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Contentquo blog
Shall We Become Transparent About Quality in Localization?
At the TAUS Quality Evaluation Summit in Dublin on June 8, 2016, a panel led by Antonio Tejada (Capita TI) discussed the topic of transparency in localization at large – and in multilingual content quality management in particular.
The panelists who contributed to this discussion – and the co-authors of the below article – are Antonio Tejada himself, Anna Woodward Kennedy (Chillistore Technologies), Attila Görög (TAUS), Jeremy Clutton (Lingo24), and our own Kirill Soloviev (ContentQuo), who has also served as the article's editor.
The translation industry remains fragmented. Even today in our disintermediated era there are multiple participants in the same translation/localization workflow. Each participant (from the buyer through MLVs and SLVs down to the translator) has information that is not being shared up and down the stream. Yet, data on the impact, quality and productivity of translations is extremely useful to ensure efficiency and showcase the credibility of our industry.

Still, this type of information often remains a secret – or gets lost in the labyrinth of translation processes – because the mindset and the tools to unlock this data are lacking within companies. Why don't we finally become transparent about the figures? And about our own quality and productivity and impact? An increasing number of buyers and their vendors, vendors and their translators have decided to collaborate on improving quality and productivity by offering each other full transparency, with mutual benefits.

At the QE Summit in Dublin, TAUS managed to gather several advocates of transparency from different parts of our industry for a comprehensive panel discussion of the topic: a localization industry veteran executive, an owner and operations director of a language quality services company, a global account director for a tech-savvy mid-sized LSP, and a co-founder of a technology startup focused on outcome-based localization quality management.

The panel was followed by a break-out session later in the day, where panelists were joined by like-minded audience members willing to discuss challenges with implementing transparent practices in their own translation & localization programs. Here's a glimpse of the ideas that have been covered.
Why is transparency so important in localization?
Because localization is a complex system and it's the only way to optimize it
Transparency enables a holistic view of this system that's required to achieve optimal performance.

If we only focus on a few of localization subsystems (downstream processes) and/or super-systems (upstream processes) while ignoring the rest, we can all too easily fall into a trap called "local optimization": improving the performance of a single component while degrading the overall performance of the whole system.

To prevent that, transparent sharing of data from all system levels is essential: it's the only thing that allows us to truly understand all parts of the system and their relationships.
Because entire localization supply chain can strongly benefit from it
Each stakeholder, from customer-side management/sales/marketing teams to individual freelance linguists, already has valuable information to share with the rest of their business colleagues – but they seldom do.

This information, when properly aggregated and equally distributed, has the potential to inform strategic decisions both for LSPs (because they will better understand what's actually happening with their customers and with their suppliers) and for enterprises (because they can use it to influence budget allocation for their globalization efforts).
Because delivering real value to translation customers requires it
Transparency clears the confusion between translation buyers and translation vendors during the purchasing process, especially in a scenario with multiple competing offers around price, service, and quality levels.

It also focuses the discussion on what the customer is hoping to achieve with translation (i.e. the value it will bring to her business) and build a tailored service offering (as opposed to only considering internal industry concepts such as process details – these might not make much sense, especially for less mature buyers).
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This article is part of the TAUS Keynotes 2016 Summer e-Book. Republished in ContentQuo Blog under permission from TAUS. Download your copy of the full e-Book to get an expert overview of the present-day challenges and forward-thinking solutions for the global translation industry and multilingual content supply chains.