humans. So we make sure that our customers can convey the right message locally to that particular audience. 

The second solution, SDL Global Knowledge Delivery Solution, is similar to SDL Global Digital Experience Solution but it is targeted at product development departments instead of marketing, as it is designed for managing technical content on a global scale. The same technology is applied to this product. 

What are your actionable recommendations for brands that want to tackle brand loyalty with today’s digitally-savvy and demanding customers?

To cultivate brand loyalty, first, you have to think about your global strategy. That has to be thought about holistically and in advance. You can’t think about globalization after your execution. If your goal is to reach x number of market in Y amount of time, you have to plan it out in the beginning. It means that as you’re building your product, you should make sure that you have a plan for how you’re going to globalize all of your product with various languages. Let’s say that you are launching a campaign that has a multimedia capability so you have a video regarding your product launch. The assets of the video can even differ, depending on the market. A color, for example: in the US, green conveys a more positive message whereas red is perceived as passion. However, in the Asia-pacific market, red doesn’t have the same impact, conversely, it is a traditionally symbolic color of happiness. So when you’re localizing your content you should consider not only the words but also the visual and vocal aspects of your campaign. In that regard, we also have an entire globalization consulting organization which specializes in helping companies localize their content with the various languages. 

What are your predictions on the direction of the industry for 2017? 

In 2017, more companies will start to think about how they need to look at the topic of language globalization transcreation in the context of what they’re currently doing with their actual content. I think, this should be entirely powered by digitalization. For hundreds of years, we were wired with human connections, now we are in the digital era, more people can actually communicate and get access to a lot more information but what has changed is that you don’t have a direct connection to the content. In the digital world, there is really no country border anymore and people, at the end of the day, want to be able to understand each other. We believe that in this next age, which is the Age of Understanding, the humanized digital experiences integrated with the immigration of content and language will go a long way, so people can understand each other better. 

If you would like to hear more on SDL’s WCM solution WEB 8 you can watch the 16-minute vendor spotlight segment of the CMS-Connected Show aired on July 28th. 


Need for Global Content Operating Model

As I mentioned in the beginning of my article, Forrester Consulting conducted a study on behalf of SDL titled, “Remove Translation Barriers That Obstruct Digital Experience Success.”  The study that surveyed 151 organizations across the U.S. revealed that 48% of business and IT professionals are planning to move to a global content operating model within the next 24 months. On the other hand, even the enterprises are still struggling with some certain challenges about operating global content. In fact, the study cited that 92% of respondents have experienced challenges as they translate content into different languages. The common challenges retrieved from the survey: 

  • Respondents cited a lack of standardization for translation processes (35 percent) and lack of centralized budget (30 percent) as two top challenges

  • Thirty-one percent of organizations feel that a lack of understanding of customer needs at the local level are impediments

  • Twenty-nine percent of enterprises that work with a language service provider or translation management systems have a direct integration with their web content management system (Web CMS), resulting in subpar manual processes for most

  • Sixty-two percent reported having five or more content repositories, while 36 percent have 10 or more, leading to fragmented technology environments

The study also revealed very interesting facts that draw the big picture of the market which I found quite interesting: 

  • Nearly half of enterprises are running 10 or more country websites

  • 70 percent currently support five or more languages across websites and other channels.

  • The top support languages for websites and digital content are, in order: English, Spanish, French, Chinese, German, Japanese 

  • Over 50 percent of companies do not localize content types that support mid-funnel and post-purchase activities, such as pricing, technical documentation, and training 

  • While 45 percent of firms report using a language translation service provider, 40 percent translate content themselves 

  • Depending on the type of content, up to two-thirds of companies use some level of machine translation – with the vast majority using a combination of machine and human translation or solely human translation 

Another interesting finding comes from Gartner as the research firm estimates that $77 billion of revenue will be created by more than 268 billion global downloads by 2017. Yet more than half of the countries on the top 10 list of application downloads and revenue are those in non-English-speaking nations in Europe and East Asia. 

My Take 

All these findings essentially mean that the distinction between domestic and global market is shrinking, and it is no secret that organizations acknowledge how important global content is in driving holistic and relevant experiences across all channels. I mean, more than 6,500 languages are spoken around the world. As a bilingual and a non-native English speaker, I definitely agree that interacting with your customers in their native language has a huge impact on decision making and, more importantly, brand loyalty. Many studies find that consumers increasingly prefer to learn, shop, and transact in their native language. Therefore, the growth does not seem to be impaired anytime soon. Globalization and an increase in immigration are considered the key drivers. The opportunity lies therein for brands which want to cultivate brand loyalty with today’s digitally-savvy and demanding customers. 

Venus Tamturk

Venus Tamturk

Venus is the Media Reporter for CMS-Connected, with one of her tasks to write thorough articles by creating the most up-to-date and engaging content using B2B digital marketing. She enjoys increasing brand equity and conversion through the strategic use of social media channels and integrated media marketing plans.

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