How Performant is Your Marketing Translation Provider?

KPIs: Measuring the success of marketing localization initiatives

When is commissioning a translation “worth it” for a company and its marketing department? Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) provide an objective, measurable answer to that question. They help marketing teams quality issues, monitor that delivery deadlines are being upheld, and make optimal use of their localization budget. At the same time, they provide decision-makers such as localization managers and heads of marketing with a reliable database that allows them to determine whether translation providers are actually fulfilling the requirements which they have been given.

Data-driven workflows

Milengo knows from many years of experience that only a fraction of companies works with sophisticated marketing localization KPIs – and this even applies for global concerns that translate millions of words each year. This is a striking fact, particularly when you consider that the data points needed for KPIs are typically already available – after all, today’s localization workflows are shaped by automated procedures and standardized processes and quality checks. It’s very easy to define and measure KPIs in these kinds of tech-based, data-driven environments, whether this is done using translation statistics from CAT tools or project metadata from translation management systems (TMS). Moreover, the commissioned marketing translation provider can, in some cases, also provide KPI-relevant data.

Clear priorities

How can suitable KPIs be identified for marketing localization initiatives? The bad news is that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution – marketing teams must identify their areas of focus based on their business goals and operational structure. They should start by determining which localization requirements are indispensable. For instance, does your company magazine have to be translated into various languages and published? Then the KPI would relate to upholding delivery deadlines. Other companies commission marketing translations with the goal of shortening the time-to-market of their product. Furthermore, it’s often the case that KPIs look beyond the “magic triangle” of costs, time, and quality. For example, an e-commerce retailer that localizes marketing content for its online shop at short, irregular intervals will expect a great deal of service flexibility from its localization partner.

Laying the groundwork for making strategic decisions

The localization industry is changing at a rapid pace. Technology trends such as artificial intelligence, deep learning, and process automation are shaping the face of the industry. Clearly defined KPIs are crucial in this highly complex environment; without them, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to reliably evaluate LSPs with regard to quality, flexibility, and cost-efficiency. With the help of custom KPIs, marketing teams can monitor the performance of their localization provider via dashboards and analysis tools and, in the event of a drop in performance, quickly take action.