Providing education on the business value of global information through our research is an important part of our content globalization practice. As we know however, the value of research is only as good as the results organizations achieve when they apply it! What really gets us jazzed is when knowledge sharing validates our thinking about what we call “universal truths” – the factors that define success for those who champion, implement and sustain organizational investment in multilingual communications.

Participants in our 2009 study on Multilingual Product Content: Transforming Traditional Practices into Global Content Value Chains told us that eliminating the language afterthought syndrome in their companies– a pattern of treating language requirements as secondary considerations within content strategies and solutions — would be a “defining moment” in realizing the impact of their efforts. Of course, we wanted more specifics. What would those defining moments look like? What would be the themes that characterized them? What would make up the “universal truths” about the remedies? Aggregating the answers to these questions led us to develop some key and common ingredients for success:

  • Promotion of “global thinking” within their own departments, across product content domains, and between headquartered and regional resources.
  • Strategies that balance inward-facing operational efficiency and cost reduction goals with outward-facing customer impacts.
  • Business cases and objectives carefully aligned with corporate objectives, creating more value in product content deliverables and more influence for product content teams.
  • Commitment to quality at the source, language requirements as part of status-quo information design, and global customer experience as the “end goal.”
  • Focused and steady progress on removing collaboration barriers within their own departments and across product content domains, effectively creating a product content ecosystem that will grow over time.
  • Technology implementations that enable standardization, automation, and interoperability.

Defining the ingredients naturally turned into sharing the recipes, a.k.a. a series of best practices profiles based on the experiences of individual technical documentation, training, localization/translation, or customer support professionals. Sincere appreciation goes to companies including Adobe, BMW Motorrad, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Mercury Marine, Microsoft, and the New York City Department of Education, for enabling their product content champions to share their stories. Applause goes to the champions themselves, who continue to achieve ongoing and impressive results.

Want the details?
Download the Multilingual Product Content report
(updated with additional profiles!)

Attending Localization World, Silicon Valley?
Don’t miss Mary’s presentation on
Overcoming the Language Afterthought Syndrome
in the Global Business Best Practices track.

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