Congratulations on having the foresight to shop around for software localization tools early. The time you spend now will come back to you many times over in time saved—by avoiding big problems, delays, and needless steps.
We suggest you take the time now to get to know several language service providers (LSPs) and explore what your localization process should look like. As an aid in your quest for the right LSP, we have prepared some questions to help you identify the right tools and services you need.
What to Look for in Software Localization Tools
Software localization is a continuous process that involves diverse tasks in motion at various stages of completion at the same time. With those simultaneous tasks and surrounding issues in mind, we’ve lined up some important questions to determine whether LSPs measure up to the challenges. Don’t be shy about asking these questions directly; LSPs that are ready to meet your needs should have no qualms about answering transparently.
1. Are you set up for end-to-end automation?
The advantages of automation are hard to overstate. A comprehensive localization management platform will save your team immeasurable time by minimizing or eliminating the uploading, downloading, formatting, reformatting, emailing, and forwarding that are traditionally associated with translation projects. Instead, integrations automate updates to and from your product. But is the LSP you’re considering able to support the necessary integrations for your product and your workflow? Ask ‘em.
2. How do you vet translators and assign the right ones to the right jobs?
Don’t be surprised if sales reps hesitate or evade this question. One of the quirks of many translation vendors is that they strongly prefer to operate inside of a black box so they don’t have to reveal their quality standards and budgetary operations. But don’t be dissuaded from digging deeper. There is no standup reason not to answer the question.
It’s natural that you’re concerned about the qualifications of the translators who will work on your content. It brings up another important issue of transparency: translators whose identities are secret can’t ask requesters, developers, editors, and each other clarifying questions that might make or break content quality. Direct collaboration with your translators is a valuable opportunity. So, be on the lookout for vendors that are more likely to send your translation work out to a third party. Not to mention, each layer of that unnecessary web is an additional markup of the price.
3. How do you maintain a single source of truth for teams?
The single source of truth (SSOT) can include your translation memories, term bases, style guides, and other branding and linguistic reference materials. These assets ensure uniformity and correct translation. They need to be accessible to all linguists on the project, and they require terminology management and maintenance as living documents that continue to evolve. An insufficient SSOT or insufficient updates mean that mistakes repeat themselves, time and money get wasted, customers may even get turned off.
4. Can you ensure quality through a data-driven approach?
Quality assurance demands far more than a single step in content review. In fact, you can apply quality management to translations, to the workflow itself, and to individual contributions. Your localization platform can be the biggest QA resource you have.
Some platforms can provide you with data to give you easy insights into the efficiency of the system as a whole. With adequate reporting, you can use the data to identify weak spots where efficiency lags, compare the performances of various markets, and look at the spending of departments. This, in turn, can lead to lower costs and more streamlined workflows. It can help you to manage better while actually managing much less.
5. How easy is it to understand your pricing? How will our price change as our projects scale?
Localization can be tremendously expensive, so keeping a close watch on the purse strings is in your best interests. Advanced market research to select languages is an essential step in your planning and budgeting, of course, and your LSP should work with you to create a fiscally workable localization strategy.
You will want your localization services to grow as your product grows, but this implies like-minded collaboration. Be on the lookout for pitfalls such as tiered pricing, which punishes you for success when you reach your cutoff point and the price of the same services suddenly skyrockets. Another red flag is pricing that seems ad-libbed. If the LSP does not have an established pricing policy but determines a price for every client individually, you are likely to overpay sooner or later.
Find the Right LSP with the Tools You Need
While you are getting to know LSPs, pay attention to both their software localization tools and their attitudes. Adequate technology is a necessity, but so is an LSP that will genuinely partner with you to use that technology for excellent localization service. Your LSP will have experience and expert knowledge that you can use, and they should be happy to provide it.
Bureau Works’ automated, centralized platform provides translation and localization services tailored to your needs and supported by a staff of highly trained localization experts and translators. Contact our team today to find out what we can do to make your software localization a success.