Shipping Translation services in one neat package: a UPS success case

In the package delivery and shipping industry, being on time is critical. UPS is known for the efficiency and logistics of their shipping processes. When dealing with shipping document translation services, the same kind of unity and transparency between departments is critical. The best way to make sure you reach success with your translation program is through centralization: corralling all translation efforts into one unified process. One company that is embracing the idea of centralization is UPS.

A giant that requires specialized logistics industry translations

UPS is at the heart of global business. With a service area that includes 220 countries and territories and 395,000 employees in 75 of those countries, it’s hard to ship or order a package internationally and not run into UPS. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Founded in 1907
  • World’s largest package delivery company, with headquarters in Atlanta, GA, USA
  • 2014 Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise (CITE) award winner for best machine-to-machine technology

Assessing the opportunity for shipping industry translation service demands

With so many employees and customers in so many different areas of the world, a shipping document translation company is in high demand from multiple departments at UPS. To make sure they were getting consistent translations and the highest value possible from their translation services, UPS reached out to YBD for help.

My team and I worked with their communications group to set up a localization assessment. A localization assessment is a company-wide evaluation of the people, process and technology related to a translation program—everything from workflows to systems used to which deliverables are translated.

Three challenges in translation for the shipping industry

Together we conducted 50 one-on-one in-person interviews with members of all key groups and regions within the company. The responses highlighted a few trends. UPS’s translation program as a whole had gaps and limitations standing in the way of complete efficiency.

  1. The first issue with the shipping document translation process at UPS—slow turnaround times and inefficiencies—arose because the translation process across the company was non-standardized. A lack of communication between teams and multiple manual file submission techniques led to bottlenecks.
  2. Technology was another area in need of improvement. Various departments used different translation technologies, translation memory was not effective and reporting tools were unable to accurately reflect the true picture of the translation program throughout UPS.
  3. Finally, the quality of language translation at UPS was suffering. Qualified linguists on staff were hard to find, translation quality varied between departments and even between projects, and there was no standard process to measure the quality of logistics translations coming in.

Our solution

To address these three main areas for growth, my team at YBD crafted a solution based on centralizing UPS’s translation program with YBD’s translation management system at the center. Since taking steps towards centralizing translation services with YBD, UPS has seen significant improvement in all three opportunity areas raised by the localization assessment.

Project turnaround times have been reduced. The process through which projects are submitted and received has been streamlined.

YBD Enterprise Program Manager Stephanie Powers puts it this way: “We have become very familiar with the needs of the different requestors within UPS and are able to predict project needs early in the process. This familiarity with the various needs within the business means that when we receive a certain type of file or project, we are prepared for any potential bottlenecks before they arise so projects can flow with less hiccups or bottlenecks.”

Using YBD’s centralized translation management system has allowed multiple departments to pull from the same centrally stored and managed logistics document translation memory across the company. Using one central system allows analytics on quality and cost of translation services to be tracked and compared company-wide.

Translation quality is also on the rise. Let’s hear from Stephanie on this:

“It’s one thing to hand off UPS style guides and glossaries to translators in hopes that translations are consistent project to project,” said Stephanie. “But centralization brings consistency to a new level. We are familiar enough now with UPS’s translation needs that we can choose translation teams who have already worked on UPS projects for us so they are familiar with the content. When paired with centralized translation management, this means an added level of consistency across the brand.”

Direct shipment to centralized success

Getting the most out of your company’s investment in shipping and logistics translation services often means wrangling together disparate processes into one unified approach—rather than bidding for the lowest price on each project. UPS has seen long-term gains in speed, efficiency, cost savings and quality by centralizing their translation process with YBD.

Want to learn more about how centralizing your localization program with YBD can work for your company? Submit a comment below or get in touch!