22 Nov /10

Translation services along the automotive supply chain

Translation services along the automotive supply chainAuto manufacturing is more international than ever with newcomers like India and Korea the latest new members of the global auto industry.

As the automotive OEMs break into new markets and new manufacturers emerge, this leads to a development and relocations for the key Tier 1 and Tier 2 sub-suppliers that aim to be within a close proximity of their customers.

How to sift through the impressive amount of information about auto parts (both made by the manufacturer or from independent aftermarket manufacturers) is more important than ever.

Supporting and developing the potential worldwide markets of auto parts depends on clear, informative and accurate translations for every link in the wide parts suppliers’ network.

Each link between an OEM and a supplier is a connection. The suppliers of the automotive industry are being shown the way by the OEMs, which specify which technologies and business practices must be implemented.

In order for the suppliers and the OEM to collaborate efficiently they need to share precisely translated and interpreted information.

Automakers are constantly under pressure to identify consumer preferences and expectations; determine reliability and performance standards of vehicles; government trade, safety, and environmental regulations; implement new technologies and gain new market shares.

The implications of these factors are vast along the automotive supply chain.

Traditionally, the automotive supply chain integrates five major groups of players:

  • original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that design and assemble the vehicle,
  • first-tier suppliers that manufacture and supply components directly to the automaker,
  • sub-tier suppliers that produce some of the individual parts that would be included in a component manufactured by a first tier supplier,
  • raw materials and infrastructure suppliers,
  • engineering firms, dealers and advertising agencies.

To better understand the complexity of an automotive supply chain:

  • A typical supply chain in the automobile industry consists of thousands of companies.
  • A typical motor vehicle consists of approximately 15,000 parts and accessories that must be compatible and integrated.

Because the automotive industry supply chain management is part of a much larger network of international OEMs and with smaller national independent manufacturers servicing the industry, translation services must be honed to the different nuances and needs of each of the language markets and participants in the supply chain.

The automobile translators should be able to support clients throughout the automotive supply chain. The translators should be able to understand the requirements and language needs of OEMs, automotive parts suppliers, advertising agencies, dealers, engineering firms, etc.

For a successful communication between the automotive supply chain links, an automotive translation services provider shall:

  •  Hire professional translators that have knowledge across diverse technical fields.

These fields include, but are not limited to: mechanical & electrical engineering, automation technology, electronics and microelectronics, navigation systems, board computers, wiring, air conditioning, paneling, service and diagnostics.

This would ensure that all the technical terms used in the translation are in accordance to the standards familiar to the local market assembly workers, mechanics, engineers, suppliers and end-customers.

  •  Hire in-house native speakers that have knowledge in logistics, finance, R&D research, marketing, insurance, client relationships, etc.

By being able to effectively communicate both upstream and downstream, a supplier can better integrate its actions to work seamlessly to meet the needs of a client company on any terms, instead of the terms of business being dictated by language barriers

  •  Ensure that all translators used for an automotive translation project have shared real-time access to dictionaries, specialised glossaries and translation memory systems.

And in cases when the customer provides its own translation support tool, to held training courses and teach automotive translators how to use it.

  •  Apply stringent project management and quality assurance control.

Assigning a Subject Matter Expert (SME) to the automotive translators’ team and appointing multiple translation quality managers to perform internal quality control procedures through all the stages of the translation project which also covers the computer-based translation processes.

Obviously, translators involved in automobile translation projects need to not only understanding the technical aspects of the products they are dealing with, but must also be aware of the market in which they are being marketed. The difference between technical language and market/retail language is large and important.

The best practice will be the integration of a translation company in the supply chain processes. When working at several levels of the automobile supply chain i.e. for OEMs and suppliers, the language service provider will get familiar with the internal glossary and preferred vocabulary terms, translation support tools and style guides and will successfully apply the language requirements from one link of the chain to another.

It’s always best for the translation services provider to be embedded into the manufacturing supply chain in order to be able to aptly understand it from inside and accurately interpret the important aspects of the lucrative international auto parts industry and its successful marketing.