19 Jan/16

With a little help from your friends: how Language Service Providers support manufacturers at every stage of the value chain

Manufacturing translations- EVS Translations
Manufacturing translations- EVS Translations

For the UK manufacturing industry, it is likely that 2016 will be a bit of a mixed bag. With a question mark over risks and opportunities, many businesses will approach the year with a reasonable sense of caution. Exchange rate movements, concern about global markets, rising business costs and an EU referendum signal a number of potential challenges. Of course, their importance will vary depending on the size of a business and the specific industry in which it operates.

What is certain is that a healthy UK manufacturing sector is important. Success here has a hugely significant impact on growth of the UK economy contributing to the overall economic prosperity of the country. The UK manufacturing sector spans numerous industries including transport equipment, chemicals and chemical products and food, beverage and tobacco products. The automotive industry, alone, accounts for 4% of GDP (60.5 billion) and currently provides employment for more than 700,000 people in the UK.

For the language services sector, which provides interpreting, translation and related services to a variety of different companies, projects from manufacturers can often be the bread and butter of their business. According to Nataly Kelly, CRO at the Boston-based research firm Common Sense Advisory, the largest amount of work for the global language services sector comes from the manufacturing sector. Put simply, it is an export-intensive sector with businesses invariably requiring language solutions as part of the process of exporting. This means LSPs are able to work with manufacturers in a variety of ways, on a multitude of different projects, and in multiple languages. For the languages services sector, manufacturing certainly is an attractive area to do business in.

What can an LSP do for a manufacturing firm?

For those not familiar with the work of Language Service Providers, the simple reply to this might be: Translate user manuals?

But, as the manufacturing sector has evolved and developed from the traditional work of processing raw materials, to make production only part of a greater value chain, so too has the language services sector. It now experiences increasingly complex and diverse projects from manufacturers. Moving along this chain, then, from research and development, supplier management, and production, to route-to-market, after sales service, consumption and disposal, the support of an LSP is relevant at almost every stage. Supply chains have become increasingly globalised (translation of supplier agreements), production is carried out in overseas plants (translation of health & safety policies, training materials, user and operating instructions, regulatory documentation) and, as companies look to grow in overseas markets, multilingual marketing, branding and aftersales service has certainly presented LSPs with exciting opportunities in areas including audio-visual translations and website localisation. More recently, ‘transcreation’, an area concerned with translating brand ‘concepts’ rather than words, is an increasingly hot topic in the language services sector.

A good example of the interplay between manufacturers and LSPs can be found in Siemens and its Industry Online Support website. In the most recent copy of The Manufacturer, a leading UK publication for the manufacturing industry, Siemens’ Head of Business Development, Graeme Coyne, answers the following question:

As pressure on industry continues to grow and global competition increases, how do Siemens’ Industry Services enable manufacturers to tap into the potential of their machines and plants?

  • Using the Siemens Industry Online Support website we are able to provide technical information and advice 24/7 as worldwide users contribute to our knowledge base.

And if you visit this page, you’ll find that is it not only in English, but also in five additional languages.

2016 will present manufacturers with challenges: some will be positive and others will require difficult decisions. There is still positivity, however, from many businesses about the potential for growth both in terms of exports and their business’ global presence. EVS Translations will be there every step of the way to ensure that manufacturers have all the multilingual solutions they need to achieve these goals.