Localization is a complex process involving multiple systems, file types, and stakeholders. As companies expand into new markets, streamlining localization with automation has become critical for efficiency and scale.
We spoke with Alexander Ekhilevskiy, Localization Operations Manager at Vista, who has over 11 years of experience driving automation initiatives in the localization industry. During our conversation, he provided keen insights on the major benefits of automation and best practices for implementation based on his recent work transforming Vista’s workflows.
Eliminating Manual Tasks with Localization Workflows Automation
In the past, localization involved an incredibly manual process of emailing document files back and forth between stakeholders, reviewers, and translators. Each recipient had to save multiple versions of the file locally and keep track of the “latest” copy.
As Alexander highlighted, modern translation management systems completely eliminate this clumsy file exchange:
“You basically forget about the concept of the file itself. The documents are split into strings so each string is dealt with separately, not as a whole document.”
By handling content as translatable strings stored centrally in the cloud, translators always access the definitive latest version. This prevents wasted effort from out-of-sync file versions and enables much smoother collaboration.
Translation management systems also automatically filter out non-translatable strings such as comments or formatting code. The manual effort to prepare and quality check files before sending them to translators disappears.
Connecting Content Systems
While translation management systems solve the file exchange challenge, they need tight integration with existing content creation platforms to maximize efficiency.
As Alexander described, connectors that link the translation tool with core systems like the CMS, code repositories, and marketing platforms ensure a steady flow of content:
“You make sure that everything flows into one system…You have your linguists set up there, and you leverage your translation memory across different types of content.”
This seamless connectivity provides a “single source of truth” for all translation assets. Maintaining translation memory also unlocks major cost and time reductions by reusing previous translations.
Enabling Continuous Localization
Traditional localization workflows demand big batches of changed strings or files before updating translations. Waiting days or weeks for the next version leaves content quickly outdated.
Modern automation instead offers continuous localization that instantly pushes any string changes to translators without delay. As Alexander says, this works perfectly for frequently changing software strings or other dynamic text:
“It’s in constant sync so updates are made like every 24 hours to every 5 minutes without needing to wait for the next version.”
Continuous localization thus ensures the most accurate and current translations at all times.
With all content flowing into a central translation tool, stakeholders can trigger automated localization workflows tailored to their specific use case.
Marketing may have different templates, review needs, and translators compared to software development strings. Automation coordinates these various requirements so that instead of tickets, manual requests, and constant monitoring, automated systems run seamlessly in the background. This allows “human” efforts to focus on high-value, creative localization tasks.
While the benefits of automation seem clear, Alexander emphasized that careful planning and testing is crucial during implementation:
“Always check the use case first…Test it and make sure the connector is actually suitable.”
He shared an example where Vista originally chose a WordPress connector that didn’t match how their site structure was configured across local instances. They discovered that the “out-of-the-box” connector didn’t address their needs.
Having backup options and ways to gracefully handle potential failures is also key according to Alexander. No system has 100% uptime, so maintaining continuity plans allows localization to constantly adapt.
Impact and Results
Automating Vista’s localization processes has generated quantifiable improvements in efficiency and quality. Some of the major gains Alexander highlighted:
Decreased manual localization ticket.
Reduced average project request handling time.
Increased use of translation memory, reducing word count costs.
Higher linguist productivity by eliminating file preparation and engineering work.
Additionally, Alexander noted further benefits around freeing up stakeholders from localization admin work:
“There is a lot of communication now gone for transactional translations…No need to raise tickets and constantly monitor progress.”
By removing friction from repetitive tasks, automation enabled Vista’s team to focus on high-value localization strategy and improvements.
The Future with AI
When discussing the future of automation, Alexander sees a growing role for artificial intelligence to augment localization:
“I think the hot topic nowadays is AI…we’ve been dealing with machine translation for quite a long time.”
While still requiring human review, AI promises to take on more first-draft translation work to increase translator productivity. Alexander shared how Vista is currently testing the output quality and economic value prop of machine translation in different languages and use cases.
He did caution that the hype around conversational AI like ChatGPT won’t replace human localization expertise and judgment overnight due to variability across languages. However, AI does seem poised to reshape global content creation flows.
Implementing continuous localization automation has unlocked massive efficiency gains for Vista’s global expansion. While the benefits are clear, thoughtful change management and staged rollouts are vital to succeed.
With AI on the horizon, localization leaders have an opportunity to guide strategic transformations using technology, freeing up human effort for creativity. As Alexander concluded regarding automation capabilities:
“It allows you to focus on actually more interesting and meaningful stuff…instead of file handling.”
The future of global content looks bright as automation and AI progress!
How Undertow Can Help Streamline Your Localization Automation
In the evolving landscape of global content and localization, Undertow emerges as a pivotal partner for your localization automation journey. Our unique blend of digital marketing and localization expertise, coupled with a deep understanding of B2B SaaS startups, positions us ideally to navigate the complexities of multilingual content marketing and localization.
At Undertow, we don’t just translate content; we transform it. By focusing on your specific goals, customer intentions, and brand tone, we align our strategies to your vision, ensuring that every piece of content resonates with your target audience globally.
Let Undertow be your guide in streamlining your localization process, blending human creativity with the power of automation to unlock your global potential. Get in touch today.