Best Practices

Globalization vs Localization: What the Difference Means in Action

Globalization. Localization. Looking at the words alone, you might think they mean opposite things. This could be part of the reason why the terms are not often well understood.
Gabriel Fairman
2 min

Globalization. Localization. Looking at the words alone, you might think they mean opposite things. This could be part of the reason why the terms are not often well understood. The real truth is that they work hand-in-hand. And if they’re not already working for you, it’s high time to put the wheels in motion.Let’s look more closely at globalization vs localization—and particularly at their meaningful intersection points.

Globalization vs Localization: Why You Need Both


As a broad generalization, it can be said that globalization feeds localization. That is to say, there’s a globalization process that has to occur before you can get down to localizing. But that doesn’t mean that globalization cuts off where localization picks up. Globalization is characterized by on-going big-picture attention and troubleshooting.

1. Business preparation and strategy

An important first step toward going global is choosing your markets. This is not a matter of compiling a wish list. Rather, you need to determine where there will be a market for your product and how realistic it will be for you to meet that demand. You need to conduct real research and analysis. You need to answer big planning questions about where and what and how.For example, if you intend to sell your product in retail outlets, you need to form partnerships with local retailers. You may need local marketing support, and you might have to provide customer support in the local language. These and similar questions have answers, and they have costs; every market is a serious commitment. You can’t put all of your eggs in every basket, so some cost analysis is in order too. Likewise, you’ll need to rank your markets by their importance or profitability for your organization and funnel your efforts in response to that data-driven research.

2. Design and development

Globalization involves designing the ideal UX for your target markets. You can’t safely assume that users in far-flung countries are ready to interact with your product exactly as users do in your original target location and language.So, maybe your software and marketing content just need a decent-quality translation, but more likely, you’re looking at a more comprehensive and intentional strategy. You may need supplemental content, product adaptation, and new workflows to continue meeting the demands of your new markets. Once again, it’s important to be realistic about the time and resource costs as you prioritize next steps. You may find that certain markets will require too much effort and money and that it’s not practical to move on those targets at this time.

3. Creating adaptable standards

Wrapped up in globalization and localization is also internationalization. Software needs to be internationalized before it can be ready for localization. It needs to be able to handle unique conventions through translation that might not have been necessary in the original source language. For example, different countries write out dates differently—month, date, year vs date, month, year. Measurements, sizes, addresses, text direction, text expansion. It pays to anticipate and set up working systems before moving forward with translation and localization into a particular language.


Whereas globalization focuses more on big-picture plans and preparation, localization zooms in on product adaptation for very specific target locales and audiences. Localization is much more tactical because it is operationalizing your global vision. For any given market approach, you need a strategy and a tool set for smooth integration and reliable updates.

1. Close local market attention

Localization puts your global plan in motion and makes your product functional and successful in multiple markets. But this means much more than just translating words from one language to another in order for foreign markets to embrace your product.It’s hard to get around the need for knowledgeable teams dedicated to each of your target locales. These teams become experts in your product, and at the same time, they have to be experts in the local market, the language, the cultural nuances. Don’t kid yourself that you’re going to be able to piece together translation and globalization efforts on the fly and have your product actually take off in new and unique locales. Your product deserves more careful attention than that—and so does your potential global community.

2. Cultural and linguistic adaptation of your product

Localization can be a really inspiring and illuminating adventure—if you’re willing to engage content teams who really know what they’re doing. It isn’t necessary to start from scratch with your content in order for it to be successful for a new audience. Even if you did go that route, you’d still need a sustainable system for translating updates for all target markets as your product evolves. With the right editors, linguists, and reviewers, you can develop rock-solid term bases, style guides, and (over time) translation memories that can pave the way for successful translations and updates that stay true to your brand and your product’s greatest potential. And, of course, linguists who are really tuned in can help you steer localized content in the direction that local audiences really want to go.Just like globalization, localization is not a one-time thing. Both are journeys that keep up with evolving markets around the world. The commitment to going global is an indefinite endeavor. But it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming stretch. There is a way to start smart and then to scale as your localization strategy expands.

