For over 15 years, Shure, the most trusted audio brand worldwide, has relied on SH3 for foreign language translation. The reasons are many but the ultimate reason is the working relationship that has grown through the years and it’s why this story is so amazing.
Shure is a renowned name in audio. The company markets high quality microphones, wireless audio systems, earphones and headphones. The company ships globally from various distribution centers located around the world. Many famous professional artist use Shure equipment in their performances.
Each Shure product has documentation requirements such as user manuals and safety information. These must be translated and localized to the destination country or region.
This is where SH3 comes in. SH3 translates Shure’s user guides and manuals and safety information into as many as 12 languages, including Russian, Dutch, Indonesian, Simplified Chinese and Japanese. With each translation, SH3 interfaces with both Shure’s headquarters located just outside Chicago and local reviewers in each country.
Language presents one level of translation difficulty. However, terminology unique to the audio industry presents a much bigger translation challenge. Terms like “fader”, “mic” and “micing” are not easily translated and a term like “earphones” is new compared to the more commonly understood “headphones.”
Shure’s very specialized field is one reason why Publications, would not trust any other translator than SH3.
“A translation agency that doesn’t understand the terminology of the audio industry is going to translate the audio terms wrong,” said Walsh. “They’re not going to get even close. It’s going to be completely embarrassing.”
To ensure translation accuracy, SH3 maintains a continuously updated database for Shure. The database contains preferred translations of audio terms, as well as commonly translated phrases and sentences. With each translation, the database grows. Over the course of two decades, Shure’s database has grown into an indispensable translation library.
Over a 15-year period, you can imagine that technology and processes have changed considerably. SH3 has been in step with Shure with every desktop publishing innovation, from Interleaf years ago, then FrameMaker, to InDesign and today it’s XML.
From Shure’s perspective, SH3 goes out and gets whatever tools are needed for the desktop publishing design.
“SH3 was prepared for XML and they have handled it flawlessly,” said Walsh.
This evolving to meet the need goes beyond desktop publishing. It also relates to how Shure processes translation and how SH3 adapts to meet that need.
Said Walsh, “We decide which process is best for us and SH3 meets that process.”
“SH3 will give us suggestions but then they’ll say, ‘What’s easiest for you?’”
Both Shure and SH3 have made the trip to each other’s offices to learn better ways of working together and ensure the translated product literature is the best it can be.
Priced Less and Priceless
Like most companies, Shure cares about translation costs but is even more concerned about maintaining the Shure name and reputation around the world.
“If we provide a user guide in Korean and the translation isn’t high quality, it would take away from our reputation in that region,” said Walsh.
“A high-quality translation results in a better image for the company,” said Walsh. “We value that more or equally to the cost of actually performing a translation.”
To Walsh, it’s almost laughable to cut corners to save a few bucks on translation.
“If you don’t mind people laughing at your product information, go ahead and use BabelFish.”
That’s not to say Shure doesn’t save on its translation costs with SH3. The database of previously translated phrases and sentences translates into substantial savings that are lineitemed on every bid quote.
What Shure and SH3 have is priceless. It’s a working relationship that is more like a business partnership where both companies are striving for the same thing—high quality translations that live up to the company’s reputation for audio around the world.
That was true over 15 years ago. It’s still true today.