Greenland Government Overcomes Language Barriers with SDL Translation Management System

SDL enables bilingual government departments to quickly and effectively communicate across languages

Maidenhead, UK


MAIDENHEAD, U.K., and WAKEFIELD, Mass. – August 2, 2016 – SDL today announced that the Greenland government has adopted SDL Translation Management System (SDL TMS) to reduce the time it takes to translate content by nearly 50 percent and reduce freelance translator costs by 75 percent.

While most of the inhabitants of Greenland speak Greenlandic, many of the country’s senior government officials are Danish and are typically deployed to work on the island for between six months and five years. As a result, there is an ongoing translation requirement between government departments. Adding further complexity, the Greenlandic language has four regional dialects which have significant differences and require individual translations. 

The central government’s team of 11 translators work across 10 different departments and are required to translate almost all internal documents, including national budgets, legislative documents, reports, memos and general communications. Prior to adopting SDL TMS these translations required significant time investment through manual and inefficient processes. To overcome language barriers and streamline translations, Greenland’s government turned to SDL technology.

“SDL solutions have improved our translation processes immeasurably,” said Kim Christiansen, Project Manager, Greenlandic Government. “Our translators can now concentrate on the translation without distraction. This is made possible because of inherent strengths of the technology. By providing a centralized translation memory and introducing a degree of automation, processes are now transparent and highly efficient.”

With SDL TMS, Greenland’s government now automates and accelerates translation tasks, reducing the cost of supporting local language content. The government has also centralized its translation program and gained complete control of its budget and process. The team leverages the workflow capabilities in SDL TMS, as well as its centralized translation memory for immediate translation productivity. Each translator’s output increased from four pages each day to six to 10 pages each day. The team now has less reliance on external translation support and has significantly reduced expenditure on freelance translators.

“There is often a misperception that translation should only be a priority for organizations that cross geographic borders,” said Adolfo Hernandez, CEO, SDL. “However, it’s important to recognize that within the same country there are various language and cultural differences. This is precisely what we see with Greenland. We are proud to partner with the country’s central government to make strides in overcoming its language divide.”

Prior to implementing SDL TMS, there was no way to re-use content automatically or consistently – which is needed, as many of the government’s translation jobs are repetitive.  While translating 1,000 pages of the country’s annual budget used to take three people three months to complete, the task can now be accomplished by just two people in three weeks.

Following its implementation of SDL TMS, Greenland’s government has experienced several benefits and improvements, including the following:
•    Almost 50% increase in individual translator productivity
•    75% savings on freelance translation costs
•    Higher volume translation, with over five million words translated
•    Consistent content re-use for significant time savings

Based on the success within the capital, SDL TMS has also been adopted by translation teams in three of Greenland’s four municipalities where regional dialects are spoken. The regional teams now benefit from reuse and consistency in all translation, as they are able to share the government’s central translation memory which helps them save time, but also manage a local version for their own dialect. Greenland’s government has further identified opportunities to leverage SDL TMS within the commercial sector. For instance, KNI, a government-owned company, now uses the solution to manage its translations.

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