Gilbane Group Reports on the State of Content Globalization
A new report by the Gilbane Group (news, site) focuses on the need for multilingual content in the global enterprise. Multilingual Product Content: Transforming Traditional Practices Into Global Content Value Chains is a follow up to a 2008 report and continues to chronicles the current state of content globalization along with the challenges that companies impacted by global mandates face.

The Survey Topics

On the surface the research report shows that there has been slow growth and progress towards overcoming what the researchers refer to as the "language afterthought syndrome." Yet, companies lack sufficient integration and interoperability across platforms and therefore are unable to collaborate effectively. 

Sure, everyone wants to call themselves an integral part of the global enterprise, but lots of companies don't yet grasp what that means or what it requires.

Compared to the 40 surveyed in 2008, this year researchers surveyed 22 facilitators of content and translation/localization in multinational organizations. Respondents discussed:

The Survey Results

In 2008,  greatest motivator when it came to implementing "global-ready technology architectures" was ROI. In 2009, the current global economic climate continues to support this, but companies are now focused on an "outward-facing customer impact"  in addition to operational costs and savings. 

Other key trends include advancements in improving the quality of source content. Relatedly, whereas in 2008, respondents noted that multilingual communication initiatives often evolve organically, that is by the recommendation or initiative of an employee or small group. In 2009, companies noted that autonomous groups formed to create content and an environment conducive to content development. 

In an effort to abandon what researchers called a "zig zag course" in 2008,  all companies profiled were implementing some sort of infrastructure for globalizing content and were aware of thee need to do so. "No one was doing nothing," it was noted. frequented by many companies, which often lacks speed and efficiency in their implementation. A sign on the times, indeed!

Best Practices Examined

While most of the study is dedicated to extrapolating the needs and challenges of globalizing content and services, the Gilbane project team outlines the best practices in seven large and medium-sized companies for product and brand content. For each company, the report describes the challenges, solutions and outcomes executed.

In the end, the report continues to advocate for the need for more globally-themed actions rather than talk, but this year there were many more actions showing that while, slow, progress towards a more globalized content is advancing. 

The full report is available for download at