Meet Renato Beninatto, Chairman and Co-Founder of Nimdzi Insights, a market research and international consulting company that provides clients with the insights they need to succeed on a global scale.
Hey Renato, welcome to BLEND’s Localization Leaders series! We’re well acquainted with your name as Chairman and Co-Founder of Nimdzi Insights. But can you tell us a bit about your background and some of the professional experiences you’ve had along the way that led you here?
I’m originally from Brazil, but I lived in six countries growing up and am fluent in five languages. This is how I got exposed to languages early on and began my career as a translator. My education had nothing to do with this field – which is very common in this industry, by the way.
As my translation clientele grew, I established my own company, Lazoski, Beninatto & Associados. It became extremely successful, and I then sold it to LMI, which was later acquired by Berlitz. At the time, Berlitz was the biggest translation company in the world, and working there as an executive was extremely exciting.
After that, I began CSA Research with Don DePalma. Further stops in my career included serving as CMO and then VP of Sales at Moravia, writing the book General Theory of the Translation Company, and most recently, founding Nimdzi Insights to help large enterprise clients grow and succeed in international markets.
That’s quite a multifaceted localization background you’ve accumulated!
This month at BLEND is all about customer centricity. Having grown your own companies’ international customer base, as well as currently serving in an advisory role to globally expanding companies, what are some of the main customer-related issues you find companies today struggle with?
As a profession, we need to stop talking about ourselves. We need to put our empathy towards the consumer of the product that we generate.
One of the things I’ve noticed appear repeatedly is companies getting bogged down by internal processes, thereby losing sight of the end goal – their customers. When you localize company content, you’re buying happy customers for your company who consume it in 100 languages. You’re buying marketing for the customers. You’re buying labeling for customers. At the end of the day, the translation itself is irrelevant without the participation of the end user, right? To globally grow your company, every localization buyer inside an organization needs to understand their role inside the big picture.
If you use the end user as the focal point of your localization, that should inform every single activity you take in the journey. You need to keep in mind: Who is going to read it? Why? What are they going to do with the information that they get? That is the core. As a profession, we need to stop talking about ourselves. We need to put our empathy towards the consumer of the product that we generate.
Can you give an example of how you can apply this customer-centric thought process to localization department processes?
Sure. At Nimdzi, we’re currently helping a large tech company that created tons of localization quality control processes that they are now stumbling over. The company has so many processes and procedures that they forgot what the end client actually needs, and are spending way too much money enforcing these processes for the sake of their own metrics.
But that’s not what the end client cares about.
I’m sure you have heard of social conformity. We begin doing things without even realizing why we’re doing them. It is crucial to constantly review processes and ask WHY? There is no right way to do things. Localization managers need to constantly align process and structure with their end goal – the customer’s needs.
Globally expanding companies need to understand how the end client uses their product. I’ve advised this particular client towards doing us
eability studies in their country to see if the levels of localization perfection they’re exacting actually make a difference. We do a lot of audits for our clients as part of this optimization process.
There is no right way to do things. Localization managers need to constantly align process and structure with their end goal – the customer’s needs.
Localization managers at large companies generally cater to end users in many differing markets, working with a number of LSPs at a time. Custom-tailoring each process isn’t always so practical. How do you recommend keeping each end customer’s needs in mind, while still scaling operational procedures?
The way to best produce customer-friendly localized materials is to involve the localization service providers you’re working with in understanding your organization’s corporate goals. Make sure to discuss with your LSP purpose usability, initial audience, and final audience. The LSP can then understand why you want that translated and deliver according to your expectations and purpose.
The more successful localization managers are in explaining (to the LSP) their end goals for their customers, the less stressful their job is going to be. The best way to expand your capabilities and ability to deliver is to partner with qualified vendors that understand and align with your end goal.
The way to best produce customer-friendly localized materials is to involve the localization service providers you’re working with in understanding your organization’s corporate goals.
Having worked with and lectured about the differences between US and European consumers, can you speak a bit to that topic? What do global companies need to keep at the top of their minds when catering to the two differing audiences?
The big difference between America and Europe, and I have a presentation about this, “Selling in America”, is that Americans are open to talking to salespeople and Europeans are not. In Europe, salespeople don’t call themselves such. They are Commercial Directors. They hide behind other titles because it’s shameful to be a salesperson. If we put this in a localization context, it plays a large role in why the US is the largest localization market and not Europe – despite Americans largely speaking one language.
Also, because Europeans are so exposed to different languages and different cultures, they tend to be okay with fewer languages on their websites, but it’s not so in the US. Contrary to what you might think, US companies invest far more money in localizing their content to cater to their customers’ needs.
If you look at the ranking of the top 25 most translated websites in the world, I think that only five or six are European. As such, European companies don’t do as well. Europeans should understand language much better, and should be more prone to adopting localization, but in that regard, American companies take the leading role.