Centralized translations: Improving your translation ROI


Many global companies have traditionally allowed regional offices to manage and execute translations for anything from website content, through product documentation and labeling to marketing communications.

While this allows for local/regional control and can result in what appears as cost savings, it can often introduce risks to quality, brand consistency, and delivery, and in fact, can lead to loss of control and visibility to spend and costs.

With the impending recession making global companies rethink procurement models there's a growing trend toward vendor consolidation consolidation. Below, we look at the typical challenges of using a decentralized model for translation procurement and the benefits that come with adopting a single translation partner (also known as single sourcing).

Whether you’re looking for ways to optimize your translation budget, achieve consistency across departments or locations, or leading a translation sourcing project, continue reading to find out how to make the most of your translation investments.


Key challenges of decentralized translation models


Complexity and governance

With many suppliers in the mix, each supplier brings tools and processes that can create an administrative burden for the buyer as each buyer is adjusting to the methods prescribed by each supplier.

In addition, each buying group within the MedTech or pharma organization may not be validating the qualifications of each supplier, resulting in a lack of governance over quality processes, SLAs, and pricing.


In a decentralized model, each user buyer can use any translation supplier of their choice – resulting in many local vendors who cannot scale globally or handle the volumes required for each region.

Each supplier may be using their custom tools that prevent the sharing of translation assets such as terminology glossaries, style guides, and translation memories that could be of benefit to the translation buyers. This limits the scalability of the global translation program; moreover, considerable savings can be missed due to the lack of sharing and reuse of content.

Regulatory compliance

Maintaining compliance with regulated content at both the global level and local level can be challenging for companies operating in heavily regulated industries, such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, banking or insurance.

Taking the example of pharma and medical device companies, in a decentralized model where local operating companies/divisions are in control of the local product labeling, errors can be easily introduced. This can lead to a loss of control of the local label content and potential risks to patient safety or regulatory compliance.

Such an approach can also create misalignment or lack of a single source of truth that can prevent the use of common computer-aided translation technology and machine translation to help reduce time and cost and increase quality in the translation process.


With each user/buyer purchasing translation independently, it is easy to lose track of translation spending.

In addition, often the translation is done indirectly through a third party such as a marketing agency or consulting partner – further reducing the chance of getting full visibility of translation spend.

Each of these entities within the translation procurement cycle may not be negotiating the best value price. This makes it exceedingly difficult for a company to truly know how much is being spent on global translations, let alone find opportunities for streamlining and reducing costs. This model doesn’t allow global visibility to quality KPIs, as each buyer within the organization is managing and reporting on quality deliveries independently, if at all.

The solution to all of the above and more? Centralizing translations into a single partner or keeping a preferred supplier list.


Centralized vs. decentralized translations: the advantages of a centralized translation program

“Too many cooks spoil the broth”, and this can certainly be true for translation management.

If there are too many vendors or even too many steps involved, things can become very messy. Using one trusted vendor to centralize all translation processes will ensure a more tightly run operation that provides long-term savings, improved turnaround times, and consistent high quality.

Opting instead for a single translation partner or a few preferred vendors you can trust to centralize your language management can lead to a much more efficient translation process: a centralized translation process saves on your translation costs and turnaround time, and more importantly, can reduce regulatory risks and improve quality.

Let’s dig deeper into the benefits of single sourcing.


Single translation supplier model: benefits of single sourcing

Centralizing on a set of technology also has its benefits. It may seem obvious, but when everyone in the chain is working on the same platform with the same tools, it makes for a much more efficient translation process. There’s no worrying about trying to find someone with the right tools to receive requests, open reference materials and translate file types.

Using a trusted single supplier can also simplify the management of the translation memory (TM). A well-maintained translation memory means the more content translated, the more reuse can be achieved to speed up future productivity and reduce translation costs.

Using a single vendor to manage TMs considerably reduces the risk of misplacing any of these essential language assets or not updating them with your latest translations.

In addition, centralized management of terminology is essential to ensure consistency in brand voice and terminology across an organization.

With a termbase – a glossary especially linked to translation tools – additional checks can be run during the quality assurance (QA) process to catch any instances where terms may not have been adhered to. Updating this language asset helps to speed up productivity because linguists have less terminology research to carry out.

Centralized terminology management ensures better translation quality and consistent brand identity for your audiences.

Finally, a fully centralized translation management program from a single vendor provides full visibility to spending across the chain. At Acolad, we have facilitated this transparency using our client portal where all requests, quotes, and approved POs are stored and tracked.

Preferred multi-supplier model

At Acolad, we’ve helped our customers implement a system that is powered by technology, collaboration across suppliers, and definition of standard operating procedures (SOP) across the select suppliers.


What’s next? When to consider centralizing your translation and localization strategy

Whether translations are managed through a single department or multiple teams in locations within your organization, the goal is to have a translation & localization partner who enables all stakeholders involved to do their job most efficiently, and who can advise you on best practices for each content type or business domain.

Working with a globalization partner who can see the global picture and the local components means you can deliver higher-quality products and services to your clients with challenges.

To find out how Acolad can help you as a centralization partner in your next translation project, get in touch or invite us to your next RFP.