Best Practices

Outsourcing Localization: ROI Considerations

There’s no need to go out of your way to reinvent the wheel. By outsourcing your localization to an expert partner, you have the opportunity to reduce administrative overhead, increase localization ROI, and scale your localization process.
Gabriel Fairman
2 min
Table of Contents

There’s no need to go out of your way to reinvent the wheel. By outsourcing your localization to an expert partner, you have the opportunity to reduce administrative overhead, increase localization ROI, and scale your localization process effortlessly into broader international markets.

Costs Associated with In-House Localization

With a decentralized approach to localization contracting and asset management, your employees are spending countless hours on needless file shuffling and other redundant actions. With in-house localization efforts, it’s common for a project manager to be tracking content across too many spreadsheets for their enterprise’s international markets.

This busy work likely wasn’t built into the job description to begin with, so it’s taking them away from the real work—the progress. Meanwhile, developers may be spending time catching up if decentralized localization tools are impeding your product’s functionality.When you have in-house linguists, it’s often “feast or famine”: sometimes they have too many translations to handle, and sometimes they have none. In other scenarios, bilingual team members are expected to share their time and attention between their primary role and translations when the need arises. None of the above are sustainable situations.

Eventually, you’re going to outgrow your in-house translation capacity.

In addition to the human resource burden of in-house localization, enterprises frequently encounter other associated costs. These can include:

  • Delays in product releases. If your system can’t keep up with translations and frequent iterations, localization could slow down your whole operation. When developers are having to interrupt their own progress to manage updates, they’re carrying the additional weight of localization without the resources or the job description to sustain it.
  • Retranslation of content. Not all enterprises have the tools they need to efficiently localize content. Without basic tools such as translation memories and term bases to ensure efficiency and consistency, your team could end up duplicating translations and wasting valuable time.
  • Potential brand damage. In-house operations rarely have a full team of translators and reviewers for every target language, which can lead to poor-quality content going to production and causing potential damage to your brand. This is the number one reason companies finally pull the trigger and decide to outsource their localization.
  • Regulatory compliance issues. In regulated industries, poorly localized content can produce costly legal and regulatory problems. Your in-house localization team might think they’re doing everything right, but a partner who knows the industry could help you be even more mindful of compliance issues around intellectual property, trademarks, and accessibility to avoid unnecessary costs.

Outsourcing Localization Generates a Higher ROI

By outsourcing to a comprehensive localization partner, you’ll be paying to leverage their technology and expertise. But you’ll be saving irreplaceable human resources and the costs of avoidable disasters while realizing the rewards of localization done right. Regardless of how the dollars and cents shake out upfront, outsourcing to the experts will increase your localization ROI.The experts know what works and what doesn’t.

The best localization service providers operate on quality paradigms established from years of experience and valuable lessons learned. You’ll never outgrow a good LSP because they are ready to scale to meet your expanding need for translators, quality management, and end-to-end localization. When a localization partner is with you for the long haul, they get to know your product, your brand, and your goals. Hence, they will be able to offer the best advice and solutions for your bottom line.Plus, the best localization platforms can match your development speeds.

While your in-house team might struggle to keep up, a cohesive platform maintains continuous localization no matter how frequently you update. In the past, you might have struggled to shave any time off your in-house localization process. But by using a powerful localization platform, you can achieve that goal instantly. In fact, there’s no need to manage the process, so you can direct your attention where it matters more. No more spreadsheets, emails, or file uploads.

How to Recognize When a Localization Partner Is On Your Side

Now it’s time to talk about hidden fees. Not all language service providers (LSPs) follow the same best practices—and not all are operating honestly. Many localization companies claim to offer their technology and services at a flat yearly fee. But if you go over their arbitrary translation limit, some will slap on an extra $100,000 in fees. These companies don’t have your ROI in mind.Here’s how to evaluate whether an LSP is operating in your best interest:

Look Behind the Curtain

The standard LSP model involves taking your content and outsourcing it (again) to translation vendors around the world. This creates a convenient separation between you and the person who’s translating your content—convenient for the LSP, that is, because you can’t have eyes on the process and quality management. Your content may be in the hands of the first available translator without any consideration for their ability to localize your content consistently and authentically. It’s true that complex infrastructure is expensive, and many LSPs will happily forward that cost on to their enterprise clients.→ In contrast, an ROI-focused partner will offer radical transparency. They’ll share your goal of simplifying the localization process and will follow through by letting you see behind the curtain to understand how their business really works.

Question the Tech They’re Pushing

Many localization companies will overload you with unnecessary tech because it appears flashy at the outset. It’s expensive and time-consuming to implement more technology than you need. Question an LSP that proposes solutions before stopping to take a close look at your product, your target markets, your preferred workflow. Don’t pay for what you don’t need. If you’re working with a partner who’s sensitive to ROI, they’re going to help you build your localization strategy step by step. They’re definitely not going to apply tech simply because it’s cool. They’re going to give you good advice on the sweet spots where technology can simplify the overall management of your global efforts. They’ll customize your integrations because a seamless system is built as a direct reflection of your product and your goals.

Maximizing Your Localization ROI

The cost-benefit analysis of outsourcing your localization is clear. With a solid localization platform backed by an experienced and ROI-focused partner, you will save time and money on a strategy built for your company’s success. The problem is that most of the language services industry is operating under an outdated paradigm. Your challenge is to identify the LSPs that are worth their salt. Look for a powerful centralized localization platform that is built on transparency and accountability.

Gabriel Fairman
Founder and CEO of Bureau Works, Gabriel Fairman is the father of three and a technologist at heart. Raised in a family that spoke three languages and having picked up another three over the course of his life, he has always been fascinated with the role language plays in identity and the creation of meaning. Gabriel loves to cook, play the guitar, tennis, soccer, and ski. As far as work goes, he enjoys being at the forefront of innovation and mobilizing people and teams together toward a mission. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Gabriel was honored with the 2023 Innovator of the Year Award at LocWorld Silicon Valley.
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