Language Services Industry Research Report from Common Sense Advisory Illuminates Buyers’ Views of Translation Quality

Business globalization research firm conducted in-depth interviews with 28 companies that pay to translate hundreds of millions of words into an average of 30 languages; results detailed in latest report.

Boston, MA, August 29, 2008 --( For Global 2000 companies, it’s no longer enough to just convert information into another language – large-scale buyers of translation services are becoming more ambitious with their globalization plans and demanding a higher quality of service from their language service partners. This important finding is highlighted in the recent report, “Buyer-Defined Translation Quality,” published by business globalization and language services industry research firm Common Sense Advisory. The publication zeroes in on quality from the perspective of large-scale buyers of translation services. The report also identifies how issues of quality are treated at various phases within an internationally-recognized localization maturity model developed by Common Sense Advisory in 2006.

The research firm conducted in-depth interviews with 28 companies that pay to translate hundreds of millions of words into an average of 30 languages. It also surveyed 55 major buyers of translation services – 70 percent work in companies that employ 500 individuals or more, and 60 percent spend in excess of US$1 million on translation services annually. Common Sense Advisory’s report captures the results of interviews from high-profile global brands across seven industries: automotive, life sciences, high-tech, retail, travel and leisure, consumer manufacturing, and heavy manufacturing.

Key findings from “Buyer-Defined Translation Quality” include:

· Buyers cite six major themes in their definitions of quality – and the elements buyers deem most critical often differ from what vendors believe is important to their customers.
· Global brands that frequently translate their marketing, technical data sheets, materials, software products, and websites reveal their most common sources of frustration regarding quality.
· The two most important elements of quality – technical accuracy and a vendor’s willingness to implement feedback – are even more important to buyers than linguistic quality.
· Global firms follow seven key practices for developing and implementing translation quality metrics.
· Broad consensus exists across interviewees on having in-country reviewers participate in the quality evaluation process.

“Large global businesses think about translation quality in terms of how it will help them achieve concrete business objectives, support expansion into international markets, and increase domestic market share,” comments the report’s lead analyst Nataly Kelly. She adds, “Successful firms that sell their products and services worldwide have very specific ways of thinking about what makes a good translation – this report shows a strong correlation between buyer perceptions of quality and elements such as corporate culture, branding consistency, and other business-related issues.”

Don DePalma, chief research officer at Common Sense Advisory, points out, “Companies are looking to enhance the customer experience for their international clients, make their documentation more effective and correct for global markets, and improve user interfaces for products and websites. Translation quality is a critical element of helping companies compete globally in these customer-facing applications.”

The 28-page report is available to Common Sense Advisory’s members and includes strong recommendations for global businesses that wish to improve translation quality. Find out more about the report or the firm’s research services at

About Common Sense Advisory, Inc.
Common Sense Advisory, Inc. is a research and consulting firm committed to the objective analysis of the business practices, services, and technology driving translation and interpreting services, localization, and business globalization. Its analysts deliver in-depth reports on topics including: website and translation content management; translation and interpreting services and best practices; product and website localization; software supporting international business; on- and off-line ethnic marketing and messaging; and more. The firm also provides hands-on consulting and training to global business teams. For more information, visit

Common Sense Advisory
Melissa Gillespie