NetApp Loses Nothing in Translation with SDL
The global storage and data management provider used SDL to deliver content in 16 languages simultaneously
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Based in Sunnyvale, Calif., NetApp is a large multinational provider of storage and data management solutions and services. Like any global organization, it faces the need to reach out to customers and prospects across many regions and time zones, delivering news of new products or details about upgrades or support materials. To effectively engage with customers, all of this content has to be served up in a host of languages simultaneously, a daunting undertaking.

“Each product that NetApp launches or upgrades requires a coordinated set of information to support it,” says Anna Schlegel, senior director of globalization and information engineering at NetApp. “This exercise takes places daily, and it spans producing and launching information from sales, e-learning, support, marketing, product, trade compliance, [and] internal communications all the way to legal materials.”

To translate that effort into successful outreach, NetApp turned to language translation and content management firm SDL, which helped NetApp with the task of distributing content in up to 16 languages, an effort that requires a “significant orchestra-like effort, as well as great workflows to take our content to market in a very fast manner,” Schlegel says.

A big part of maintaining that orchestra is eliminating waste and duplication while “understanding content that resonates locally,” she adds. “As with most large engineering enterprises, you need to coordinate a good amount of content management systems, authoring methodologies, and different levels of localization investment depending on product maturity.”

With this in mind, NetApp worked with SDL to establish two “centers of excellence”: a Globalization Program Strategy Office and an Information Engineering Center of Excellence. According to Schlegel, the former focuses on enabling NetApp to effectively “go global”; the latter “leads the way on product content strategy.” Both centers aim to connect company siloes and processes, reduce manual globalization and content processes, eliminate redundant work, and ensure that go-to-market collateral is in keeping with customer expectations, regardless of language.

“NetApp’s customers today can access information regardless of location or language, which was not the case just a few years back,” Schlegel says. “For example, we localize press releases into more than a dozen languages all ready to launch on the day of the English-language release, instead of being delivered at a later date. This provides a more consistent communications experience for NetApp’s global customer base.”

With SDL’s help, NetApp has united the globalization and content strategy groups, enabling it to combine authoring programs and content architectures and connect systems from information creation to publishing, Schlegel says. “Ultimately, anyone across the company now has a one-stop shop for content strategy and globalization.”

Beyond that benefit, NetApp has also seen a number of specific results with SDL. As noted, content can now be translated in up to 16 languages, and translation has sped up from 1 million words of localization annually to about 30 million. Additionally, the company has reduced duplicate work by reusing more than 80 million words for translation purposes, and it has gained an instant view into the price and volume of translated content so that it can better forecast budgets and optimize processes.

“In this process, we are consistently looking at a customer-first mentality,” Schlegel says, “trying to envision what content they need to perform their tasks through a variety of sites and portals, and in the right local language.”

The Payoff

After enlisting language translation and content management firm SDL, NetApp has been able to:

  • translate content in up to 16 languages;
  • speed up translation from 1 million words of localization annually to about 30 million;
  • reduce duplicate work by reusing more than 80 million words for translation purposes; and
  • gain an instant view into the price and volume of translated content to better forecast budgets and optimize processes.

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