How These Six Language Service Providers Are Trying to Win in Global Marketing

Global marketing has been among the hottest verticals for language service providers (LSPs) recently. Just take a look at SDL’s Twitter feed. UK-based SDL has been in the translation industry since 1992 and is probably still best known for products like SDL Trados Studio, its translation productivity platform. Over the past two years, however, the company has been on a mission to push its Customer Experience Cloud and is aggressively trying to own the #CX (customer experience) hashtag on Twitter. SDL, therefore, has doubled down on global marketing and is pushing its own homegrown technology.

For other LSPs, however, it seems the more practical approach is to partner up with companies like Sitecore and try to win significant global marketing accounts through them. Sitecore is an enterprise-level CMS solutions provider that has grown to offer multichannel experience marketing. Think WordPress on content marketing steroids. The Copenhagen-based company generated “north of $100 million” in revenue in 2014 with over 850 employees across 50 countries.

For their clients, Sitecore helps them unify their marketing channels (e.g. search, social, mobile, native) and use them together with Sitecore’s platform’s technologies (i.e. cloud, big data, predictive analytics) to create a single view of their target customers. In terms of technological capability, reach, and marketing expertise, Sitecore is giving the likes of IBM Marketing and Merchandising Solutions and the Adobe Marketing Cloud a run for their money.

Think of Sitecore as a bridge between international brands and the LSPs that provide the translation and localization for their marketing initiatives. The company uses a Technology Partner Program to offer their international clients various capabilities, including translation and localization. As of November 2015, the program currently has six LSP partners:

“Sitecore uses our LSP partners both for our own global marketing operations, as well as servicing our 4,600 plus customers’ localization needs around the world,” Sitecore Executive Vice President for Customer Experience Darren Guarnaccia told Slator via email.

Guarnaccia said the Technology Partner Program was launched during the first quarter of 2015, so there is no data to reflect the work volume their partner LSPs receive just yet. So far, however, Guarnaccia said Lionbridge has closed clients like MasterCard, Canon, JCB, and Manchester City FC, and LanguageWire has won Samsung through their partnership.

Each partner needs to meet the base requirements of their tier level. As long as they can meet the requirements, they can choose their level of partnership.

“The requirements focus on certification training, pre-sales support, mission critical customer support, and product localization,” Guarnaccia said.

“One of the key emerging requirements is in-context translation. It’s becoming increasingly important for translators to understand the placement and content of the material they are translating, especially in marketing content scenarios,” he added.

Guarnaccia said their clients can ultimately choose to work with any of their partner LSPs or any third party vendors outside the partner program. Sitecore only makes recommendations based on end user requirements. Furthermore, Wordbee’s Director of Strategy & Market Development, Anita Sempels, specified that Wordbee as a language tech company is also vendor agnostic and that a Sitecore client that “uses Wordbee Beebox can send translation jobs to the translation supplier of their choice”.

LSPs can get a lot out of a partnership with Sitecore, and the company does not mind if a provider is a relative newcomer, as long as they can satisfy the base requirements. “We provide new and existing partners with the same opportunities to work with Sitecore on a global and regional basis. The level of partner activity is determined by the program tier level,” Guarnaccia pointed out.

Of course, LSPs not only need to make the cut, they also need to stay in shape. Guarnaccia said the timeline for onboarding a new partner generally spans more than two weeks, depending on the potential partner. If they meet the requirements for the partnership level they want (i.e. Platinum, Gold, Silver), they need to perform consistently to that standard. Guarnaccia points out that “we meet with these partners regularly based on their tier level (i.e. annual, quarterly and bi-weekly). We will review ecosystem partners within each market segment (e.g. LSP) on an annual basis.”

But LSPs interested in partnering up with Sitecore will have to wait for now. “We are constantly evaluating new technology partners, though at this time the program is full in terms of formal LSP partners. It is possible to work with Sitecore on a more informal basis, however,” Guarnaccia said.