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The importance of centralising legal translation

A map of the world
in Legal

With success comes even greater opportunities to grow, innovate and widen one’s reach. It’s a wonderful position to be in, because, instead of relying on pure confidence, faith and even a bit of luck to prosper, you now have the resources, the reputation and the capital to build on your accomplishments. You’re more in control of your own destiny.

Yet, all the while, the environment you operate in becomes more challenging. Competition is fiercer, expectations are greater and all your current demands are amplified. This is further intensified when you go global, as Pascal Visée, a senior adviser to McKinsey & Company recently discussed.

“International operations beget complexity,” he said. “As most multinational companies have come to understand – at times the hard way – going global often produces organisational clutter and reduces agility. Scaling up can also create fundamental confusion about roles and responsibilities, often contributing to the large number of emails, meetings and scorecards.”

As such, there is an explicit need for executives, ahead of globalisation, to streamline processes throughout the entire business. This ensures that as a company evolves, takes on more staff and develops new products and services – across multiple markets – they are able to maintain the kind of visibility needed to run a savvy, efficient and effective business.

One of the most notable changes that occurs with internationalisation is the need for carrying out regular translations, especially of a legal kind (the value of which we touched upon in a previous blog). In this article, we look at the importance of centralising this vital component. The earlier you can do this, the better off you will be in the long run.

Responding to a demand

Operating a business on a global scale creates a demand for legal translation. For example, as an enterprise delivering a product or service in numerous countries, you will need, at some level, to have documents, papers and content translated. And, more so, this will not be a rare occurrence – in one department or another there will be a regular need for it. It must be a long-term investment.

Consolidating the workflow

Likewise, the complexity of working globally supports the idea that legal translation should be centralised to reduce convolution. Certainly, as a new survey from Knowledge@Wharton and SAP confirms, while today’s “workforce is more connected, collaborative and dynamic than ever before … these connections have created an unprecedented degree of workplace complexity”. Consolidating the disparate workflow simplifies the intricacy of things.

Facilitating centralisation

Best practice stipulates that you don’t allow things to become elaborate and excessive in the first place, yet, as a still relevant 2010 essay published in the Ivey Business Journal notes, “complexity is one of the salient hallmarks of the 21st century”. An organisation can find itself in a position whereby numerous legal translation projects are being carried out by several departments with input from various members of staff and language service providers. This is superfluous and profligate.

A better return on investment

Such a siloed approach may allow organisations to deliver on their objectives, but it comes with a cost to productivity, finances and quality. A more automated and centralised system, however, offers a better return on investment. Through a single translation vendor that liaises with one in-house team – which collates legal translation requests – you’re more likely to eliminate unnecessary steps. Additionally, a long-term relationship affords you numerous advantages that are missed in a disparate framework.

Expertise optimised

Centralisation of a process denotes worth and, with regards to legal translation, the strategic elevation of this service ensures you maximise its value. Again, it’s about return on investment. Integrating approaches, for example, allows you to build up materials – style guides, glossaries – helps you reduce exposure to risk and let’s you do more with less (a translation memory productivity tool means you don’t have to pay for the same content twice). None of this is really possible otherwise.

Global can be straightforward

Referring back to the essay in the Ivey Business Journal, the authors of this paper said that complex environments extend beyond the business world – in fact, more so in this century, it’s evident in everything: “Countries, economies and people are more deeply and densely interconnected than at any time in history and these connections are proliferating at a faster pace than ever.”

In short, complexity is the norm and an inevitable by-product the bigger and more international organisations become. While true, it needn’t mean that going global has to be arduous or a headache to manage. Having visibility in everything you do, let alone legal translation, ensures that however large your enterprise, you always possess the ability to see things as they really are.

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