Third in a series of interviews with sponsors of Gilbane’s 2009 study on Multilingual Product Content: Transforming Traditional Practices into Global Content Value Chains.

We spoke with Kelli Kohout, global marketing manager for Jonckers Translation & Engineering.  Jonckers is a global provider of localization, translation, and multilingual testing services, with operations across the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Kelli talked with us about Jonckers’ role in the global content value chain, why they supported the research, and what she found compelling about the results.

Gilbane: How does your company support the value chain for global product content? (i.e., what does your company do?) 

Kohout: Ultimately, Jonckers is helping clients develop content that earns understanding, adoption and loyalty from global customers.

Sometimes clients come to us with original content that will not localize well – in other words, that is not easy to turn into localized versions that achieve the desired response from audiences.  We provide best practices for improving the quality of their source content, asking additional questions regarding their organizations’ goals for their global clients, in order to improve the success of global adoption.  In doing so, we prove Jonckers’ philosophy that resulting translations can even improve on the source (in-country translators with longevity, institutional knowledge, up-to-date cultural knowledge, commitment).  We also help clients save time and money by delivering content that is flexible enough to be used for more than one purpose.

Gilbane: Why did you choose to sponsor the Gilbane research? 

Kohout: Our clients no longer compete solely on the basis of a better product or service – it’s about customer experience.  And in today’s economic environment, our clients are struggling with how to generate revenue by increasing innovation and global reach, which means increasing the amount and accessibility of multilingual content.  Simultaneously, they need to decrease expenses, like the costs associated with providing customer service.

This all points to the increasing need to localize effectively and efficiently.  Jonckers sponsored this study for the common good – the more we share trends, best practices and lessons learned, and the more we know what challenges our clients are facing, the more effective and valued localization services will be.

We also hope this study will raise awareness of some important localization best practices that will make companies more successful.  For instance, we see clients beginning to realize the importance of involving localization planning early in the product development lifecycle, but there’s still room for improvement there.  When localization is an afterthought, the outcome is not as good, there are extra costs, and bigger picture timelines can be adversely affected.

Similarly, more clients are recognizing the value of integrating the localization effort more closely with other functions.  As the study points out, there are more cross-functional champions within organizations who understand the big picture and have the mindshare with executives.  These champions can advocate for the needs of the localization function and help demonstrate its value.

Gilbane: What, in your opinion, is the most relevant/compelling/interesting result reported in the study?

Kohout: We’re seeing an increase in our clients’ global business objectives, but the study confirms that – on the whole – we’re still in the early stages of understanding the global content value chain.  For example, one of the top corporate objectives related to localization is customer satisfaction, which is important, but few are fully utilizing localization to manage their brand globally.  So there’s still room to evolve.  In addition, there’s a focus on generating revenues from emerging markets, but very few have yet tapped the potential from established geographies.

For insights into customer experience as a new basis for competitive advantage, see “Content Utility as the Value Proposition” on page 15 of the report.  You can also learn how Jonckers contributed to Adobe’s effort to build a globalization infrastructure that improves customer satisfaction, raises quality, and saves costs.  Download the study for free.

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