Engaging local review teams in translating Internal Communications

When it comes to collaborating, there are often two schools of thought: two heads are better than one or too many cooks spoil the broth. Finding the balance between centralising your Internal Comms translations and keeping local-market teams in the loop, can be tricky. But if you can master this balancing act, your translations and communications will be all the better for it.

Local partners can provide invaluable on the ground insight, as well as regional content. This helps to ensure your message is as relevant and engaging as possible. They can also be helpful when it comes to the practicality of rolling out new internal communications. By involving them in the process, you build a sense of buy-in and responsibility, meaning they’re more likely to get behind your plan.

But, the too many cooks adage does have a point. Different regions may not agree with the tone of voice, other might disagree with the key messages. Then there is the task of managing technical changes and edits coming through in multiple languages from several people. This might not only add time and cost to the translation process, but also runs the risk of disengaging the local teams.

At Comtec, we are well-versed in helping global organisations to find this balance and make the most of their local-review teams. Below are practical suggestions from our team that have been tried and tested. With these tips, you can make the most of your in-country colleagues and deliver the best internal communications possible.

7 practical steps for working with local-market review teams:

Identify your local-market champion

A colleague, with a foot on the ground, is invaluable to the process. Their local expertise means they can advise your translators and check any regional translations. Ideally, someone within a marketing or sales role who understands your brand and style. It would also be helpful if they have experience of reviewing translations. Get this individual involved in the process as early as possible and agree on deadlines and how you plan to work together.

Make them feel appreciated

Find ways to recognise their contribution. The entire company will benefit from higher-quality translations delivered to tight deadlines, and their input will help your budgets stretch further. They should feel part of the wider team, not just a last-minute addition.

Build consistency into your approach

Your translation partner will work together with your local team to create local style guides, glossaries of terminology and review guidelines to achieve consistency across multiple campaigns. The process involves asking for reference material, doing samples and from there the translator can create the guides and glossaries and share with the local market to sign off. Translation Memory technology can also support with consistency. Find out more here.

Keep a consistent review team

Using the same review team across different projects or materials helps to keep the translations consistent. Changing reviewers can lead to conflicting opinions on work, which may be misleading for your translation partner.

However, we know that sometimes these changes can’t be helped. If you have a new review team step in, make sure you let your translation partner know. That way they can ensure they’ve been fully briefed, have access to the style guide and/or glossary and have seen previously approved translations.

Develop a clear translation and review process

Your translation partner can help you to set out what your process looks like and define roles and responsibilities. Make sure your local champions understand how you manage projects and are familiar with the platforms you use. Ensure that any changes to your process are clearly communicated to all stakeholders to avoid misunderstandings.

Prove that you’re listening

Demonstrate your commitment by taking the time to understand their needs and by giving them plenty of opportunities to contribute ideas and feedback. Start by finding out what they feel makes existing content effective or ineffective in their particular region. You can use their feedback as input to the style guide which explores the style and tone of voice for each region. The style guide is a working document which your translation partner will help you to update as new content is written and more feedback is received from your local market reviewers.

Encourage collaboration

Create an easy-to-access digital space where your local champions will feel comfortable sharing their insights and local knowledge. This not only helps with sharing their expertise so others can learn from it, it makes incorporating this input much more straightforward.

Establish clear guidelines

Set out what you expect from your local reviewers, so they understand their role, the translation processes, and what the limitations are. This can be done together to strengthen your collaboration.

The local review is a key part of the translation process – taking the time to properly plan the best approach will reduce rework, avoid missing deadlines and pulling hair. If you work with a translation partner then they may be able to manage this whole process for you, reducing the pain for you even more.

If you’re looking for more information about how to best approach internal communication translation then take a look at our detailed guide which can be found here. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to discuss any particular translation challenges with our team, we’re happy to help.


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