QBR In the Language Industry: Stating Your Case

We all know that development and implementation of language solutions is not a piece of cake. We all know that the fragmented world of localization requires customized solutions that take a lot of planning and invention. And we also know that, more often than not, the clients coming from other industries are largely unaware of what it is that we actually do for them and how we help them optimize costs and secure their global presence. However, most of the time we are the ones to blame for this state of affairs. The somewhat self-effacing nature of the industry and our ever-present fear (or belief) that the industry outsiders might not understand our fancy lingo keep us in the shadows. But how hard do we try to state our case? And how hard do we need to try? Well, there is a nice little thing called QBR designed to help us resolve these issues.

What is a Quarterly Business Review?

QBR is a meeting between the services provider and the client on a quarterly (half-yearly or even annual or monthly) basis where the data on the business collaboration is presented in the form of a report and discussed. It is the point where we present what we have done for our client over a specific period and what we can do to support our client’s business operations in the future.

Why Do We Need It in The Language Industry?

It is a perfect opportunity for us to present our case and introduce our client to our fancy industrial lingo and our mysterious processes. And if the client does not understand what it is that we are talking about, we are doing something very wrong, so we may want to forget about our secret lingo and explain in plain terms what it is that we do and what is our contribution to the client’s business operations. Lest we forget, a client's input can help us in our job tremendously, but it is not going to happen if the client is unaware of this and does not understand how and where his/her input fits in the process. So, in the context of the language industry, this report should include the volumes of translated/localized words, the overview of costs and the improvements made, overview of dedicated project teams, language pairs and other relevant information, as well as any suggestions for improvement of collaboration.

Making the Case for Digital Transformation

You might have heard about the little thing happening right now that may be called the revolution of digital-first approach. QBR is the perfect opportunity to introduce the client to the technologies, integrations, translation asset management and other processes that enable us as the language service providers to become enablers of the digital transformation, while retaining the professional human supervision and quality. We know all about this, but our client must know as well.

Making the Case for KPI Tracking and ROI Calculation

And here is the elephant in the room – the elusive ROI and KPIs of localization and translation services. Unless the client has decided to invest in localization with a very specific objective of such a venture – for example, localizing user manuals/help files to decrease the number of calls to the customer services department – the traditional ROI and KPI measurements will simply not work. The reason for this is actually very simple – translation and localization do not generate revenue. They are tools that enable revenue generation. However, this does not mean that their effects cannot be measured or assessed. At the same time, language services are very specific and vastly different processes and solutions are applied depending on the individual requirements and goals.

Customized Solutions Require Customized Tracking and Analysis.

With QBR, we provide our client with an invaluable insight into the language services rendered that can help the client make better and more informed decisions regarding their current and future localization efforts on specific markets. In the heavily fragmented world of localization where every client (or even every project) can have highly specific KPIs, QBRs are an excellent tool that feature detailed breakdown of all translation/localization costs, helping the client’s localization and marketing departments with their internal assessments of localization efforts and justification of the expenses.< In addition, QBRs help the client understand what types of language services that they currently use and what (if any) additional language services they may need.

When Is the Right Time for the First QBR?

Its name suggests that it is after every three months and in some cases 90 days after the contract has been signed really is the right time for the meeting. However, this will always depend on the scope of business collaboration. In other words, a Quarterly Business Review can easily be both a Monthly or an Annual Business Review.

Wrap-Up

QBR is simply an essential part of business collaboration. By using the data from the previous projects, it helps us see how the things can be maintained on the current satisfactory levels or improved in the future. It tells the story about the collaboration and mutual success and serves two invaluable purposes:

  • It provides the clients with a deep insight into their localization efforts, costs, savings and quality assurance;
  • It helps us demonstrate our value and learn more about our client’s expectations and requirements, helping us tailor our services accordingly.