When launching your startup, you have both immediate and long-term goals before you. Chances are very good that localization will play a part now and into the future. Automating and outsourcing l10n services right away opens the doors to growth. When localization can keep up with you, you can maintain the kind of growth that localization makes possible. It’s a delicate cycle full of infinite opportunities. Finding a top-notch language services provider (LSP) will make it possible to lay a robust framework for localization strategy, technology, and long-term partnership.
What Do You Want from a L10n Services Provider?
There are plenty of technical details to wrangle, but the big picture is that you want efficient quality. The right l10n partner will be committed to both efficiency and quality as they help you develop a localization strategy with long-term technology solutions to back it up. The first step is to choose a localizer.
You could say that the best localization strategy is the one that takes care of itself so that you can keep doing what you already do. When a l10n services provider can get it done without active management from your company, the savings in time and resources help you to truly level up.
Project managers are free to start thinking about the strategic challenges the company faces in the global sphere, rather than concerning themselves with logistical issues that can otherwise be automated away. Thus, while an automated l10n services provider may not do your thinking for you, it can free up your thinkers to focus where it counts.
Of course, not all LSPs out there are going to be committed to putting your localization strategy first. You need to vet your options upfront and make sure there is quality management in place for the long haul.
For startups, the real goal is to identify problems that stand in the way of your objectives, to fix them, and to move on to the next thing. You don’t have the luxury of continuing to iterate on one particular problem. It’d be better if it were solved yesterday. And from a startup’s perspective, localization is important, but it’s just one thing.
You need a localization solution that can take care of itself and that is reliably scalable. The latest localization technology opens wide the global possibilities. You need to work with a partner that can commit to technical power and the necessary support to back it up. If a provider gives you lots of technology but it’s not actually relevant to your product—or lots of tech and no help using it—you won’t be positioned for success. Lots of attention from a boutique localizer with weak technology behind it isn’t any better. You need an LSP with the resources and the experience to integrate and automate your localization process.
Translation Quality and Transparency
Of course, a primary component of l10n services is translation, and there is often an antiquated black box mentality attached to the delivery of translations. Many LSPs handle translations from behind a curtain, so you don’t know who is involved. In fact, it’s common for localization companies to farm out their translation work to additional vendors, so they might not even know themselves who is involved.
There are several problems with this practice. This lack of transparency makes it harder for you to evaluate the work. You have no idea where it came from or whether the translators are qualified. Besides, you may not be able to recognize problems or overall poor-quality work if you don’t speak the language in question. You’ve got to be able to trust someone to have your back.
A larger issue with the black box approach to translation is that it benefits the middleman to a disproportionate degree. The practices that keep translators at a distance is not for their own good or for yours. Isolated from the market, translators are easily pressured into working for low wages. Those who refuse to work in those conditions must seek work elsewhere. As a result, when you work with a big box l10n service, you cannot be confident in the quality of the work you receive. You may even be contributing to an exploitative labor system that benefits these companies at the expense of linguists and at the expense of your content quality.
Startups are usually lean organizations full of very busy people. Integrating automation into your localization process can provide quick and long-lasting value. Consider carefully how potential localization partners will contribute to your efficient workflows and scalability. For example, if you can automate assignments to the translators and then automate the content’s trip back, you don’t have to go out of your way every time something new is added to the ecosystem. It just runs, and it comes back. This can continue for a long time, growing as your content and global reach expands. While localization goes on with minimal management, you can keep empowering your internal talents to innovate and grow. Keep developing. Keep building on marketing strategies. And automated localization efforts hum along in the background with a careful eye on your evolving brand identity.
But choose carefully. L10n service providers like to work on long contracts. Don’t get stuck in a regrettable marriage that is inconvenient or expensive to get out of. Look for transparency. Look for an LSP that cares about your success and is willing to prove it.
Finding the Right L10n Services for You
Expert l10n and automation can have a profound effect on your business. For too long, the localization industry has been stuck in outdated paradigms and parasitic relationships. From within that swamp, everyone is denied opportunities for growth—opportunities to explore their potential and to reimagine global expansion.
It is possible to envision a different kind of reality, and we’re encouraging people to be brave enough to tap into new potentials through software. Technology can do much more than what our industry has expected of it.
Bureau Works provides continuous automated localization that includes translation, quality assurance, and technical support. We provide these services through a radically transparent, new-generation platform, ensuring the prompt delivery of high-quality work. Contact our team to find out how you can begin comprehensive global content marketing.
Written by Luciana Passos
Luciana is Bureau Work’s COO. She is known as a gap bridger and a heart follower.
July 9, 2019