There are basically two ways to put localization into play for your company:
1. You could build your strategy, processes, and resources from scratch and then let that be your big, primary focus for years to come as you stretch farther out into global markets.
2. You could step into a system that is already tested and already evolving with the real-time demands of localization. And then, because of the automation and quality assurance that are possible in this system, your focus in the years to come will be on growing and innovating your product for this exponential market you now influence around the world.
The goal may be the same for businesses as they step onto one of these two paths, but the results are likely to be very different. It’s our goal now to help you anticipate the two distinct potentials before you set yours in motion so you can avoid as many obstacles—and realize as many advantages—as possible. The fundamental difference between these two approaches will be a content localization management system. Does your company need this level of support?
Bypass Obstacles with Content Localization Management Systems
It’s better to anticipate the complications you might run into with localization ahead of time than to be surprised and set back or to get buried in unexpected costs down the road. The good news is that there are tools to help you overcome many of these common obstacles. But content localization management systems work best when you integrate them with your localization strategy from the start. So, the sooner you take a step back to consider the challenges ahead, the better.
Poor Visibility of Localization Spending
Without a centralized tracking system, as you head into localization projects, you will quickly lose track of how much you’re spending, who’s spending it, and exactly what you’re investing in. This lack of transparency becomes particularly risky when you are outsourcing multiple translation tasks. The number of vendors can add up fast, as can the number of open projects needed to keep translations up to date for every target market.
→ Alternatively, a localization management platform operates on transparent record keeping to improve the quality of translations and to streamline the systems that tie your overall strategy together. If you choose an end-to-end localization partner that offers vetted translators ready to match with your translation projects, you’re looking at a single vendor relationship. This is one vendor to hold accountable and one cost source to track.
When you have multiple translation vendors or unfamiliar translators for your content, you’re likely to encounter inconsistent translations that undermine your product’s integrity. Different vendors operate with their own isolated memory databases. While these systems may offer a degree of quality improvement with repeat translations, diverse vendors are not leveraging each other’s knowledge base. They are also operating with unique term guidelines. And you’re bound to receive a huge range of style and terminology because there is no single repository.
→ Alternatively, with a centralized and forward-thinking system, you can actually expect consistency from your translations and for brand’s reputation around the world. An integrated localization management platform can consolidate translation memory and term bases as it learns from the success of projects companywide. You’re not missing out on the opportunity to grow the integrity and efficiency of the localization process itself.
Out-of-Reach Quality Assurance
A daunting complication of localization is when you simply don’t know whether a translation is any good. Unless you actually speak the language and understand it within the context of the target locale in question, you’re crossing your fingers and hoping a translation is everything you need it to be. In other words, the upside-down quality assurance test involves waiting to see if any users complain.
→ Alternatively, the benefit of an integrated localization service is that you can see the change happening and how it’s performing. A unique level of transparency and quality management is possible with a centralized platform where all edits to translations are recorded and categorized. This kind of system accumulates data over time regarding the performance of translators and translator-editor teams. If issues come up for your team to address, you actually have data to drill into to facilitate real, objective conversations and to identify clear actions for improvement. And your localization endeavors will not lose momentum because these seeming problems become opportunities to establish greater resilience in the system.
Complicated and Time-Consuming Review
The obvious response to our quality assurance conundrum above is to have in-market reviewers you trust sign off on all translations. But getting these markets to sign off on things can be an excessive time suck. And this is especially true the larger your enterprise and the wider your international reach. In a lot of cases, people are tasked with this sideline responsibility of reviewing translations, but it gets repeatedly set aside for their primary roles. Plus, they’re juggling approvals through email or on various spreadsheets. It becomes justifiably frustrating for everyone involved.
→ Alternatively, a localization management system eliminates the time-wasting frustrations. It allows reviewers to do everything in one place and with the resources they need at hand. They simply log in when notified of an update pending review. They look at a PDF file already translated and desktop published. Likewise, they can easily review media files, videos, voice-overs, and subtitles. And they can collaborate on terminology bases and style guides within the same integrated system to improve translation consistency and streamline their own responsibilities over time.
Choose Your Own Localization Adventure
Does your company need a content localization management system? The better question may be: why would any company choose the path of greatest resistance?
The best comprehensive localization platforms are scalable. They are built to adapt to the size of your enterprise and the scope of your localization needs. But, just as importantly, they are built to grow with your company as localization efforts take your content around the world. The goal is to grow, after all.
Growing pains are a given, but they don’t have to stop you in your tracks. As you map out your localization journey, take advantage of the resources that let you skip right past the avoidable obstacles. Let the growing pains be those that actually enrich your creative process and promote your company’s lasting resilience.
Bureau Works is a translation platform with integrated services that make managing localization projects easier, more organized, and radically transparent. To find out how Bureau Works can help you realize your localization goals, contact our team.
Written by Henrique Cabral
Henrique is a partner at Bureau Works as well as the CTO. He also speaks code and loves racing cars.