Continuous localization is a favorite approach among developers because of its elegance. In theory, it allows you to turn your localization process into a seamless workflow where strings are continually translated, reviewed, and updated, with no beginning or end to the task. Apps, websites, and documents are always up to date as changes make their way through the system in perpetuity. In developer-land, it’s a utopia.
It’s a utopia because it’s not realistic. Continuous localization is a technical process that depends on human intervention. You have to rely on everyone involved in the workflow to complete tasks correctly and on time. Hence, the ultimate continuous localization best practices center not on any specific steps but, instead, on a hybrid system that builds in accountability and measurable standards.
Why Continuous Localization May Not Work
Continuous localization is excellent from a developer perspective but less so from a business management one. Localization process is about a lot more than just translation. It requires active management of personnel, billings, reporting, and other business standards. Continuous localization, meanwhile, is all about the code and the content. The goal is to get strings live as quickly as possible. That’s an ideal tool for developers but a nightmare for business management.
In a pure continuous localization process, a coder creates a string, and it shows up in an interface. A translator may or may not pick it up and translate it. Once translated, the string will move through a quality management process before being reintegrated into the original product. All this happens in a continuous cycle with no tasks or assigned projects. It’s a free-flowing, flexible system with minimal oversight.
In a situation where there is a minimal amount of content translation, like with a small app or website, this might work. The same goes for a crowdsourcing environment, where no one is worried about payables or ROI. However, for an enterprise situation, where there are hundreds of pages of content and languages to consider, a pure continuous localization process is not ideal. Instead, it’s wiser to take the best parts of the theory and use it to create a structured process with clear oversite.
In a hybrid model, the theory of continuous localization is still in place. However, the process itself triggers steps and benchmarks that allow for better management.
A Hybrid Solution Is the Ultimate in Continuous Localization Best Practices
There is one overarching best practice in continuous localization that will influence all parts of the process. That involves using a hybrid model that builds in oversite and accountability. While the flow of work may have no clear beginning or end, there are still benchmarks that can be used to guide the project.
In a hybrid model, the theory of continuous localization is still in place. However, the process itself triggers steps and benchmarks that allow for better management. It works as follows:
- The client submits a string of text for translation.
- A client profile is created that incorporates translation memories, corporate glossaries, billing information, and translator preferences.
- The submission triggers tasks to assign translators and QA reviews, as well as to build timetables for completion.
- An overall project is assigned for the task, which establishes payables, receivables, and reporting paradigms
- An experienced translator uses the existing translation memories and other corporate lexicons to guide them as they translate the string.
- The translated string is then sent along for QA.
- The review either approves the translation or makes changes.
- The completed string is submitted for publication—and automatically reintegrated into the product.
- The business manager reviews the invoice and pays it.
- At any time, they have the option to run reports based on their results in the region to help define future strategies.
The difference between the hybrid process and the pure continuous one is that the hybrid process defines steps and accountability. Managers can easily see where everything is and predict deadlines. If there are errors, they can track them down and correct them. It adds oversight to the continuous process while leveraging the benefits of automation.
The continuous localization process for enterprise models requires the use of a single localization management platform. Without the platform’s structure, a process designed to be elegant and simple becomes unwieldy and difficult to manage.
Continuous localization best practices are about building oversight into the process by creating projects and benchmarks for the work you submit. This allows you to garner the benefits of continually moving and reintegrating strings while limiting confusion on deadlines, billing, and task management.
Continuous localization is a tool simply for developers whereas hybrid continuous localization is an enterprise-wide solution.
Bureau Works can provide a hybrid continuous localization platform that allows you to manage workflows seamlessly while still enjoying the oversight you need to make business decisions. Contact our team for more details.
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