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CNH Reduces Translation Costs by 40 Percent in Three Years with SDL

The Global Information Management (GIM) strategy at CNH is anything but agricultural. By standardizing on an integrated GIM solution, the world’s largest agricultural equipment manufacturer has transformed its approach to local language support – and the service it provides to 11,000 dealers in 160 countries.

Using an integrated blend of SDL technologies and services for the delivery of optimized, localized content, CNH has reduced translation costs by 40% in 3 years, enabled 85% of dealer requests to be resolved online through a self-service multilingual web site, and sliced the volume of escalated enquiries from more than 50% to less than 18%.Moreover, a global authoring process is further reducing translation costs, while a centralized repository of corporate terminology is accelerating translation output and quality.

A world leader in agricultural and construction equipment

CNH is a world leader in the agricultural and construction equipment businesses. Supported by approximately 11,000 dealers in 160 countries, the company brings together the knowledge and heritage of its Case and New Holland brand families with the strength and resources of its worldwide commercial, industrial, product support and finance organizations. 

CNH has deployed an SDL Global Information Management solution for the delivery of the company’s multilingual content. It builds on a highly successful multilingual support project in which SDL technology and services are helping CNH deliver multilingual support information to its network of 11,000 dealers in 160 countries. 

According to Terry Williams, Director of Technical Publications, Diagnostics and Tools at CNH, this standardization on SDL technology and services caps a momentous relationship between the two organizations. “Prior to SDL, we used to have translators all over the place,” he explains. “We have up to 45 manufacturing facilities on 5 continents and everybody who was creating documentation was sending it to their closest translator office. Now, with SDL, we have streamlined this down to one unified, world-class Global Information Management solution.”

Optimized and localized content quality

CNH is using an integrated blend of SDL technologies and services to enable the delivery of optimized, high-quality localized content. SDL Translation Management System™ (SDL TMS™) is managing the complex processes involved in localizing technical documents. In parallel, SDL intelligent Machine Translation (SDL iMT) is automating the translation of publishable-quality multilingual content, by combining sophisticated automated translation technology with human translation skills. 

SDL Global Authoring Management System™ (SDL Global AMS™) is being used to improve the source content consistency and quality. 

“Partnering with SDL to optimize the translation of knowledge that is held within support databases and our technical publications enables us to significantly improve the sharing of information across our different product brands and regions,” says Joe Pstrak, Director of Contact & Knowledge Management at CNH. “SDL provides multilingual support information to our worldwide dealer network much faster and at a dramatically lower cost. These improvements have resulted in over 85% of dealer requests being resolved online through a self-service multilingual web site.” 

One of the core partnership areas for CNH and SDL is CNH’s ASIST program, a 24-7, web-enabled warehouse of expert technical knowledge. An integrated Knowledge Management Database supports CNH technicians and dealers in trouble-shooting, repairing and maintaining CNH products. Symptoms and cures are authored by CNH support staff and stored in the knowledge base in English. Live, free-text search for symptoms in the technician’s language is also available to support the company’s extensive dealer and distributor network. 

SDL iMT combines automated translation technology, including translation memory, the translation management system and automated (or machine) translation, with human skills. These include analysis of the source content, ensuring CNH writers adhere to best practices in global authoring, the building of dictionaries with content specific to CNH and the postediting and review of content to ensure it is of publishable quality for global markets. Any changes to the content are then fed back into the system, so that the quality of multilingual content improves continually. 

The tight integration of these technologies, together with the skills of human translators and linguists delivers the quality required for a support knowledge base, with the timeliness needed to ensure its usefulness to CNH’s worldwide community of technicians, dealers and distributors.

Improved retention of customers and dealers

For Pstrak the benefits are immediately tangible. “In the era prior to SDL, the dealer support helpdesk could manage an average of maybe 500 support enquiry calls and faxes each month. Many of these calls could not be solved, with an average of 50% being escalated. Using the Knowledge Management Database as part of the ASIST solution, we can now allow our dealers to find solutions quicker than they ever did before—and that makes a crucial difference in terms of dealer and customer retention.” 

Following the deployment of ASIST, the number of online support requests being handled has increased to a monthly average of 55,000, with over 80% of these requests being solved via the Internet. This has resulted in a reduction of service enquiries to the CNH technical support center and the volume of escalated enquiries has decreased from more than 50% to less than 18%. The increased amount of information for international end users has resulted in more self-service support. Ultimately, CNH calculates that the ASIST program has led to year-over-year cost savings of thousands of dollars. And from a customer satisfaction perspective, dealers are now able to search, diagnose and find solutions to machinery problems in their local language. This has led to a significant increase in dealer and customer satisfaction, corresponding improvements in loyalty and the associated increase. 

Translation costs are also coming down. The traditional desktop publishing (DTP) environment is being replaced by XML – enabling authors to write once, reuse sections of content, and then apply them to different formats. Previously, translators had to stop authoring regularly to verify content and accommodate the pre-printing process. Now they can continue working without interruption, extending the authoring window by up to 5 weeks. “If you look at a typical 4,000 page manual, we now have an extra six weeks to translate it,” says Williams. “XML, within an overarching global communications strategy is reducing our costs by cutting the time authors devote to providing multilingual content and reducing the costs of desktop publishing. Overall, the estimated cost reduction of using this translation process is 40%.” 

With the source content contributors to the ASIST solution being based in different countries, CNH also wanted to look for a solution that could automate quality checks in the English, French, Italian and German source content. CNH included SDL Global Authoring Management System™ (SDL Global AMS™) as part of the solution, to enhance the quality and efficiency of the global authoring process. This solution will not only help them improve the quality and consistency of their content, but it will also help authors prepare content for automated translation and in this case SDL iMT.

“Using SDL Global AMS, the knowledge engineers, the people from technical publications and other interested communities will all begin using consistent terminology, style and language in their work, as well as improving the source content for SDL iMT. Additionally, they have access to see what has been previously written and translated. If they accept the sentence that is already in the translation memory, translation costs drop even further and consistency is enhanced,” says Williams.