3. Functional and quality control through translation

Even with exceptional content localization teams, you need to know that translations are accurate and meaningful for real results. A process of quality management is critical—but more specifically, one that is not going to overwhelm your existing resources and administrative bandwidth. This is where the latest and greatest localization technology comes into play. New-generation tools can not only cover your bases for quality translations in all target markets, but they can also centralize your terminology and style standards, and they can handle the heavy lift of multimedia localization.Localization management platforms automate these processes wherever possible, integrating with your content management systems for end-to-end localization automation. This saves the careful manual attention for where it is most needed. Your linguists are supported in developing the best possible translations for your product’s global release, and you have a transparent look at every step of the way.→ Compare the features that make or break localization technology and strategy

Globalize and Localize Effectively

By establishing a central platform for all your translation and QA tasks, you cut back on the unnecessary time and resource spending. You’d be surprised how little management is needed with a well-oiled localization machine.This strategy allows you more time for other tasks, ensures clear communication, and helps prepare for timely product launches. Real localization momentum is informed by up-to-date globalization strategy. And in turn, good globalization strategy accepts feedback from localization teams and constantly evolves to become a more efficient process overall.

Bureau Works provides localization services with continuous integration, human translation, and quality management processes that can be centralized by our platform to create efficient workflows with minimal management and fast delivery.Contact our team today and begin implementing a strategy for global marketing.

Collaborative translation is a powerful tool for your business if you’re looking to expand to new global markets. By coordinating a team of professionals who work together in real-time, you can quickly deliver high quality translations that resonate with local audiences.

But what if you don't know how to synchronize a large team's efforts? Or are you‌ struggling to find the right software for a well-coordinated translation process? Well, look no further! In this guide, you'll learn all the know-how's of collaborative translation to bring your brand to global audiences.


  1. What is collaborative translation?
  2. Why seamless translation collaboration is important
  3. Best practices for collaborative translation and global market success

What is collaborative translation?

Collaborative translation is when multiple people simultaneously work together to translate content. A collaborative translation process often makes use of specialized tools and software to make sure the translation is quick, accurate, and consistent.

  • Example: Let's say you're a B2B SaaS company looking to translate your marketing materials into a new language to connect with potential clients abroad. Use collaborative translation to bring together translators, developers, and other specialists to translate content into many languages at once.

Your team can use a collaborative translation platform like Redokun to work on projects simultaneously. A coordinated workflow will make sure that your translations use the same terminology and style, improving the quality of the translated product for your target audiences.

Collaborative Translation vs. Crowdsourcing

People often confuse collaborative translation with crowdsourcing and think the two are the same. However, these approaches to translation are different.

Crowdsourcing is when a large group of people contributes translations, often through an open call or invitation by a company or author. Brands can turn to crowdsourcing, community translation, or volunteer translation when they are looking to reduce costs and accelerate the process, especially for large multi-language projects.

In crowdsourced translations, the contributors can be volunteer translators, subject matter experts, or just anonymous individuals online. In other words, you may not know who's worked on the translation and what their qualifications are. It makes crowdsourcing distinct from collaborative translation, where the team would be an established group of professionals you've selected

Why seamless translation collaboration is important

As a busy B2B/B2C marketing manager or project manager, you might ask yourself: Isn't the "divide and conquer" a better strategy when working on a translation or localization project? It seems logical that each project team member, including translators, designers, and editors, works on their tasks separately and step by step.

However, collaborative translation can help your team reap many benefits compared to a traditional approach to translation projects:

Reasons why seamless translation collaboration is important
  • Produce high-quality translations consistently. When your whole team works on a translation project simultaneously on one platform, it's easier to stay in context and keep track of the translation accuracy for every target language. On top of that, your team can conduct agile QA throughout the project cycle.
  • Faster turnaround times. By working together, your team can complete projects faster and more efficiently. Centralization saves a lot of time at every stage of translation. And since your team can work on more than one translation at a time, you can publish your translated content in several new markets at once.
  • Reduced costs. You get to improve efficiency while working with a smaller team of translators. The smaller and more coordinated the team, the less the risk of costly translation errors. It means reduced translation costs and better project budget compliance.
  • Increased flexibility. Collaborative translation allows your team to produce translations into many languages at once and easily make changes to any project document. You can conveniently engage in a feedback loop and guarantee a continuous localization process.
  • Better communication. Collaborative translation effectively brings all members of your localization team together on one platform. It helps you make sure that everyone is working toward the same goals ‌and simplifies overall localization management.

