We discussed the localization of various types of content in many of our articles, but today we will focus only on why and how to translate your SaaS platform.
We think it’s extremely important and interesting to cover the economic and business aspects of localizing such specific type of services. This means that this article will not contain only theoretical knowledge which you should implement, but also an inside look into what usually makes or breaks SaaS localization.
Why should you translate your SaaS platform?
Most SaaS products are created and developed in English as if it could guarantee that the company will reach the biggest audience straight out of the gate. However, once the product is ready to conquer the world, companies run into troubles.
This is the first business question a company faces. Do we really need to localize our product to reach other markets? Doesn’t everyone speak English today?
Although English is certainly understood by a large percentage of the world’s internet users, the fact that most users from non-English speaking countries prefer content to be in their native language is undeniable.
The question is whether you really believe that you will find people interested in your product in the markets you are targeting. If you think you have a good product, and you wouldn’t be working on it if this wasn’t the case, then it is very likely that the answer to this question will be yes.
This is the only why that really matters. If there is an economic benefit that will grow your company further, you should move forward.
The issues you will face
Chances are that you have no experience in localization, so you will either research it yourself, or you will allocate someone else to do the research for you, and then bring you the results so that you can make the best decision possible. You most likely also did not take localization into account when you were developing the product.
Now you have a bunch of code in your repositories or your CMS (or even somewhere else) and you don’t even know how to export it so that you can localize it properly. The code itself is also written not taking into account that certain non-English languages have different plural forms, so translating a string such as Place <numeric placeholder> items into the cart suddenly becomes a problem when you translate it into Slavic languages (as you need more than one plural in this case).
All of these are real issues you will face, but they are not the most important ones. Your most important task is defining what you actually want to achieve because it will then define the road you need to follow.
How to translate your SaaS platform?
Let’s imagine that you want to localize your SaaS product from English into Spanish.
- Define if you want to reach only users in Spain or also users in Latin America
- Define how much product you need/want to localize to satisfy the needs of the Spanish-speaking users
- Define the budget you are willing to allocate to achieving that goal
- Define how you can handle your content (extracting it as files, what type of files, etc.)
- How many stakeholders you want to bring to the table (partners from these countries, etc.)
Once this is clear, you can do your initial research, of course. However, unless you have experience in localization, you should at this point contact a company that specializes in localization to help you define the workflow.
There are solutions that will make you spend weeks researching localization tools and approaches to build your own workflow. Most companies don’t have the resources to spend so much time on a task which was already handled by other companies with similar or identical issues.
Save that time and reach out to companies who know how to localize content. These people will then ask you what you are planning to do, and this is when the answers to the above questions will help you with the groundwork. You will explain what you want to do, the resources you have at hand, your ideas and wishes, as well as your current problems.
Then, you should be given ideas for various approaches, explain which would be the easiest approach for your business, and help you define your own path.
Remember that creating default scenarios for all SaaS platforms can be an interesting start to a brainstorming session, but you will only be served properly if the person you are talking to asks you about your problems and tries to create a tailored solution.
We can help you translate your SaaS platform!
In fact, this is what we’ve been doing for our clients for the past 10 years. First, you explain what do you need, we simply listen and then create customized solutions.
If you are interested in exchanging ideas about the localization of your content, reach out and ask for a free consultation. We will certainly ask you about your challenges. Don’t worry – even if you are not sure what your challenges are, we will help you define them and address them in the most effective way!