Innovation in Localization?

InnovationA recent call went out in the translation and localization industry requesting from language service providers (LSPs) to participate in a report to profile some of the more creative and innovative suppliers. Only three suppliers responded with mediocre answers.

This is not surprising. Only three companies responded not due to lack of innovation, but because the focus on innovation alone will not yield significant results.

How do leading accounting firms use innovation to differentiate themselves? What do successful dentists offer that is unique in the area of innovation? What about lawyers? When an innovative product is used by one and proven to be a good return on investment, it is gradually adopted by all, annulling its competitive value.

Translation and Localization, is a professional service, heavily dependent on laborious work. This is why most companies outsource it!

The key to success is not in one distinctive innovation, but in hundreds of tiny innovations used during all day-to-day activities.

It comes down to this: Does the LSP have effective processes to identify profitable opportunities, to qualify and close them, to hire qualified staff, to execute projects, and to keep clients, partners and employees happy and productive?

We win our clients because we are in the right place, at the right time, and project confidence in our ability to do the work on budget, on schedule and based on the client’s requirements. Do we use technology in the process? You bet we do. Is technology why our clients come to us and keep coming to us year after year? A resounding no!

I know this is not as appealing as saying that we can shave 50% off the translation costs by using Machine Translation, but it is reality in an industry that depends heavily on tasks that, for now and for the foreseeable future, will be chiefly performed by talented and professional people and not innovative machines and software.

In the Translation and Localization industry, just like most service industries, innovation is 5%, unglamorous perspiration is the dominant rest!

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