Six best practices for collaborative translation and global market success

To be great at collaborative translation, you need to approach it strategically. Even if you've never used this approach before, you can follow the six steps below to build an efficient collaborative translation workflow. And if you're already familiar with this method, these practices will help you improve the way you collaborate on any translation projects.

Six best practices for collaborative translation for your global business success

1. Work out a detailed project plan

Before you start working on translations together, you need a clear-cut project plan. You should first identify the following items.

  • Project timeline: Define crucial deadlines, project milestones, and the overall project duration.
  • Translation volume and key deliverables: Calculate the general word count, and determine the workload for every language pair if you translate into multiple languages.
  • Project budget: Keep in mind possible added and hidden translation costs.
  • Project team: Define what kind of specialists you need: translators, editors, proofreaders, etc. Will you need to find external translators? Consider all your HR needs in advance.
  • Your approach to the translation process: How much do you want to rely on machine translation? At what point will you edit translated strings? Answer all these questions before you go on.
  • Quality assurance protocol: Establish an efficient QA procedure for all the language pairs you're working on.

It may sound like a handful but the more detailed the plan, the more streamlined the translations will be down the road. Besides, you can already use Redokun to boost this stage of the localization process!

Redokun is a translation management system you can use to automate, coordinate, and optimize your translation processes from content creation to publication.

Redokun simplifies your project planning. In particular, you can use the tool to:

  • Monitor your ongoing translations easily. Keep track of all of your translation files and projects across multiple languages in one space, and check their progress at a glance.
Redokun Document Detail Page
  • Meet deadlines with digest emails. Redokun will send you daily or weekly email digests to update you on the progress of translations. From there, you can initiate one-click reminders to your translators who are potentially falling behind schedule.
  • Making budget planning easier. Redokun has a transparent, scalable pricing structure that will cover exactly the volume of work your project needs.
Redokun is an easy-to-use tool that requires no onboarding. Your team can start using all the system’s features right away. During your project planning stage, you won’t need to factor in a lengthy training period to introduce team members to the tool.

2. Divide tasks and assign responsibilities the smart way

Good collaboration is impossible without a well-planned distribution and organization of roles and tasks. Ensure that every team member is on the same page and understands their respective responsibilities.

For example, the project managers should divide ‌translation tasks among translation team members according to their language proficiency, area of expertise, or subject matter knowledge.
  • On Redokun, you can invite translators to work on different language pairs and content types depending on their skills. All you need to do is enter the translator's email. The software will send them an email invitation and let you know once they've started translating the file.
  • You can also invite several translators to work on one document.
How to invite translators to Redokun

To maximize the efficiency of project management and task division, establish a clear structure of your workflow. Make sure all your pages, files, and folders are well organized and team members know where to find necessary resources for their respective tasks. A centralized, cloud-based storage for all your documents is a must.

  • Redokun is a cloud-based software that makes file management easy. You can create folders and customize permission settings for multiple users for better organization. No more need to look for spreadsheets and lost documents scattered around different digital locations.
  • Don't forget to make the most of the Reporting Dashboard. It shows you the status of the translation project and helps you see how users distribute tasks (for example, what methods they use to translate different content segments).
Redokun Dashboard with translation statistics

3. Enhance the collaborative translation process with clear communication

It's important to have open communication channels among all team members in your translation project, including internal and external translators. For a successful collaboration effort, you need a shared communication space to:

  • Conduct regular check-ins.
  • Discuss translation options and other aspects of the working process.
  • Update and adjust requirements and guidelines.
  • Maintain feedback loops.
It's up to you to choose between email, messengers, or tools like Google Drive or Slack to keep your collboarative operations flowing. However, using multiple channels for different aspects of the project can get messy. It's harder to manage your team and make sure all collaborators are up to date on the ongoing translation tasks.

You can avoid these potential problems by centralizing all your communications and project management. With translation software like Redokun, you can manage, translate, communicate, and collaborate — all in one place.

