When you think about all of the people who will be actively involved in localization at any point along the content journey, you can begin to determine the necessary components of your toolkit. It isn’t enough that the translators are well equipped if the reviewers don’t have what they need or if you’re wasting time overmanaging the workflow.
We’ve come too far in the industry to be fooling around with outdated processes. It’s well worth the time to assess your future localization kit and decide whether you have the best resources at hand for the high-stakes challenges ahead. You wouldn’t want to find out, when you’re a few months (or years) deep, that you missed out on a foolproof all-in-one solution simply because it was hidden behind that ungainly toolbox you inherited from the previous generation.
What Is a Localization Kit?
When you’re preparing to go global, you’re likely to hear of localization kits. They are essentially zip files. You might compile a glossary, a style guide, and the text for translation and email it to various stakeholders: a translator, editor, reviewer, or executive, depending on where it is along the content pipeline. Any given individual may have what they need to produce a clean and effective translation, but the potential of a localization kit stalls right about there. Continuous projects, simultaneous projects—the static toolboxes don’t do much to serve these more dynamic needs. And the necessary management can get pretty messy as you’re keeping track of who has what and what goes where throughout the workflow. Spreadsheets, emails, and checklists demand your precious time and attention.
The Inefficiencies of This Outdated Localization Strategy
Sadly, this possible misuse of your time might not even be the most harmful side effect of the localization kit process. The biggest problem is maintaining the integrity of the translation memory. In other words, you lose out on critical opportunities for knowledge sharing and major boosts in quality and efficiency.
You will undoubtedly have multiple translators working on related material. As they work, they will gain insights and inspiration that will be reflected in their translations. But they won’t be shared or built upon further—if not documented and made available to others in the workflow. There is no centralized translation memory in a localization kit. Instead, you have unchanging glossaries flying between email inboxes with no way of amending or coordinating them. No one can see up-to-the-minute learning and editorial choices as a team.
This lack of functional translation memory will have repercussions further along in the workflow. Quality assurance turns into a chaotic hunt for mistranslations and squandered editorial decisions. Since you can’t monitor a translation until it is eventually emailed back, you can’t know for sure whether the translator is taking full advantage of the glossary and other assets in your localization kit. Whereas, a transparent, collaborative organizational strategy could help head off problems fast and save confusion and unnecessary back and forth with mistakes and revisions. Meanwhile, translators who have the advantage of cloud technology can use adaptive neural machine translation—the latest technology that incorporates machine learning to facilitate and improve content localization.
Skip the Kit and Get a Centralized Localization Platform
There is a transparent, collaborative option available. A centralized, automated localization platform will let you see the whole localization workflow all the time, as the projects are forwarded from one stakeholder to the next automatically. Rather than babysitting emails and lists, you can monitor the progress of a string, or an entire project, in detail, without having to do any digging or chasing—or waiting.
There is, of course, a catch to this easy-to-use system: you have to invest the time and resources to get it up and running for your team. By taking a step back to map out your ecosystem, you can identify the collaborators and content streams that need a place in the workflow. You can also identify those assets that will help to integrate the knowledge you’ve amassed so far and that you will continue to grow along with your global organization.
All those Stone-Age localization kits are replaced by a single ecosystem where content flows easily through an API or command line interface and everyone communicates freely. Linguists have access to a common and continuously updated translation memory, and they can discuss translation challenges to avoid replicating mistakes and delays. Editorial decisions can address issues in real time and be applied widely—all without a single email. You can drill into the data at any point along the workflow to monitor progress; otherwise, you can trust that the ecosystem is self-sustaining because everyone on your localization team has all the tools they need to be successful together.
Your Next Steps for Sustainable Global Growth
A centralized localization platform frees up your time to work on things that require your real skills: problem solving, strategizing, proactive workflow management. That convenience is just one of the benefits of a centralized localization platform, however. The linguists’ ease of communications will foster greater collaboration, and that will be reflected in greater consistency and faster implementation of new terms. The style guides and glossaries that serve as guides to how you want to talk about your brand will be constantly up-to-date and accessible to all stakeholders. This, in turn, will make quality assurance faster and increase the overall quality of the translations by reducing the need for corrections. Perhaps best of all, this automated, centralized system is capable of growing with your organization. Set up the system, get the bugs out, and it will scale easily with greater volume.
You might be concerned about the initial lift to get this powerhouse up and running. But you don’t have to do it by yourself. You don’t have to hire your own staff of translators either. By partnering with a localization services provider that has your back, you can lean on their experience and expertise and fortify your localization ecosystem in record time without the usual degree of stress and growing pains. Compared to the localization kit, it’s an entirely new world.
At Bureau Works, we have years of experience optimizing localization processes. Our new-generation localization platform can help you attain top-quality translation with high efficiency and, at the same time, relieve you of the most burdensome aspects of management. Contact our team today to learn how we can make your localization experience better.
January 16, 2020