Critical Translation KPIs to Measure and Optimize Around

Leverage Key Performance Indicators to measure the efficiency of your translation process.

Matt Grech

Matt Grech

Content Marketing ManagerSmartling

The translation process is full of moving parts, like managing translators, responding to any questions or inquiries from translators, automating workflows, and tracking the progress of each project.

It can prove quite challenging to oversee every step of the process, all while keeping a closer eye on the details. And with so many elements to keep track of, it can be equally challenging to determine which metrics to focus on improving or optimizing. One benefit of utilizing one centralized platform for a unified translation strategy is increased transparency throughout the process,

By identifying some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your translation process, brands can better measure the overall outcome of their translations: from quality to cost.

Why Focus on KPIs?

Key Performance Indicators are specific metrics that can be tied directly to value and quantifiable goals for your business.

Translation Management Systems, like Smartling, keep track of a lot of data -- its arguably one of the most important aspects of a TMS. So much data, in fact, that you could get lost in it all. That's why it’s essential to narrow down the metrics you want to track to specific key metrics.

With the right KPIs top of mind, your localization team can gain a deeper understanding of the translation process as a whole by measuring efficiency, cost, and even optimization opportunities.

Translation Key Performance Indicators To Track

When it comes to measuring the performance and success of translation specifically, there are a number of areas your brand will want to focus on.

We can break these down into three different categories: Translation Management, Translation Quality, and Translation Outcome.

Measuring Translation Management

By analyzing data around your translation process, your brand will have the power to identify any bottlenecks and place a value on the efficiency of translation.

  • Translation Issues - Keep track of all source and translation issues with three different reports in Smartling: Source Issues Reports, Translation Issues Reports, and Issues Details. Drill down into the exact issues that translators are flagging to understand where and how to optimize your content for easier and faster translation.
  • Translation Activity - Measure the history of every single project and job across a specified time period. Understand exactly what actions translators are taking on each job and gain visibility into related workflows to ensure an efficient process and faster translation.
  • Processed Words - A well equipped TMS can generate a report for all processed words, meaning the volume of words that have been passed through the Smartling platform. This provides brands with a view into how many words are being translated each day and by each translator.

Keep track of all the work being done by translators to determine the efficiency of your process.

Measuring Translation Quality

The quality of translations will be top of mind for most brands. Quality is perhaps the most important metric to measure and track, but arguably the most difficult as well.

By qualifying your translation quality, you can determine how to work to improve your outcomes.

  • Content Changes - Monitor the changes that translations take throughout the translation process, and where they occur, with a quantifiable value to determine the best way to optimize your process. Our favorite example of this is to focus directly on internal review. If content changes within the internal review step are a very small percentage, it might be wise to consider removing this step altogether. In the cases where the percentage of content that changed is high, then there might need to be changes made to the source content.
  • Content Velocity - Similar to Content Changes, understanding content velocity throughout the translation process will help brands determine which workflow steps are the direct bottlenecks and speed bumps that are slowing translations down. Identify, optimize and improve.
  • String Changes - To get even more granular, users should look at individual string changes. In Smartling, this report shows all individual strings: the source string paired with the translation, side by side. With a complete view of all changes that were made to already translated strings, brands can properly audit their content and gain insight for translation teams to learn what changed and why.

Ensure that all translations meet your brand's standards of quality and tone.

Measuring Translation Outcome

Once your translations are complete and deployed, the real fun can begin. By tracking the performance and success of your translations, organizations will uncover key performance metrics to represent the direct value of localization.

  • Site Traffic - Measuring website traffic is one simple way of tracking the performance of your translated content. Track metrics like overall visitors, organic users, length on page, and even keyword rankings. This will enable brands to understand how their website is being engaged with and how to increase viewership.
  • New Customers and Revenue - Aligning with website traffic, it would make sense to establish a report for new customers and revenue streams from your localized content. Break these reports down into the different regions your content is available in to understand where to maximize or minimize efforts and calculate the ROI of your translation efforts.
  • Cost Savings - Utilizing translation software has a multitude of benefits, one of which is overall cost savings. Translation is a revenue center, not a cost center, and your brand can recognize this by tracking the overall estimates and true costs of each translation project, as well as money saved through the use of linguistic assets like Translation Memories.

Directly the success and ROI of translated content with a view into how that content is performing.

Track Translation KPIs and Create a Content Center of Excellence

KPIs enable both entire organizations and individual departments to measure their progress and success, while identifying areas of opportunity.

Is your brand currently translating without any way to measure these performance indicators? Are you estimating budgets and job costs without any real source of truth?

Well then speak with an expert today to learn more about how Smartling can revolutionize your translation process.