Localization Services: Ultimate Guide for Business Growth

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Global trade—especially over the internet—is booming. Smart business owners know that if they want to connect with new markets, now is the time to reach out.

Of course, it’s not as simple as just opening up overseas shipping channels. If you want to make a genuine splash in new markets, you’ll have to recreate your business in every locale you enter—localization services are the key to making that happen.

Unfortunately, a lot of business owners make the mistake of underestimating the scope of such a strategy. Localization involves much more than simple translation or website updates; it’s a comprehensive program that requires ongoing, consistent management.

Managing Total Localization Services for Businesses

Localization is the process of getting your business—and all its content—ready for a new market. Companies have many factors to consider, but three major categories will require a keen focus: content, marketing, and products.

Content

Content is an extensive category for any business. It covers everything from internal communications with workers to customer service scripts, manuals, and other collateral materials. Content localization services for enterprises need to be able to manage a variety of mediums and subjects, including providing support for video and audio files in addition to text-based content.
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Marketing

Marketing needs to be a top priority when managing a presence in international locations. It’s the differentiating factor that will draw individuals to your product or service, so it needs to mesh with their cultures. Good marketing translation services don’t just translate your words; they update your intent to engage new users and convert them to clients.
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Products

Product localization services are essential if you want users in the new market to use your software, app, or offline product. However, there is a significant challenge here as translation happens independently of the code that manages your product. As a result, when it’s re-uploaded in the new language, it breaks and damages the user experience.
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These three broad areas of focus require careful consideration in any localization strategy. If not, you may fail to engage potential clients, make your content challenging to navigate, or disappoint customers with your products. Also, a poor localization effort could damage your company culture by making employees in secondary markets feel less important. By focusing on your user experience, you can ensure better management of all three localization segments.

Building a Better User Experience

When it comes to transferring the user experience to a new market, many companies fall flat, treating their secondary languages as an afterthought and failing to provide equal opportunities to their new users.

For example, let’s say a new user who speaks Spanish wants the entire suite of software products in their native language, but they don’t want to hunt down the content they need within an English version of the product. Streamlined software localization services will help provide that experience.

The better user experience should also apply to your internal workers. Corporate communications and documents should default to each employee’s preferred language, and onboarding information and training programs must fit within each of their cultures while still making them feel like part of the organization. Both document and elearning localization services can also help to support recruiting efforts in international locations.

eLearning

eLearning localization entails translating and adjusting training content for a specific culture and language. eLearning localization is a necessary component of any international employee training program. While businesses and economies become increasingly globalized, businesses need personnel all over the world to execute business operations. From technical issues to customer care, this training means creating a suite of materials in their native language that customizes your company culture, values, and expectations.
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Software

Software localization is the process of modifying user experience to meet the end user in their language and culture. Software localization has a number of advantages such as building a wider reach, generating higher user engagement, and developing a global presence. Reaping these benefits comes from making a long term commitment to successful localization, approaching the process with flexibility, and strategically setting goal markers and deadlines to meet realistic expectations.
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Application

App localization is an ongoing project to change and refine an application to appeal to a culturally and linguistically specific target market. There are a number of challenges that come with app localization including proper QA, juggling multiple app stores, and identifying a repeatable process for version updates. App localization comes with a number or rewards including new market acquisitions, higher customer satisfaction, and an improved conversion rate.
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Websites

Website localization is one of the most ROI beneficial expansions you could pursue. Through strategic targeting and a focused audience a website can spread messaging on products and services to significantly larger audiences. Website messaging is constantly being updated so setting up for success through the proper integrations and connectors is vital. By taking a total approach to complete website translation by supporting a continuous process allows for replication with other languages, cleaner workflows, and speedier delivery.
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It’s essential to consider a few different aspects that will impact internal and external users’ experiences:

  • Variables: Establishing the correct variables in the code will ensure that times, dates, and currencies always fit the local market.
    Color scheme: Not all colors resonate in cultures the same way. Red may feel aggressive on an American website, but in many Asian countries, it’s considered a sign of good luck and used heavily.
  • Color scheme: Not all colors resonate in cultures the same way. Red may feel aggressive on an American website, but in many Asian countries, it’s considered a sign of good luck and used heavily.
  • Corporate lexicons: Every company has its own language, whether it’s branded terms, preferred vernacular, or technical jargon. This terminology requires mapping to similar words in other languages.
  • Cultural fit: Sometimes, translated content doesn’t spark the same emotional reaction in internal and external communications. Word-for-word translation tends to come off as very formal. It’s vital to have an in-country reviewer take a look to determine a cultural match.
  • Formatting: Building a buffer into text boxes will ensure the support of languages where text expands. This strategy helps to prevent abnormal line breaks, widows, and orphans—aka awkward paragraph breaks—on the page.
  • Code integrity: Translation may include the use of new characters that are misread as code. To combat this, you should run any content through machine translation first to see where the code issues may occur during localization.
  • Multimedia support: Many businesses focus strictly on text content, overlooking their video and audio files’ needs. Your foreign language users should be able to enjoy these mediums as well, whether you support them through voice-overs or subtitles.

