Linguists Assemble: How-To Guide to Manufacturing Localization

Last Updated June 14, 2023

manufacturing localization

Here’s how to get resourceful, technology-driven localization and translation solutions for your manufacturing company.

The nature of manufacturing demands precise and comprehensive language services to go global.

You’re creating new products and goods with the help of equipment, labor, machines, tools, and sometimes chemical or biological processing or formulation.

That could be anything from self-driving cars to innovative ear buds or the latest sports drink or cosmetics product.

Regardless, creating a singular, multilingual message for how it all works – not to mention marketing materials – is a massive challenge.

Here’s how a language services provider can help.

What is manufacturing localization?

Manufacturing requires hundreds of employees, each tending to different responsibilities. There’s equipment maintenance, operating heavy machinery, health and safety regulations, quality assurance, and contract agreements.

It’s one thing to make sure everyone is on the same page in one language, and quite another to grow globally.

Manufacturing localization is the process by which your manufacturing documents are adapted for target markets by professionals who are familiar with the industry standards, technical requirements, and manufacturing terminology.

There are a few layers to this.

Language + Culture

Accurate translation of technical terms, directions, and requirements is essential to ensure clarity and comprehension.

So, translators with expertise in manufacturing terminologies and subject matter knowledge are crucial.

But even that’s not sufficient when it comes to proper localization.

Cultural nuances and sensitivities must also be considered when localizing manufacturing content, for example. Both the text and the images must come across as being written for the target market and not adapted haphazardly as an afterthought.

That means gaining an understanding of the target audience’s cultural context, and adapting visuals, examples, and content to resonate with their local norms, practices, and expectations.

This helps to establish trust and credibility not only among customers and end-users, but also employees.

That’s right – don’t forget about the people you’re tasking with the actual manufacturing. Localize training materials (eLearning modules, user guides, and instructional videos) to enable effective knowledge transfer and skill development among the local workforces.

Adapt training content to suit the learning preferences and cultural context of the target audience.

Add it all up, and manufacturing localization is quite an undertaking.

Here’s all that it should include:

  • Consumer user manuals
  • Installation, operator, and maintenance manuals
  • Regulatory documentation
  • Material Safety Data Sheets
  • Technical Reports
  • Diagrams and CAD files
  • Policy manuals
  • Service manuals
  • Service agreements and other manufacturing documents

And it all needs to be spot on linguistically and presented in a culturally sensitive manner.

Here’s how to achieve the former.

Why Precision is Paramount in Manufacturing Localization

This type of language project differs from others in that it requires a given word to mean exactly what it should.

In other words, there can be no room for interpretation on the part of the reader.

What would happen, for example, if someone assembling your product used the wrong type of material? Or if there are inconsistencies in the instructions for how to repair industrial machinery?

Manufacturing localization services need to pay attention to multiple factors:

  • Command over multiple verticals
  • Accuracy of information
  • Consistency of information across many languages
  • A familiarity with any distinct terminology used in a specific industry
  • An ability to get up to speed with a company or product in aspects of usage details, technical terms, and internal glossary
  • Reliability and dependability for a variety of tasks, especially time-sensitive ones
  • Ability to master and use technical dictionaries
  • Excellent skills in both translation and interpretation
  • Expertise in understanding technical jargons specific to a country, industry and region
  • Confidence to navigate any intricate cultural factors that may emerge somewhere

Pro tip: the localization process begins at the time of writing. So, simplify the source material to make it easier to understand and translate. The original document should use clear, simple language for the benefit of everyone.

Even a slight error in technical translation can put you behind schedule in getting to market and put the health and safety of the user and your workforce in jeopardy.

The linguist must therefore be proficient in the verbiage and terminology used in their respective industry to save time, money, and even lives.

Let’s talk about how to find them.

3 Ways to Spot the Top Manufacturing Localization Team

1. They have deep industry expertise

The benefit of working with a language service provider is they have deep pools of competent people to do a particular job.

Straightaway, they can find an expert in your field to get the job done right.

2. They have a wide knowledge base

Look for an agency with a deep knowledge of a subject (i.e., translators that specialize in manufacturing) and/or a translation agency with a wide breadth of knowledge. This allows for more flexibility.

Keep in mind it will depend on the needs of your company. So, if you specialize in one area, you may not need a breadth of knowledge, but if your company has a wider scope, you will need a translator who can do it all.

Also, this knowledge isn’t to be limited to language. Again, localization requires cultural sensitivity and resonance.

3. They make use of CATs

Undoubtedly, you can ensure consistent, high-quality localization, an agency should make use of  computer-assisted translation.

CAT software is used by language service providers that care about developing a knowledge base in various fields.

Additionally, these tools allow for smooth and efficient translation and localization based on previous texts and programmable translation glossaries—thematic dictionaries assembled through previous translation projects.

By making use of these tools, then, technical translators will consistently use the correct terms prompted automatically by the software, making it easier for users to understand the manual.

Accordingly, you can be sure your translation will be done right.

Therefore, manufacturing companies typically employ translation providers that make efficient use of CAT and other translation tools.

Manufacturing Localization: What Makes Us Different

Here’s why Summa Linguae Technologies is the language service provider of choice to many of the world’s most successful companies.

  • End-to-End
    • We provide full end-to-end localization services—including project planning, data collection, translation, quality assurance, and localization testing.
  • Flexible
    • We tailor each of our projects to the exact needs of our clients, whether you’re a small startup or a Fortune 500 company.
  • Diverse Expertise
    • We have an active global network of experts in any subject or language, allowing you to expand into any new market.
  • Quality Control
    • Our primary goal is to bring results to your business, which depends on high-quality, thoroughly tested projects.
  • Efficient
    • By managing every aspect of the localization process, you’ll see fewer friction points or bottlenecks than you would with multiple vendors.
  • Solutions-Focused
    • Our focus on scalable infrastructure and technology has made us the trusted localization partner to many of the world’s most recognizable brands.

Contact us today to start.

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