Regulatory and compliance demands flagged as top challenge for digital-first globalization strategies, according to research

Research suggests legal departments must shift their approach to manage specific compliance challenges created by content digitalization

Legalweek NEW YORK


As companies shift to digital-first globalization strategies, meeting and managing regulatory and compliance demands emerge as a top challenge, according to the Digital First Globalization Strategies Research Report from SDL (LSE: SDL), a global leader in content creation, translation and delivery. Almost a third (31%) of executives questioned about their evolving digital-first environment listed meeting regulatory and compliance demands as one of the most common challenges faced when creating and delivering content. 

The research showed that, on average, 285 legal documents (T&Cs and Contracts) per year are created by legal departments in the company, across multiple channels. A significant number (69%) of respondents stated they translated 70% or more of legal documents they produced each year. This is outside other pieces of content such as product information and marketing materials, etc. which often are subject to legal review as well. 

A full 80% of companies surveyed have global expansion plans and forty percent of respondents expect content volume to increase by more than 31% in the next two years. This volume of content multiplies as it is translated into multiple languages, further taxing legal departments charged with ensuring local and federal regulatory compliance. 

Kirti Vashee, SDL’s Senior Director Product Marketing Strategy, spoke about the results while attending Legal Week New York. According to Vashee, the legal department’s role has evolved to that of strategic business partner, charged with governing risks within digital initiatives. 

“As organizations change the way they operate, using digitization to expand globally, new compliance risks are emerging,” said Vashee. “This presents a challenge to compliance, which must identify, assess and mitigate risks like those tied to fundamentally new processes and technologies such as artificial intelligence.” 

Rapid translation of legal data is imperative to meet compliance demands
On average among all content types, respondents indicated that over 40% of the content is expected to be translated within 24 hours with the demand for fast turnaround times for legal content identified as higher than the average. Modern legal departments and outside counsel need to be able to rapidly process content and information flows in multiple languages on a regular basis. 

“Volumes of multilingual content can vary greatly, from tens of thousands of documents in litigation related eDiscovery, to specialized monitoring of customer communications to ensure regulatory compliance, to smaller volumes of sensitive communications with global employees,” said Vashee. “Multilingual issues are especially present in cross-border partnerships and business dealings which are now increasingly common across many industries.” 

Kantar conducted the research on behalf of SDL with more than 300 executives, seeking their insights about the evolving digital-first environment. SDL’s Digital First Globalization Strategies Research Report, based on the research, offers insights into the perceived challenges businesses face as they embark on digital-first globalization including managing increasing regulatory and compliance demands. Taking meaningful steps now toward robust information governance and compliance for all kinds of data will be necessary for the modern digital centric enterprise, and the modern legal department will need to be able to be an active partner and help the enterprise prepare for and mitigate their risk. 

For a copy of the full report or more information on the challenges faced by companies attempting digital-first globalization and SDL’s recommendations for optimizing a global strategy, please contact SDL’s media team.

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About RWS

RWS Holdings plc is the world’s leading provider of technology-enabled language, content management and intellectual property services. We help our customers to connect with and bring new ideas to people globally by communicating business critical content at scale and enabling the protection and realization of their innovations. 

Our vision is to help organizations interact effectively with people anywhere in the world by solving their language, content and market access challenges through our collective global intelligence, deep expertise and smart technology. 

Customers include 90 of the globe’s top 100 brands, the top 10 pharmaceutical companies and 18 of the top 20 patent filers worldwide. Our client base spans Europe, Asia Pacific, and North and South America across the technology, pharmaceutical, medical, legal, chemical, automotive, government and telecommunications sectors, which we serve from offices across five continents. 

Founded in 1958, RWS is headquartered in the UK and publicly listed on AIM, the London Stock Exchange regulated market (RWS.L). 

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