First-Rate Product Localization Services

New market entry with design-focused product localization

When it comes to content localization services, context is king. To translate your content in the most accurate way possible, your linguists need to understand why they’re updating it. The product translation process is design-driven, after all. The ways in which your content is displayed and guides consumers are vital parts of the user experience. Any company offering to localize your project for new markets needs to ensure your design works just as well for new users as it does for your existing ones.

Unfortunately, many companies focus strictly on translating strings of text without giving linguists much insight into the product itself. Without context, your design won’t convert to the new market, even if your content does. The smart solution is to work with a company that cares just as much about your user experience as they do your content translation.

The Importance of Context and Key Sensitivity

Keys are the metatags around your text. They are vital because words can mean different things in different contexts. Take the word home, for example. In an app, it can mean the home screen or the user’s home address. A key will tell the software where that word should and shouldn’t apply. Keys will mainly impact two parties in your localization project—linguists and coders.

Coders
Linguists
Coders use keys to ensure the software works the way it is intended to, and that when someone clicks on a particular image or button, they go where they expect to go.
Keys provide linguists with the context they need to translate a given phrase or word. The context tells them when to replicate a word and in which situations a replacement may be required.

Keys should be in place from the beginning of the project, as it only gets harder to add them as you add languages. By first establishing keys in English, you can map out additional keys as you add other languages and eliminate confusion. Of course, keys aren’t the only thing that the team will need to localize a product; ideally, they’ll have intimate knowledge of the product itself.

Building a Sustainable Product Globalization Strategy
Aligning Linguists to the Content

Your linguists need an understanding of your product not just from a string perspective, but from a design one as well. Consider an app like LinkedIn that most professionals use. Chances are, if you told a Japanese linguist to translate that app, they’d be able to make better string translation-related decisions because they understand the app. They’ve worked with it before and know where everything goes, so they can preserve the user experience as they’re translating the product.

Ensure linguists are aligned to product localization content

However, it’s not always possible to employ a linguist who is familiar with your product. This is especially true if you’re a domestic start-up looking to expand into new markets. In this case, consider investing in streamlining the process. Pay for linguists to use and study the app for eight hours or so to allow them to get a complete understanding of your product. This upfront investment will continuously pay off, as your translations will now be contextualized based on the experience gained from your paid study.

A Checklist for Integrating Localization Testing
Scaling the Product Localization Project

Scaling your project involves setting the timeline for when you roll out to new markets. Are you planning on adding several languages at the same time, or are you going to stagger your releases and focus on a single market each time? The answer to this question matters because it will figure into your update plans. Any product will require regular updates as your source text changes. When it comes time to manage that, you’ll have to consider one of three options.

Continuous
Structured
Hybrid
As soon as a change occurs in English, jobs are immediately triggered in other languages. They are completed, approved, and uploaded rapidly. This streamlined option is always up to date, but it is also risky. A small error in the system can filter into other languages without anyone noticing. The lack of oversight could have catastrophic potential.
Structured updates follow a strict schedule where updates are rolled out based on a specific timetable. This allows for ample oversight of the process, but it's also complicated and time-consuming. Updates can take some time to filter into other languages, meaning that some content will be temporarily outdated.
A hybrid model combines the oversight of a structured process with the seamless implementation of continuous. While jobs are triggered automatically, they occur on a localization platform that allows for the real-time review of tasks. This will enable managers to catch mistakes early on while limiting the steps needed to update products. While this is the ideal solution, it's not one that's readily available from every company.

When it comes to scaling your program, it’s important to remember that solutions can’t be incremental. Even the most straightforward task adds time that can result in wasted hours and efforts. This creates opportunity costs that can limit the ROI of your project.

Establishing a Product Localization Process Scalable Product Translation Services
Maximizing the ROI by Focusing on Opportunity Costs
Maximize product localization ROI through weighing opportunity costs

Here is a scenario we see very often in localization: A start-up company decides they want to expand into a new market, and they just happen to have a person in their office who speaks the market’s language. Instead of seeking an outside linguist, they ask that internal worker to “tweak” their content to ensure it’s ready for the new market. They think they’re saving money, but really, they wind up losing it (and potentially more) indirectly.

Instead of doing the job they were hired for, this individual suddenly becomes responsible for managing the localization project. This will take a lot of the employee’s time, energy, and resources to manage effectively, so It is very likely they will not be able to get to all tasks in a timely manner, leading to those uncompleted tasks being filtered down to someone else. This domino effect results in inefficiencies and lost revenue potential. While cutting corners may work in the short-term, it just doesn’t scale in the long-term.

Using the UX as a Quality Guide

When it comes to product localization, your UX should be your quality guide for content review. While the translation may be technically correct, if it doesn’t work with your design, it’s useless. Comments inside the code can give linguists the context they need to make the right translation decisions. However, it’s just as crucial that the code is designed in a way where it remains intact even if they make a mistake.

Products often have many variables in their code. Altering these can result in issues with incorrect information and improper displays. At Bureau Works, we establish and use regular expressions to block changes or corruption. Companies often make the mistake of choosing to review strings internally rather than looking at how they display on the product. While strings may be technically accurate, they may create an improper display for the UX. Using a platform that offers a preview option—as well as running tests based on machine translation—can help you avoid these issues.

No matter which product localization services you choose, it is vital to remember it’s a collaborative process. Everyone from your project managers and designers to your marketers, linguists, and business analysts need to be on board. Providing a localization management platform that allows them all to communicate in one space and work on projects together is the ideal way to facilitate a collaborative experience.

Product Readiness for Internationalization The Product Managers' Localization Platform

Bureau Works provides product localization services where quality is measured by both linguistics and design. Contact our team for more details.

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