Machine translation: eliminating language barriers in technical support


Christian Hauschild, Process, Projects and Learning Manager for the SAP Support Organization, discusses how accessing automatically translated content creates a more intuitive and productive product support experience for SAP customers around the world.

Q: Why does SAP offer machine translation of product support content and who can use it?

A: By supporting organizations in more than 180 countries, SAP values ​​the opportunity to reach customers with simple and convenient product support interactions. Yet, we also serve a dynamic variety of software deployment and consumption models, including private cloud, public cloud, on-premises environments, and a hybrid of these options.

Despite this mix of IT landscapes, our customers want answers and solutions to their questions and issues when they contact the SAP support organization. The faster and more productively we meet these expectations, the easier and better the overall customer experience. And one way to achieve this is to break down the language barrier for our live support channels, knowledge self-services, and product support tickets.

With real-time translation, language skills are no longer a prerequisite for receiving SAP support. The best subject matter experts on the client side interact with us regardless of their English skills. Best of all, they can use the latest information in their language of choice or in their native language on demand – instead of waiting for manual translation cycles that can take weeks.

Automatic translation of product support content is powered by SAP Translation Hub. The functionality is available to SAP partners and customers with an active maintenance or subscription contract at no additional cost and through our support channels.

What are the benefits of using machine learning technology to support machine translation?

Imagine the time and effort required to manually translate and maintain an up-to-date knowledge repository containing millions of artifacts – such as SAP Notes and SAP Knowledge Base articles – in multiple languages. With machine translation, clients can translate static artifacts in real time.

What if recent advances in neural machine translation technology were used? From our perspective, this allows us to go even further – from static artifacts to dynamic content, such as whole sentences and phrases – while chatting with our customers live. This represents a tremendous opportunity for our customers and partners to improve their contextual understanding during a live conversation with an SAP support expert.

As a two-way personalized service, machine translation facilitates interaction with product support by helping customers to fully consume the content. This service brings significant business value and benefits to non-English speaking customers. The need to create support tickets is reduced and no translation effort is required. But more importantly, the reach of our product content to help customers is expanding, especially in Germany, China, Russia, Japan and Latin America, resolution time is getting shorter and user satisfaction is increasing.

Put simply, machine translation is clearly a win-win situation for our customers, partners and SAP.

What use cases does the machine translation feature support today?

Currently, the machine translation feature supports Brazilian Portuguese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish for SAP Notes and SAP knowledge base articles. But we do not limit ourselves to supporting the static content of the product support as mentioned previously; we are also extending the functionality to our live support channels.

In the Expert Chat service, users can choose to have the entire conversation with the SAP expert translated between English and the selected language. * Turning off machine translation is as easy as typing “translation off” in the session text box. To reactivate it, users simply type “translation activated” in the same free text field. Then, when the Expert Chat session ends, a chat transcript – in the original language and translation – is automatically saved to an incident for future use.

In addition, the latest response to an incident from SAP support is also translated. This allows customers and partners around the world to learn from problem resolution provided by SAP in their native language. **

Even the Support Log Assistant tool benefits from the automatic translation feature to give customers and partners the option to view the scan report against downloaded logs or configuration files in their preferred language. * **

To date, the machine translation of SAP Notes and SAP Knowledge Base articles has been viewed over 600,000 times in the first half of 2021. And the use of the latest incident response from an expert from the SAP media has been used over 60,000 times at the same time. period.

What’s next for machine translation functionality at SAP?

Everyone in the SAP support organization is committed to empowering our experts, customers and partners to create solutions that fuel innovation, promote equality, and spread opportunity across borders and cultures. And machine translation of product support content is a crucial part of that mission: to provide support anytime, anywhere, from any channel, and in more languages ​​than ever before.

Theresa Ritzheim is Head of Integrated Communications for Customer Solutions Support and Innovation at SAP.

* Expert Chat service machine translation function supports Brazilian Portuguese, English, German, Japanese, Russian, Simplified Chinese and Spanish.
** Support incidents can be translated into Brazilian Portuguese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish.
*** Support Log Assistant Tool supports Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish using machine translation technology.


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