Although localization is already a well-known term thanks to companies who dare to go global and to the internet that popularizes the term itself, it seems that it still poses challenges for the majority of companies.
Everyone knows they should do it at one point, but no-one is quite sure how to make the first step. What really are the biggest localization challenges for your company?
Define your goals first
This sounds like common knowledge, but it’s much more challenging than just saying I want my content to be localized perfectly!. Whether you are a start-up, or a global company, there are several questions you need to ask yourself. We will list them here, and then cover them one by one:
- What do you want/need to translate
- How many languages are you translating into
- Who will be translating
- How do you want to translate
- Which formats are you dealing with
- When do you need to translate
#1. What do you want/need to translate
Perhaps you only need to localize your website, perhaps you also need to localize your backend, and perhaps you just need to translate your support e-mails. In addition, it is most likely that you don’t have to localize everything.
For example, your company blog might not be the highest priority at the moment. The goal is to localize as much content as possible, but not spend all your money on the one task.
#2. How many languages are you translating into
Once you have defined what you want/need to localize, you can define into how many languages you want to translate your content into. This depends on two things.
The first one is the organic need. This means that you want to localize your content for those visitors who are already visiting your website, although it is not localized into their native language. This way you will be engaging them more, and converting more visits into profit.
The second one is planned need, in the sense that you think that your product or service would be useful in certain markets. This is product- and service-specific. For example, if you are selling air-conditioning units, you will most likely sell them in hotter climates, not in Iceland.
If you want to know more about choosing new target markets for your business, check out this blog post on planning an international marketing strategy as well as this one analyzing top languages for localization.
#3. Who will be translating
If you follow the steps above, this question will be a natural follow-up. Who will translate this specific content into these specific languages? There are several options, and all are reflected in the Text United workflow.
Option number two is that you have colleagues who can translate the content only into some of the languages, and you need support for the remaining ones. This means that you need to outsource the work to someone.
Last but not least, there is a large possibility that you don’t have any colleagues who can translate the content into specific target languages, especially if you are a start-up or small company. In a situation like this, you need to outsource all the work to someone.
#4. How do you want to translate
This question usually boils down to two options – manual workflow vs. automated workflow. First of all, there is no shame in having to start with a manual workflow. Automated workflows are more efficient, save money, and improve quality, but perhaps you currently don’t have the capacity to integrate via API or set up an automated GitHub syncing process.
You can start with just sending a file for translation, and then work on the automation of the workflow with us. Every company has very specific needs, and it is our job to help you reach your desired target, not scold you for not being ready to implement a new workflow immediately.
#5. Which formats are you dealing with
The answer to this question might also influence the workflow issue mentioned above. If you are translating PDF files, the workflow itself will be different compared to a client who is translating .xml or .json files.
What if you don’t have the content in a specific format? This case is nothing new when it comes to website localization projects. Although many content management systems can export .xml files, for example, it might actually be easier to use our in-context website translation feature. This way, you are not extracting the content at all, which enables you to easily plan and organize frequent updates to your website.
#6. When do you need to translate
Maybe you are rolling out your new website in six months, or maybe you need a real-time translation of your support chat. The thing is, defining the timeframe for localization can determine a lot of things, such as the method used for the localization itself.
For real-time translations, you will probably implement machine translation, while for legal documents that have a longer turnaround you will employ human translators. Each case is specific, but defining this will help you in finding the right approach for your business.
We hope that the subjects we’ve discussed today will help you overcome the biggest localization challenges. Remember that there are no right or wrong answers. Feel free reach out to us, try out our TMS for free, ask questions, and let us help you achieve your goals!