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Technology & Engineering August 09, 2016

What CMS Considerations are there for Effective Localisation?


When embarking on a digital localisation strategy, you must ensure that there is a good fit between your current business needs and your selected technology solutions. The first stage of the process is a full technology audit, so that there is transparency of all the systems your organisation uses. A technical architect will be able to develop an integration and hosting infrastructure to optimise the efficiency of your systems, maximise the data each contains, and break down operational silos within your organisation.

The audit may unearth obsolete systems which are no longer fit for purpose (often inherited as part of an acquisition), or identify areas where an upgrade or new implementation is required to achieve the goals of the business.

When it comes to implementing a global, digital strategy, the most obvious requirement is a centralised content management system (CMS).

CMS Considerations

There are specific technical and infrastructure elements which you must consider when undertaking your localisation effort. For example, your existing CMS may need modification in order to support local languages, personalisation, automation and efficient rollout of your global sites.

Your technical team should audit your current platform, and assess what needs to change. This doesn’t always lead to ‘rip and replace’ as you may find that your existing platform can be upgraded to fulfill your specific needs.

However, if your CMS is no longer fit for purpose, you must take the implications of this into account, and ensure that the CMS selection is a core part of your localisation activation strategy.

If you are using a first generation content management system, you will probably discover that it does not offer a framework for multilingual content translation.

These systems do not offer integration with translation technology platforms, resulting in your content editors having to download and run external translation applications and manually performing data transfers themselves.

Often, internal IT support will be needed to facilitate this process, which can result in longer lead times for publishing localised content.

If in the hands of non-technical content teams, the complexity of exporting and importing content stands the risk of human error which can, in turn, dilute your brand equity and create inefficient content management processes.

The added complication of using separate CMS and localisation systems, is that it can often be very difficult to return both translated and original content to the CMS once it has been exported, which results in a loss of translation memory.

Best-of-breed content management systems nowadays remove the need to create the same content multiple times, by fully integrating translation platforms and providing benefits in terms of brand consistency, content ownership, productivity and asset management.


If your business is serious about implementing a localisation strategy, adopting a CMS which is fit form purpose is clearly a high priority. However, securing C-level buy-in for this investment can often be a challenge.

First generation content management systems are renowned for the burden they place on business users, specifically because of the multiple systems and applications which need to be used to achieve often routine tasks, and the resulting dependence on IT support. In this situation, workflows and processes are disjointed, out-of-system workarounds are employed, and updating content becomes a laborious process.

The key to securing C-level buy-in for CMS investment lies in demonstrating the tangible business benefits, which are multiple. Cost and time efficiency, process improvements, brand consistency and improved customer experience will all result in helping your organisation meet its key business objectives.


Changing your CMS is by no means a simple process. However, there is no better time to do it than when you are planning a site re-design and devising your long-term digital roadmap.

A best-of-breed content management system will provide the functionality (such as permission-based publishing and audit trails), that business users require to manage content on a global scale, across multiple channels.

These systems fully integrate translation capabilities, often as a single click embedded within the content creation workflow, speeding up efficiency and mitigating the risks associated with the convoluted process of exporting and importing content.

Often, improved file-sharing and collaboration capabilities enable users to find, share and download editable components and incorporate them into integrated translation portals, which have advanced translation memory for each content type.

The ability to reuse previously approved translated, transcreated and localised content will ensure brand consistency as you roll out to new geographies.

Leveraging existing content and providing real-time access to it will greatly reduce your time to market, particularly in organisations which operate a globally dispersed digital marketing team.

This, in turn, will make your teams far more productive, as a greater amount of time can be spent on the creation of new, relevant content.

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