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Tammy WernerGuest blog entry by Tammy Werner, Director of CSOFT’s MedL10N Division

On my flight from Miami to Seattle for Localization World earlier this month, it occurred to me that commercial airlines and professional LSPs have a lot in common (except when it comes to drinks and snacks).

When we plan a vacation or business trip, we tend to think only of our final destination and cost. Depending on the distance and our comfort in driving ourselves there, we may opt to hire a professional to “do the driving” for us. Translation projects are really no different.

In preparation for my trip to Seattle, the thought of driving there did not even cross my mind. The first thing I did was go online to price the available commercial flights. Once I found the most attractive flight based on my criteria, I booked the ticket to lock in the best rate. Sure, there were cheaper flights (shhh, don’t tell my Finance Director), but I didn’t want to waste my valuable time flying from Miami to Seattle via Maine.

Yeah, you should read the passenger safety card. Then you should sit back and let the flight crew do their jobs.

Having been a translation buyer in my previous career, I was focused on satisfying my internal customers’ schedules within budget. Beyond that, I didn’t want (or need) to know how my LSP would complete the mission. After all, I had already evaluated my LSP and deemed them worthy and credible.

Flying allows us to get from Point A to Point B without having to worry about all the logistics that would otherwise complicate the effort to drive ourselves.

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When I boarded the plane, I had confidence that I would arrive safely in Seattle (maybe with a few turbulent bumps along the way, but safe nonetheless). Training and certifying the pilot, training the flight crew, creating and submitting the flight plan—those were all things that I didn’t have to worry about. The FAA had already done all that. Same is true with LSPs who are ISO certified; they have passed the rigorous audits and inspections for certification and re-certification. So trust them to do their jobs—it’ll make your life easier.

Leverage experience—and your relationship with your LSP

Changing destinations is similar to changing a translation schedule—it can be done, but the flight may not be as smooth, last-minute resources will be required, and additional planning will be needed. Because of the benefits offered via my frequent flyer program, I avoided common costs like baggage fees—costs that other travelers would have to pay. Frequent flyer programs make it clear: The more you fly with them, the more leverage you have over other travelers, similar to leveraging TMs to save translation costs. Plus, you may just get bumped to the head of the line during the check-in process.

Anyway, I just want to say thanks to all the professional pilots (project managers), first officers (engineering), and flight crews (DTP and production) for doing their jobs well. As consumers, we don’t really think of quality until we realize it’s missing. Travel safely and use professional LSPs to complete your translation/localization projects. As often heard on TV: “We are trained professionals—Do not attempt these stunts on your own.”

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Thanks for reading. It is now time to turn off all electronics, return your seat backs and tray tables to their full upright and locked positions in preparation for landing.

Oh, and a word to the wise: Don’t hire a crop-duster or stunt pilot to fly you to your destination. They may have a pilot’s license, but check the fine print for their experience and what aircrafts they’re certified to operate.

Tammy Werner has spent over half her life in Life Sciences (which is a considerable amount of time, but if you value your life, you probably shouldn’t ask how long), mostly on the client side until last year when she joined CSOFT as the director of their Life Sciences division, MedL10N. Splitting her time between South Florida and Beijing, she rarely discloses her actual location due to constant threats from the paparazzi. Finding it difficult to explain some of those embarrassing tabloid photos, Tammy avoids the lens whenever possible, which is why we had to threaten her in order to get that corporate glamour shot up there. Only through the use of a secret decoder ring and a shoe phone can her manager track her actual whereabouts.

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  1. Good read!!
    I really like the analogy on LSP and Airlines company and I think you are right to talk about the quality and deliverables.
    There is no point to chose the cheaper service provider/airline company if the risk of botching a product release (or air catastrophe) is too high…

    I can’t stop reading that part “Thanks for reading. It is now time to turn off all electronics, return your seat backs and tray tables to their full upright and locked positions in preparation for landing.”, it is just awesome! And I bet you have the diamond membership card in your purse 😉

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