Remember when localization was a single transaction in the overall process of software and content development? Well, that’s yesterday’s news. Now that we have agile production environments, continuous publishing, social and mobile media distribution, the expectations of enterprises and consumers have completely changed.
And what that shift entails has significant implications for our localization industry and our jobs.
Localization’s New Era
The ecosystems that are driving today’s demands on localization providers are increasingly complex. The reasons are manifold but these three certainly dominate:
- The development of hardware and their operating systems is flourishing.
- Content types, sources, and the velocity of content generation are increasing.
- Consumer expectation of on-demand, everywhere services is at an all-time high.
The latter is significant. While the development context has become complex, customer objectives have actually become simpler. The resulting message from enterprise company bosses to translation and localization providers could not be clearer:
“I want my product to be used by any global user, regardless of language, and I don’t care how it happens.”
Freeing Producers to Produce
At Moravia, we have noticed a shift in behavior — in client requirements — among many of our accounts. Why? Content in services that used to live behind the firewall are now being exposed in real time. Global companies are learning that there is no luxury time for simply sifting through the data of their own experiences with their customers. Instead, this data must be integrated with third-party information to really get at user behaviors, needs, and expectations.
That’s challenging enough in one language. Try it in a multilingual, multi-locale, agile marketplace!
The result has been that these companies — mature localizing brands — are renewing their focus on their core activities, those which really generate revenue for the company, and are single sourcing whole localization service solutions.
It has gone from prescriptive:
“This is how we want you to do things. These are the tools we want you to use. This is how we want you to work.”
“This is the business problem that we have. You are the experts. Take on this problem and deliver back to us what we need.”
Gone are the days where companies chose just translation. Instead, there’s more upstream processing happening — services that embrace comprehensive content management, analytics, and distribution. Systems that mean localization doesn’t live in a corner by itself but is, instead, part of a bigger information lifecycle.
That is, mature localization providers are no longer managing projects, they are managing programs.
The Information Orchestration Manifesto
In such a complex environment, Information Orchestration is the only logical solution.
But what do we mean by that?
That orchestra can metaphorically represent a multi-part yet harmonious system is not new. It is a convenient way to illustrate and map how many different players with many different tools and skills sets can nevertheless deliver something amazing. When such a system is in harmony, information flows as effortlessly as music in a concert hall. And when something goes wrong — the breaking of an instrument string, if you will — the system can nevertheless compensate to still deliver the value that the audience expects.
Traditional software localization is over. End-to-end program management recognizes the end of this old product-based model. To continue the metaphor — we believe that enterprises should be able to choose the concert, pay for admission, and sit back to enjoy the show.
Of course, this is a bold statement of how we see localization moving forward. (We’ve gone so far as to summarize it in a manifesto, which I not-so-modestly believe you should have hanging as a poster on your wall. Here’s the link.) But the bottom line is this:
Information Orchestration demands active localization providers that deliver the right personnel and tool components to answer complex enterprise localization demands wherever and whenever they are needed so that integrated and agile local content management systems are truly responsive to how consumers actually use and talk about products.
Agree? Disagree? Let’s hear from you!