Localization is one of those words that don’t mean anything anymore. To outsiders, it means too little. To insiders, it means too much.
The canonical definition is easy enough: it’s a broader way of looking at translation in the context of internationalizing a brand, it’s products and successfully reaching it’s consumer base.
It includes or at least touches on process management, knowledge management, linguistics, cultural sensitivity, and coding, to name a few.
Though we’ve been doing localization since the 70’s in some way or form, it’s far from a solved problem.
The first thing leaders misunderstand about localization is that they treat as a cost as opposed to a revenue generator.
Well done localization will drive more consumers. Period.
Poorly done localization will drive customers away. It’s that simple.
But in most orgs, localization is the aftermath. Something hidden in the basement of product, operations, Marcom or some more organizationally relevant department.
The second thing people misunderstand in localization is that it’s all about process elegance and simplicity.
People will often come up with processes that are built on complexity and exceptions which makes localization incredibly challenging to manage and run.
Localization requires simplicity and elegance. Processes that are easy to understand, replicate and oversee.
The third thing people misunderstand about localization is that it’s not just about language.
That’s actually a small component of localization.
Localization is about organizational efficiency, people, and process management.
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