Case Study

Global life sciences company centralizes translation management

Find out how this major life sciences business unlocked faster, more cost-effective translations by centralizing translation operations.


Our client, a Fortune 50 Life Sciences company, distributes medical devices, pharmaceutical and consumer products to more than 100 countries in more than 50 languages. The company has offices dispersed globally, all requiring translations. 

The Challenge

Our client was experiencing multiple challenges with its existing, decentralized translation program. Processes were inconsistent throughout the company, ultimately affecting quality and time-to-market.

This decentralized program led to:

  • Difficulty managing supplier adherence and performance
  • Low quality and inconsistency across languages
  • Problems with tracking and controlling translation spend
  • Lack of visibility and transparency of the translation process
  • Limited portability between language service providers
  • Lack of scalability and interoperability of internal tools and technology to support increasing translation needs

The Solution

When the client turned to Acolad Life Sciences, they wished to achieve several main objectives. Among them:

  • Create a centralized translation strategy to be implemented company-wide
  • Optimize the translation process by removing inefficiencies
  • Integrate existing technology with new tools for maximum benefit
  • Increase visibility into the company-wide project pipeline
  • Create a single source of truth for linguistic assets to be used internally and across the supplier base

The priority was to consolidate the translation supplier base of more than 100 suppliers to a smaller, more easily managed pool.

Acolad Awarded Lead Translation Partner

Following a comprehensive RFP process to select nine official suppliers, Acolad was awarded the role of Lead Supplier. The first priority was to develop a centralized translation program that would be implemented globally, consisting of two main standard operation processes:

  1. Internal translation management procedures
  2. Defining how the suppliers' network would collaborate in upcoming projects.

To support the program, as Lead Supplier, Acolad also provides the technology platform to be used by all translation services: both internal users and other approved suppliers. The platform centralizes all the linguistic assets company-wide to optimize collaboration between all internal and external stakeholders:

Translation Management Portal

The translation management portal offers several key benefits to the client, including:

Translation Memory Integration

The integration of the translation memory repository, which allows all suppliers and divisions to access the entire inventory of previously translated content.


One of the most valued benefits of the repository is that it allows suppliers to retrieve and download the translation memory content they need and perform the actual translation work outside of the portal, using their own tools and processes.

SAP Ariba Integration and Translation Spend Management

The portal includes centralized quoting and competitive bidding. Integration with SAP Ariba ensures quick and easy capture of approved costs.


The translation quoting module included in the portal allows internal stakeholders to request competitive bids from all suppliers simultaneously. This centralized option eliminates the need to send multiple emails to different suppliers or use different proprietary tools.


Once the work is awarded, the SAP Ariba integration allows for ease in financial approval, issuance of POs, and financial tracking both within SAP Ariba and the Portal. The client doesn’t need to log out of the Portal and into Ariba, so the workflow is uninterrupted. It’s an end-to-end solution that starts with soliciting quotes and ends with issuing the PO. The integration ensures compliance to approved suppliers. 

Process Standardization

The portal also includes a module for managing translation projects. Due to diverse requirements across the enterprise, it was important to our client to provide users with the flexibility to create their own workflows adjusted to their needs. The portal maintains a balance between process standardization and flexibility, all while recording a detailed audit trail for each project.

Improved Content Consistency

Through the file repository, the portal stores glossaries, stylistic conventions, templates, and additional SOPs to streamline processes and ensure consistency across all translated deliverables.

Adoption and Design: Intuitive User Experience

Powerful functionality aside, the objective was also to develop an intuitive, user-friendly platform tailored to the client needs and the different user profiles. The goal was to ensure all users were able to learn and adopt the system within minutes, not days or weeks.


The intuitive design minimizes the need for extensive training and documentation. Ultimately, we believe that users shouldn’t need to understand the intricacies of the translation process to manage their work – the portal does that for them. 

The Result

Since implementing the portal, translation time has decreased significantly, since divisions across the company can now leverage previously translated content to their own projects. For suppliers, rather than only having access to the translation memories they have created for the client over the years, they now have access to shared translation memories from eight other suppliers, ensuring consistency across all translated content.

By challenging suppliers to competitively bid for projects through a standard quoting template, our client has been able to drive down project costs and turnaround times. Suppliers know they are in a very competitive environment and are challenged to price aggressively and be innovative to deliver projects more quickly.

As projects are completed, new translation memories are uploaded by the suppliers, resulting in an ever-increasing database of translated content to be re-used, which aids in reducing costs.

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  • 3,000 users
  • 14,000 completed projects
  • Decreased costs
  • Improved consistency across translated content
  • Faster project turnaround

User Feedback

"I appreciate the transparency the portal has created; no more headaches from managing my suppliers."

“I can’t believe how much time I’m saving with this tool!” 

“It’s refreshing to use a tool that was clearly designed for me, not my suppliers.”

“It was eye-opening to learn how much previously translated content existed throughout the company that I leverage. Huge time and cost savings!”

“I just used the tool for the first time; it was really easy!”

“This program and platform is transformative for our company.”

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