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Exceeding Business Goals with Translation KPIs
Russell Lundsrom
Executive Summary
Every business measures the success of its activities to some degree or another. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are
simply refined performance measurements that are determined to beyou consider to be critical for your business.

From theKPIs range from very broad measures like and nearly useless gross sales numbers to performance level
KPIsgoals like achieving (zero product defects or , 99% customer satisfaction, etc.) Yyour specific business KPIs are
unique to your industry, your business, and even your department.

Choosing the right KPIs for your organization is entirely dependent on having a good understanding of what is
importantmatters to your business. Since translation touches most areas within a business, they translation KPIs present
a unique measurement challenge for measuring. They includeNot only do you need to measureing the translation
activities themselves, but you must also measure the results of your translation efforts.

Your KPIs help you asses the performance of your activities throughout the organization. They must be understandable,
measurable, and finally ultimately actionable. It doesnt do much good to measure anything something which does not
influence the success of your initiativesbusiness goals. Developing a set of simple, powerful KPIs for your translation
activities can be challenging, and but we hope the following white paper will help you discover how your translation
efforts are effectingtruly impact the success of your business.
Developing Translation KPIs
For a companiesy engaged in the translation of itsthat translate content, the development and management of KPIs is
mandatory for long term success. For every company thatIf your organization invests heavily in translation and
localization that but does not track any form of KPIs, I would raise serious questions about how your translation budget
is getting spent. I have seen the same questions ofa real decline in translation value, returns on dollars
investmentinvested, and eventually, thea gradual dive to the lowest cost provider. These factors combine to , putting
translation quality in the rear view mirror, and essentially defeating the entire internationalyour companys objectives of
reaching a global audience.

Guidelines for Translation KPIs
As a translation manager, yYour KPIs in general are simply performance indicators used to measure one value against
another. The main question for any manager looking to develop KPIs for theirthe value of your companys translation
activities are:

1. Is the KPI a practical number which reflects upon an existing process?
2. Are your KPIs relative to your activities? In other words, do they measure something which you have control
3. Do the KPIs show you direction? Can you tell if you are getting better or worse against the measurement?
4. Do the KPIs reflect a measurement against the most valuable activities for the business?

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KPIs are not goals or business objectives. Although your business goals can be used as a form of a KPI, the objective of
your company KPIs are to give you guideposts and feedback on your activities. They are the measurement of your
activity or process against the goal.

KPIs for Translation Managers
When developing strategies for translation oriented KPIs the key points are:

1. Your KPIs measure points within a business process against the goal of the process.
2. Used KPIs are used to highlight the variances within your business process.
2.3. Translation activities can benefit greatly from well-defined KPIs.

I encourage you to Tthink of them KPIs like tuning your translation guitar. As your strings (translation process) get out of
tune, your KPIs will tell you in which direction, sharp or flat, and by how much so that you can make appropriate
adjustments to improve performance.
Ideas for Translation KPIs
A great baseline used for many KPIs regardless of the industry is to stick to the traditional S.M.A.R.T. criteria.

Action oriented
Relevant to your success
Time based

Since translation usually typically touches almost every department within a business your specific KPIs will be
developed around your departmentals objectives. Ive outlined Ttwo examples below should to give you a good starting
point for developing your own valuable translation KPIs.
Translation KPIs for Marketing
Marketing is becoming an increasingly metric driven discipline, with new automation and campaign tracking tools
transforming the way a company measure marketing success. Some Ive identified several Key Performance
IndicatorsKPIs for a typical marketing department, which might include the following:

Number of new customers acquired in identified target markets.
The financial leverage generated from translation activities. Target market This measures net revenues in a
target market versus : dollars spent on localization for specific that market.

A specific translation ROI ratio to sales goals in a target market.
The service leverage generated from translation services. This measures the net number of service requests in
target market as compared to source market.
Average time between scoping projects and starting translation projects.
Average time to completion for relative translation projects.
Percentage of translation project milestones missed.
Profit per translation project.

ROI commitment vs. acheieved ROI for translation projects.
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Copyright 2011 Cloudwords, Inc. All rights reserved.
Translation KPIs for Manufacturing
Some Key Performance Indicators for a typical marketing department might include:

Time to target market of new products and services.
Average new market production costs
Yeild %
Translation cost as a % of support maintenance cost
If your company translates any kind of content, from websites to product marketing collateral, its essential to measure
the effectiveness of your translation process. KPIs will help your company ensure that all key business goals are met
when expanding your reach to a global audience. This paper outlines KPIs for a typical marketing department that is
involved in the localization of business content.
About the Author
Russell Lundstrom is a Website Localization Specialist at He has over two
decades of experience on the front lines of web development and translation. is a single source for web designers looking to tap into the profitable world
of translation and localization. The company specializes in managing the entire website translation
process to maximize efficiency and stay within budget. To learn more, visit

About Cloudwords
Cloudwords brings all the benefits of multi-tenant cloud software -- including vendor ratings, transparency,
and cost reduction -- to businesses looking for translation services. And by translation services, we mean
language translation of a company's product, website, marketing collateral, and more. We provide a highly
qualified marketplace that matches translation customers with the best translation vendors for their
needs. Our translation management platform helps customers and vendors easily navigate the translation
process. Customers can centralize all their previously translated content to ensure consistency and
maximum reuse. To learn more, visit or call us at +1 (415) 394 8000.

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Comment [bf1]: Russell, I think its better to
focus on the marketing KPIs for this paper.
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