Localization and Internationalization (l10n and i18n)

Where we fit in the localization ecosystem

Global Pragmatica’s core competency is facilitative leadership with domain expertise in content strategy, software development, and localization program and project management.

We offer deep-think analytical, strategic, and tactical advice, but we also roll up our sleeves and do actual work. We will help solve technical problems or make connections with the people or firms who can. We will help out with short-term staffing or management gaps. We will provide ongoing mentoring support for your staff, we will take charge of difficult meetings and see them through to the results that all the stakeholders need. In short, we will do our utmost to provide the leadership that each situation demands. We are not done until you have met your goals.

We are not a translation services provider

We work for and with translation vendors sometimes, but our main focus is helping companies on the client-side: organizations that need translation, localization, internationalization, and globalization work done, and need help getting started—or are ready to start working smarter, faster, more efficiently—or don’t have the in-house staffing or expertise that going global demands. In all of these cases, we can help: by setting up an appropriate program, by mentoring and training staff, by pitching in to help run projects or the whole program, by troubleshooting and improving the program, by introducing appropriate technology, and so on. Exactly what we’ll do depends on what our client needs and can afford.

We believe that the vendor side of the translation industry is mature—there are good companies out there who know what they’re doing, and if you haven’t found them yet, or if vendor-management is one of your challenges, we can help with that, too.

We understand the big picture, content strategy

Localization is just one piece of a larger system of information development, management, publishing, and distribution. It should fit into an organization’s overall content strategy—and in many cases, it is a need for a faster, more affordable, more sustainable localization process that drives and organization to develop a more strategic approach for the first time. Whether you have an elegant content strategy in place now, or you need to get there soon, we get it—and we can help with both.

We work for clients and vendors

We believe that, for the most part, translation services vendors know what they’re doing and provide good value for their cost. We’re amazed at how the best vendors can bend over backwards to meet each client’s needs.

But they can’t do everything. They can’t fix your budget problems, they can’t mentor your staff beyond the basics of localization, they can’t help you get the executive sponsorship you need for major process changes or technology investments, they can’t untangle your snarled-up development process, and so on.

We can. So when vendors know their clients need help on the inside, they can build our services right into their project proposal, so that their clients get the help they need but don’t have to get yet another contract approved.

What does this mean in practical terms?

It can vary—a lot. Here are examples of how we have helped some of our clients:

Vendor-side

We have been asked to help a leading regional translation services provider develop a response to an RFP from one of the world’s largest software companies. The vendor needed both our insights into what such a client is looking for in a proposal of this scale AND our insights into what the unique organic strengths were that their organization could offer besides the usual translation workflow and quality details.

Client-side

We have consulted with a Fortune 500 consumer products firm’s global services division to help them consolidate their sprawling, disjunct translation needs into an integrated program with a core set of preferred vendors. One of their vendors brought us in initially, hoping that we could help them (a) understand the client’s needs better, and (b) help the client understand its vendor management problems better.

About conflict of interest

Global Pragmatica is strictly vendor-neutral. We believe that the localization and translation providers that have survived the shake-out, mergers, and acquisitions of the last fifteen years have done so because they offer real value to the right customers. Most vendor/client relationship problems can be fixed—and fixing the problems is often easier than starting over.

How much does this cost?

Not as much as you’d think. Our daily rate is probably higher than your organization’s middle and lower management daily pay scales, but remember that you’re not furnishing our computers, software, office space, furniture, health care, 401k, profit sharing, vacation, sick leave, holidays, IT support, lighting and heating. You’re only paying for the days we work. You’re not paying for the days we learn, read, experiment, attend conferences, clean out the file cabinets, grieve personal losses, and stay home to take care of sick kids. You pay for our work time and for expenses incurred on your behalf (usually only travel and per diem).

Our work in globalization, internationalization, localization, and program management is usually charged by the full day, particularly when the work is onsite or involves travel. However, we also work on retainer for some clients, where we are essentially on call to help out as needed, whenever we’re needed, which is typically billed by the full hour.

Pro bono services

Global Pragmatica LLC is committed to community service and offers its services pro bono to non-profit organizations at its discretion.

Artwork

Background art: Painting by Zsuzsi Saper, March 2009.

Logo art: Digital photograph by Erin Vang, March 2009. Cholla cactus in bloom at Joshua Tree National Forest in southern California.