  • Translate content in context. Your translators or editors can use page previews in Web Editor to understand the context of the text while working on it.
  • Work together in real-time. Use Redokun as a full-scale collaborative translation platform. It enables real-time cooperation among your team members, improving efficiency and reducing communication errors.
  • Use comments, mentions, and notifications to exchange feedback quickly. Redokun's Web Editor is a convenient place to stay in touch and discuss your translation progress every step of the way.
Collaboration feature in Redokun
  • Create a hybrid workflow. Work with your in-house teams or external translators to suit different localization project formats and scalability needs.

4. Use machine translation and translation memory tools

Computer-assisted translation tools are a great addition to human translation. Machine translation (MT) helps your collaborators speed up the localization process by automating translation. Of course, it doesn't have the quality of a human professional translation — it’s more like a helping hand that's always there to facilitate the translation of complex phrases or new terms.

  • Redokun is integrated with two Machine Translation tools: Google Translate and DeepL. Translation suggestions by these two tools pop up right below where the translator should key in the translation, as shown here.

To enhance collaboration even further, consider using translation memory tools. They ensure consistency and save translation software users a lot of time.

Translation memory (TM) is a translation technology that stores previously translated sentences or phrases as segments and creates a unique database for your localization projects. You can reuse your translation to increase efficiency and consistency in ongoing and future translations.

With Redokun as your collaborative translation platform, you can leverage TM to:

  • Consistently translate any repeated word, phrase, or sentence across different language pairs and documents. It's especially important for translating technical terms, marketing slogans, CTAs, and other catchphrases. Translation memory helps you stay consistent in your marketing messaging.
  • Pre-translate your entire documents. Combine TM matches from your previous translations with Machine Translation to get a fully pre-translated document even before your team gets to work.
  • Manage your translation memory database. Import and customize your TM database to further improve translation quality and consistency.
”The speed of translation is quite impressive in that it doesn’t take [much time], maybe a couple of minutes when you translate from English to eight markets. I think that’s what I’m most impressed by.”

Read more about how Kenni and the marketing team at Rockfon increased their translation productivity by 70% using translation memories and other Redokun features

5. Use glossaries and style guides

Glossaries and style guides are valuable resources your team can use for reliable reference.

A glossary is a list of terms and their corresponding translations that are specific to a company or industry.

A style guide outlines the preferred tone, voice, and style for a company's marketing materials across markets and languages.

Your collaborators can refer to these resources when they’re not sure about a translation. For example is when they're deciding how to translate a company abbreviation, whether to the Oxford comma, or choosing the right tone to address customers, etc. No more ambiguity about linguistic, stylistic, and cultural aspects of your translations.

  • Use Redokun's glossary feature to create a glossary and style guide that outlines rules for spelling, grammar, punctuation, terminology, and tone specific to your project.
Redokun glossary feature preview

6. Continuously review and revise

A key benefit of a collaborative translation platform is the ability to review and revise translations in an agile and efficient manner. By involving multiple specialists in the process of editing and QA, you can guarantee accuracy and consistency in the translated content at every stage of the project.

To implement effective review and revision procedures in your collaborative translation projects, it is important to:

  • Plan for review and revision in advance. Identify who will be responsible, set the timeline, and use specific tools.
  • Consider involving in-country reviewers who are familiar with the local market and culture to ensure that the translations are accurate and appropriate for the target audience.
  • Perform regular QA checks. They should include consistency in terminology and formatting, and verify that the translations are free from grammatical errors and typos.
Pro-tip: Ever experienced the headache of having to update a translation that’s already 70% done when there is a last-minute change to the source document?

With Redokun’s revision feature, you don’t have to spend hours poring over Excel sheets and comparing files to spot the places where new words have been added or sentences have been changed. Just upload the latest document version and the system will identify new text that needs translating — saving your team’s time and effort while keeping previous translations intact.


Collaborative translation is an excellent approach if you want to improve the consistency of your translations, reduce costs, and establish a strong presence in global markets.

The key to seamless collaboration is a combination of careful planning, role distribution, agile QA, and smart use of translation software.

Make Redokun part of your collaborative translation efforts and enhance the pace of your global business growth‌. Start your 14-day free trial today and benefit from a quicker and more streamlined translation workflow.

Till next time,


Gabriel Fairman
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