Best Practices

3 Strategies for Entering Foreign Software Markets

Localization isn’t just one of the key strategies for entering foreign software markets; it’s a necessity. Even established global companies struggle with making this happen cost-effectively because it is an ongoing, ever-evolving process.
Gabriel Fairman
2 min

Localization isn’t just one of the key strategies for entering foreign software markets; it’s a necessity. Even established global companies struggle with making this happen cost-effectively because it is an ongoing, ever-evolving process.

A lot of the time, what’s holding you back from a successful market entry isn’t a lack of ideas; it’s fear. If you’re afraid to demand what you need from leadership, you’re not going to get the job done, no matter how strong your strategy may be.

You need to be a change leader, committed to gaining the buy-in of executive leadership. You’ll need evidence to back up your demands for resources, and you’ll need collaboration across content teams. These strategies for entering foreign markets will give you the confidence to lead, to initiate change, and to achieve unprecedented success.

#1: Prioritize your localization strategies based on market demand

You have to get out of the “all or nothing” mindset when it comes to localization strategies. Not every piece of content needs expert crafting. Smart planning means digging into the data and considering if it’s worth localizing for a certain market. You already have the data you need, right at your fingertips, based on the existing users of your apps and the content they view. With that analysis, you can break your localization needs into layers based on the level of quality balanced against the value of the local market at this time.

A Tiered Approach to Translation and Localization Services

Raw machine data

If no one in a certain market clicks on 90% of your articles, simple raw translation data is more than sufficient. There’s no need to waste money creating top-quality content no one reads.

Training the MT engine

Trained machine translation (MT) engines are useful if you have both domain-specific content that is relatively well structured and a lot of data to train the engine, as you would find in a good translation memory.

Machine translation

+ basic human editing

This level allows for speed plus an elevation in quality, as a human editor goes through and resolves any major issues with syntax to make the content easier to understand.

Human translation

+ human review

Here, the content is perfected and designed for the market audience. The more polish needed, the more review steps might be incorporated, such as in-country review and content testing.

Both historical and real-time data can help you make better decisions about how much to invest in localization. For example, you may notice little difference in results between machine translations + human review and human translations + human review; if this is the case, you may be able to scale down your expenditures for that type of content in that particular market.

#2: Establish collaboration among content teams

Most LocOps (localization operations) teams tend to be reactive, rather than proactive, because of a lack of alignment among the various content departments. Entering foreign software markets is complicated by distinct content streams—often:

  • Product
  • Marketing
  • Documentation

Silos between the departments are very common, and they also create a lot of problems for the LocOps team that needs to roll out effective workflows. Lack of alignment related to workload, timing, terminology, and costs can create barriers where one department is fighting with another over a finite amount of resources. By aligning all the content teams to one common goal, LocOps teams can simplify their work and centralize resources for wider, more efficient use for all content streams.

#3: Aggressively lead strategies for entering foreign markets

It’s not uncommon for change leaders to underestimate their power and worth. What usually keeps them from demanding the change they need is fear. They’re afraid to put their jobs on the line. But if they want to succeed, senior leaders need to look out for the best interest of their company, rather than trying to preserve their localization manager position as it is now.There was a great example of this with a large multinational, consumer-focused company that hired a LocOps lead to streamline their strategies for entering foreign markets.

The problem was, they didn’t let him lead. He was constantly moved from place to place, spearheading new taskforces, and leading new initiatives. He’d spend years developing a plan, only to have it scrapped at the last minute when an executive left the company and another one took their place.It eventually reached the point where they tried to decentralize the entire effort and cut his budget to boot.

That’s when he put his foot down. He approached the company’s leadership and reminded them of his value. He pointed out how he was the only brand-specific LocOps expert they had, and if things didn’t change, he was out. Suddenly, things started to resolve, and he got the resources he needed to actualize their localization efforts.That localization manager lost years of progress because he was afraid to put his job on the line to do what was right for the company’s higher goals.

However, when you’re dealing with a large company, with a lot of moving parts, sometimes that’s exactly what you have to do. It’s not your translators who are going to demand change. They tend to be risk-averse because they’re often unfairly called out when translations don’t go as planned. If they’re going to be willing to take creative risks to put out the best content possible, you need to do so as well.

You need to lead your team and act as their advocate.The best strategies for entering foreign markets are about getting what you need to communicate with a new consumer base effectively. Get into a global experience mindset where the last market you choose to enter is just as important as the first. Be willing to risk it all for the good of the company, and you’ll soon find success is easier to achieve than you thought.

Bureau Workscan be a valuable resource as you develop killer strategies for entering foreign markets. We work closely with your LocOps team to enhance your translation and improve your overall localization process. To learn more,contact our team.

Gabriel Fairman
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