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Forward thinking LSP slays inefficiency beast with best-of-breed connection solution

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With all the recent buzz about “closing the gap” between the enterprise and the translation frm, the dire need for “automated processes” and the demand from clients for language service providers to keep costs in check while providing better service and faster turn around time, every LSP is wondering: “How do I deliver?”

Forward thinking LSP’s are taking several steps to meet all these goals. This is the story of how one forward thinking LSP took charge of the challenges and proactively slew the beast of connectivity with one very fexible sword.

Forward thinking LSP slays inefficiency beast with best-of-breed connection solutionSyntes Language Group is a Colorado-based LSP that has been around for a long time – 20 years since its beginning in Houston as Global Translation Services. Twenty years seems like ages in our fast moving industry. To give you a sense of history, the frst two word processing programs used by Syntes

(Farsight and Borland’s Sprint) are long gone, and when then Global Translation Services purchased its frst 40 MB hard drive, they were hot stuff! As early adopters of technology, Syntes transferred fles using modems and a bulletin board system, way before anyone knew what the Internet was. Their project managers were conversant in Kermit, X-modem, Y-modem and all of those “languages.” Their vendors resided in a DB II database. Forward thinking stuff in those days!

ClientSide News Magazine pictureAs several LSPs have done over the years, Syntes developed its own proprietary “project management” system and used many different translation tools from the very beginning of the technology. Their frst TM tool was IBM Translation Manager, another dinosaur. For many years, they wrote their own routines, flters and ad-hoc programs to analyze, process and manage client fles. At the same time, they continued to improve on their processes and workfows, and implemented different TM technologies from several software vendors. Meanwhile, the number and complexity of client fles continues to increase.

With all this technology in house – the question became – what’s the next level? How can we be even more effcient? And how can we do this in a manner that directly ben-efts our clients?

First off – Syntes examined their challenges. They came up with the following assortment:

Many clients have legacy systems that require tedious and error -prone manual labor to extract and return text .

This is more common than ever suspected. For instance, they have a client that has to manually extract lots of different items and content from a database then populate a spreadsheet (or several), which they then email over for translation. Syntes then returns a spreadsheet and then the client manually puts the content back into the database.

Fun factor for the client? Zero. Effciency Rating? 0.0001. Reliability index? -10. Bad news all around for any client with legacy systems.

Clients who have developed o rare developing their own custom CMS solutions.

This is also far too common. While clients should usually choose a commercially available CMS product - some frms are just committed to doing it themselves. And while this is sometimes defensible, trying to build a “translation module” into their CMS is not. But they try and this is a path fraught with ineffciencies.

If Syntes were to work within the CMS, then the client can’t use all of Syntes’ TM solutions, without a lot of manual labor on both sides.

If a client really wants their own custom CMS, they should at least be able to send their content in such

a way that it can easily use all available technologies and processes on the translation side so they can deliver faster time-to-market, additional consistency and quality, and cost efficiencies.

Some clients require Syntes to access varied CMS systems to extract content and put it back in.

This is the classic “if you want our work you’ll come get it” approach. We know an LSP who interfaces with twenty-two different systems on a daily basis! Not a good way to be effcient. In addition to the manual effort required in getting the content, there’s no way to leverage TM or Terminology management, etc., Further, there’s a huge learning curve for each and every systems and each and every resource who has to interact with each system. Lastly - there’s no back up strategy when a resource is absent, or leaves - unless you’re going to train every resource on at least TWO systems. There’s a word for this - ineffcient.

Clients wth disparate or vared departments or Business Units, use different ways to manage their content and documents.

This is very common in larger frms that have grown through acquisition, making new business units out of the recent takeovers and leaving existing content and document management systems in place.

In these scenarios - there’s no way of providing any centralized control, reporting or status. There’s no way to know what’s going on across all these systems and this provides a challenge for both the LSP and client as they struggle to get visibility across all the systems and projects.

This is quite a list and proved a bit of a challenge.

Enter Clay Tablet .

Syntes’ Beatriz Bonnet had met the CEO of Clay Tablet, Robinson Kelly at Localization World in Montreal in 2006 and the two hit it off instantly. Recalls Kelly, “She knew every translation technology standard out there, and I thought to myself – here’s an LSP owner who fully gets technology.”

Bonnet was intrigued – here was a company marketing a connection technology that might meet all these requirements – could it ft the bill? She started her analysis, but not without frst putting Kelly and his staff through

the paces and looking at many demos. Over the last year, Kelly and Bonnet continued to get to know each other’s company and discussed how collaboration between the two companies might work. And Bonnet continued to analyze all the options to best serve Syntes’ clients. She continued to talk to the clients exhibiting the problems outlined above and their plans for the future. To some extent, she hoped that more of them would move to a more centralized, single commercially-available CMS. It soon became obvious that companies sometimes have good reasons to stay with their legacy system, or to move from a legacy system to a newer custom CMS system.

Remembering all the interactions with clients and with the Clay Tablet folks, it started to become obvious that the best way to serve Syntes’ clients was to offcially partner with Clay Tablet and work as a team to gain additional effciencies and offer clients a solution that can make project managers’ jobs everywhere signifcantly easier. Our partnership became offcial in December, and we have already identifed key opportunities to add value to Syntes clients. Because Clay Tablet is connectivity software and not a translation management solution, each company is allowed to focus on what we do best. Syntes clients can run their core businesses without having to become experts in translation and localization – a course many companies are not willing to take. Clay Tablet can focus on connecting disparate CMS systems to different TMS systems without becoming another TMS tool. And Syntes Language Group can focus on what it does best: serving the translation and localization needs of its clients with excellence without having to become a software shop.

Talk about a win-win-win!

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