How Companies are Using Enterprise Translation Software Solutions

October 20, 2021

Enterprise translation software solutions are vital to the success of any global organization to help navigate language and cultural barriers in key markets around the world. And with the rise of a hybrid workforce and platforms that allow even the smallest ecommerce vendors to transact internationally, the definition of “global organization” is expanding rapidly. 

Breaking down language barriers is a top priority for every department and every function of business, from internal communications to customer support and beyond. Below, a closer look at how translation software is used — and why it’s so important — across four different business functions. 

Hiring and onboarding employees around the world

The hybrid workforce is here. As more employees begin to clock in virtually, the talent pool has become more and more diverse. Organizations no longer need to look for talent within driving distance of a physical office — they can look outside state, country, and even continental borders. This has led major corporations like Microsoft to set new hiring precedents, telling managers they can begin to recruit employees who are based anywhere.

To attract top talent, organizations are bringing in employees from markets they may have never considered hiring from before. Naturally, those candidates may speak a variety of different languages. To accommodate, human resources departments are relying on translation software and services with machine translation tools to do everything from read resumes to translate onboarding and training materials. It’s not always an option to staff native language speakers within the HR department, but with enterprise translation software solutions, companies can communicate with more candidates around the world and successfully onboard the top candidates no matter what language they speak.

Serving customers around the globe

Translation software is also used for external communications with customers in different markets around the globe. Organizations that serve a global customer base don’t always have native language speakers at the ready in their customer service department. And a lack of native language support is a huge no-no for customers — many of whom won’t purchase from a brand that doesn’t offer product information or support in their native tongue. This can create a catch-22 for global organizations that try to balance hiring customer support agents for their skill, while also accounting for language fluency. 

Enterprise translation software solutions can ease the burden, allowing customer support managers to hire agents based solely on skill and arm them with tools to easily translate their skill into multiple different languages. Wargaming, a leading game developer, does exactly that. The company uses translation software to scale an extremely small team and provide native language support in 10 different languages. The company’s software investment paid off immediately — customer satisfaction scores rose significantly and the company was able to convert a large percentage of casual players into paying customers, once those players realized they could communicate directly with the company in their native language. 

Translating marketing materials at scale

It’s no secret that a global enterprise needs a globally-minded strategy to market their products and services. But that comes with major challenges when you think about translating content across a portfolio of websites and thousands of advertisements. Coca Cola, for example, maintains localized websites for multiple countries around the world — covering dozens of different languages. The logistics are tough to handle for everyone from marketing teams, who are translating campaigns and constantly spinning up new landing pages, to developers and designers who are integrating varied character counts into page templates and branded designs. Most enterprise-level content management systems have features in place to aid translations and help big companies manage multiple sites — but operating these tools is often a full-time job (or two, or three!). 

Social media can be another headache for marketing teams at global organizations. To help, platforms like Twitter have integrated translation tools directly into their platform allowing marketers to easily translate the text of their tweets. But without native language speakers to assist in the translation process, tools like this can leave a brand vulnerable to missteps with cultural nuances. At Unbabel, we advocate for human-in-the-loop machine translations to help translate at scale, without sacrificing quality or straying too far from your brand’s identity. 

Aiding product development with translation tools

Beyond marketing materials, global companies also adapt their products for different markets around the world — a process which involves a lot of testing among native language speakers and local experts. Using enterprise translation software solutions, product development teams can easily communicate with native speakers to understand habits, likes, dislikes and test product preferences. The result? Products that are translated — and also localized — to that particular market. 

McDonald’s is a fantastic example of a global company that has mastered both translation and localization in markets around the globe. In Japan, for example, the company’s mascot name, Ronald McDonald, is translated to Donarudo Makudonarudo and menu items are smaller to accommodate preferred serving sizes. In India, the restaurant offers the beef-less Maharaja Mac to cater to local tastes and in Morocco you’ll find lots of menu items that use traditional spices like coriander and cumin. Communication across product development teams and local market experts via translation tools is essential to find the right mix of menu items that satisfy local patrons, and also fit within the McDonald’s global brand standards. 

Language Operations: the new standard for global organizations

With the variety of use cases for enterprise translation software solutions, it’s no surprise that organizations are trying to crack the code on how best to manage and standardize the translation process across all aspects of their business. Our take? We believe Language Operations (LangOps) should become a discipline all its own — with an executive lead who can champion translation efforts at scale.

With a dedicated LangOps team, organizations can standardize translation procedures, and save money by more effectively sharing resources and platforms across departments. The key is to create a unified translation strategy that allows the business to continue expanding globally, without sacrificing brand standards and quality, or overspending.

Looking for translation software to fuel your global expansion? Contact Unbabel today for more information about our AI-powered translation services.

About the Author

Profile Photo of Alon Lavie
Alon Lavie

Alon Lavie is the VP of Language Technologies at Unbabel, where he leads and manages the US AI lab based in Pittsburgh, and provides strategic leadership for Unbabel's AI R&D teams company-wide. From June 2015 to March 2019, Alon was a senior manager at Amazon, where he led and managed the Amazon Machine Translation R&D group in Pittsburgh. In 2009, he co-founded a technology start-up company by the name of "Safaba Translation Solutions"​, and served the company as Chairman of the Board, President and CTO. Safaba developed automated translation solutions for large global enterprises that allowed them to migrate and maintain large volumes of content in all the languages of their markets. Safaba's approach focused on generating client-adapted high-quality translations using machine-learning-based technology. In late June 2015, Safaba was acquired by Amazon. For almost 20 years (1996-2015), Alon was a Research Professor at the Language Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He now continues to serve as an adjunct Consulting Professor at CMU. His main research interests and activities focus on Machine Translation adaptation approaches with and without human feedback, applied to both high-resource language pairs as well as low-resource and minority languages. Additional interests include automated metrics for MT evaluation (specifically, the METEOR and COMET metrics), translation Quality Estimation, and methods for multi-engine MT system combination. Alon has authored or co-authored over 120 peer-reviewed papers and publications (Google Scholar h-index of 45 and i10-index of 122). Alon served as the President of the International Association for Machine Translation (IAMT) (2013-2015). Prior to that, he was president of the Association for Machine Translation in the Americas (AMTA) (2008-2012), and was General Chair of the AMTA 2010 and 2012 conferences. Alon is also a member of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), where he was president of SIGParse - ACL's special interest group on parsing (2008-2013). In August 2021, at the 18th biennial Machine Translation Summit conference, Alon was awarded with the 2021 Makoto Nagao IAMT Award of Honour for his contributions to the field of Machine Translation.