The right firm will help you prepare for all of these potential content issues. They won’t just translate content; they’ll use preview screens, QA processes, and other tools to ensure the user experience remains high in every market.

Localization Tools to Consider

Because localization is such a broad process, you’ll need a lot more than simple translation services. Ideally, you’ll want to use a series of collaborative tools that support end-to-end localization services.

Rest API

Rest API is an interactive, easy-to-use option for working with a localization platform. It allows the user to set jobs, establish crawlers for sites, and automate uploads with ease.

Command-Line Interfaces (CLI)

Command-line interfaces are the best tools for developers who want to manage the localization process. They can customize their commands and programs for all necessary tasks to update content.

Connectors

Connectors are a method of attaching one program to another, like attaching the translation platform to the content management system. This automates uploading, supports reporting, and helps leaders keep an eye on their ROI.

Machine Translation

Machine translation can be a valuable tool for controlling costs and testing strategies. The right program will slowly learn the language of a corporation and use it to make better, more accurate text predictions.

Encryption

Many translation programs lack the security needed to keep business documents safe. A collaborative platform with automatic encryption adds a layer of confidentiality and keeps information out of the hands of bad actors.

Compliance

Often, business documents require specific regulatory controls to ensure appropriate information use. In some cases, compliance automation can provide enforced protocols and protect information.

Access Control

Many localization programs depend on email to send documents back and forth, but this approach offers excessive access. Good programs allow leaders to limit who can open files based on credentials or location.

IP Tracking

IP tracking is an everyday staple of many programs given leaders’ desire to monitor the use of their data. Immutable IP logs allow leaders to see where information is accessed and when.

Reporting

A localization platform can help business leaders decide on better investment regions when combined with the proper reporting templates and metrics—the more granular the reporting, the better.

AI-Based Assignments

Time is often wasted when finding and vetting linguists. Using a program that leverages the prior performance metrics of linguists and their specific skill sets to match them to jobs helps streamline the hiring process.

Translation Memory

Translation memories support machine translation and other computer-aided linguistic programs. Ideally, the company should offer a buildable and portable TM to provide better results with every single job.

Real-Time Platforms

Project management is a significant part of localization, but it can be challenging to juggle many different tasks. A collaborative platform helps managers check on projects’ work statuses in real-time and communicate with linguists.

The right localization management platform can simplify the entire process by offering an all-inclusive place to manage translation, review results, and control uploading. This strategy is vital regardless of whether a leader chooses to take a structured approach or embrace continuous localization.

Structured vs. Continuous Localization

There are two prevailing strategies when it comes to localization. The first is a structured approach where all tasks happen manually, and the second leverages automation to submit and upload documents without the need for human intervention. Both have their negative and positive aspects:

Structured

Pros

  • Control: The structured approach where all uploads are manually performed provides significant control over every step.
  • Upfront cost: It’s much less costly to implement an initial structured program since costs are piecemealed.
  • Flexibility: When using manual methods, it’s easy to change direction in the midst of a project. Adding a new language is as simple as assigning a new job.

Cons

  • Time: Manual management is a significant, long-term time investment, often requiring an entire localization team.
  • Out-of-date content: As the project manager must monitor origin content manually, it’s challenging to consistently keep it up to date.
  • Long-term costs: As the program grows into new markets, it can be incredibly challenging to manage it without skilled workers’ assistance. This can cause scope and cost creep.

Continuous

Pros

  • Consistent updates: A continuous approach automatically triggers jobs and uploads, so content is always up to date.
  • Simplified management: Many tasks, usually manual—like monitoring content for changes and assigning jobs—happen automatically.
  • Long-term savings: A continuous program requires less personnel to manage, resulting in long-term savings.

Cons

  • Limited control: Automation means many jobs are triggered without oversight, leaving the project manager with limited control over the process.
  • Error risk: A small problem in original content will filter through all subsequent languages, creating a much bigger issue.
  • Upfront time investment: It takes much more time to get a project ready for a continuous approach due to all the engines, job triggers, and connections required.

Choosing between these two types will depend on the resources you have available. However, there is a third option—a hybrid continuous approach.

This approach allows for the oversight of a structured strategy while establishing the seamless plans of a continuous one. Localization management platforms connect all the managers directly to their linguists for clear oversight; jobs are triggered based on changes and documents are uploaded automatically, though the manager always has the opportunity to resolve problems before the content goes live.

Many firms that provide localization services only offer either a structured or continuous approach without a hybrid strategy. However, this “either-or” solution might not be the best if you’re looking for total end-to-end management for your business. The hybrid localization process is far more efficient in driving long-term business growth, which should always be the ultimate goal when choosing localization services.

Maximizing your ROI involves leveraging automation and various industry-tested tools to provide the best experience for internal and external users. You can control the total content ecosystem and enter new markets far more efficiently with such a hybrid strategy. If you’re considering an expansion into new markets, a technology-driven approach that leverages hybrid continuous localization is your best possible option.

Bureau Works offers localization services for businesses through a hybrid approach that fully manages the entire content ecosystem. Reach out below to get more information about our localization offerings.

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