SAP around the world with Language Service Partners
The language scope of standard SAP ERP delivery has grown over the years to now include 36 languages and even as many as 50 country versions. A multitude of international customers are using those standard language and country versions every day.
But this is not where the international deployment of SAP solutions stops. Customers develop additional functionality, or software partners create add-ons, which should fit seamlessly into this multilingual SAP environment. More often than not, the question “how can we now use this functionality in multiple languages?” comes as an afterthought after development completion.
Nevertheless, how useful is the best functionality, when the end-users are not able to understand the actual texts in the screens – and thus not able to use the functionality properly? Just imagine an employee of a multinational in a warehouse in Hungary, wanting to check in a delivery and confronted with custom-built functionality on his screen – in English, a language that he cannot understand at this professional level. It is at this human end-user level where the success of international rollouts is determined – in the actual usability by the people working with the software. Needless to say, the first requirement is addressing the users in a language that they understand.
So now we have acknowledged this requirement, the next question is: who can provide us with a solution for creating multilingual versions of custom-built or additional developments?
SAP Language Service Partners could be the answer to this question. SAP decided to create a dedicated partner type for language services, because translation and language consultancy in an SAP system environment require very specific skills and in-depth knowledge of the appropriate transactions and related NetWeaver functionality. Not every translator knows the specific SAP terminology and can translate in the SAP system transactions, and not every NetWeaver consultant has the very specific knowledge for this particular area of the SAP functionality.
As members of the SAP PartnerEdge Services Partner program, language service partners have been tried and tested by SAP for their specialized knowledge and experience in providing local language versions of SAP solutions.
SAP differentiates between two service types offered: language consultancy and translation services.
Partners offering language consultancy services are experts in helping customers determine the best setup and strategy for their specific international SAP system landscape. Services can include aspects like scope analysis, translation method selection, system preparation, language delivery and post-processing of translations to ensure future leverage of initial language deliveries.
This aspect is a highly specialized area of NetWeaver consultancy, and now SAP also offers a dedicated training course for this expert area: WDE400, Setting Up Customer Translation Projects.
Partners offering translation services have years of experience in delivering the actual local language translations in SAP systems. They are professionals in SAP terminology and translation tools, and have expert staffing and project management skills in an SAP environment. Many of those partners are also delivering translation services to SAP itself.
The Language Service Partner Ecosystem is a very cooperative ecosystem, in which partners offering consultancy services and partners offering translation services come together to offer SAP customers and partners the best solution for their specific language situation. The orchestration of both service types can be adapted according to customer preferences.
If you want to learn more about language services in international implementations, please register for the Webinar Language Consultancy and Translation Services on May 12th, 2011.
Many Language Service Partners are now also in SAP Ecohub – search for language, translation or SE63, and you will find the currently listed partners.