Six Savvy Considerations when Starting a Localization Strategy

When a potential lead lands on a website which hasn’t been effectively localized for their language or region it feels a little like being lost in a foreign country – you can’t read the signs, the landscape is unfamiliar, and the currency is confusing, so it’s easy to just click a button and remove yourself from this difficult situation!

But this isn’t what your firm wants potential leads to do when they reach your website, and the only way to avoid this is by creating and implementing an effective localization strategy.

However, if you’re new to localization and translation services they can be confusing; knowing which service you need, what Language Services Provider to use, or understanding how much content needs localizing, takes time and determination so our latest blog will help you direct your efforts when starting your localization strategy, ensuring you choose the right services and receive the best value for money.



1. Should you Choose Translation or Localizations Services?

Understanding the difference between these two language services is vital in ensuring you get the results you want.

The following summary will help you understand which language service is best suited to your requirements:

Translation – is the process of changing text from one language (the source) to another (the target) so that the meaning of the message is still relevant and equivalent to the original. This is unlikely to be a ‘word-for-word’ translation but more of an adaption which encompasses the overall connotation, tone of voice, style, and phrasing.

Localization – is a more comprehensive and inclusive process which considers elements linked to culture and location, alongside those of language. For example, localization considers factors such as:

• Time/date formats

• Currency

• Images/photographs/people

• Text expansion or contraction (the length of speech/words alters with a language change)

• Measurements/weights

• Colour

• Regional dialect

• Audience expectation

• Cultural/societal norms

• Spelling (for instance, UK English speakers use the letter ‘s’ but Middle Eastern English speakers prefer the Americanized ‘z’ when using words such as localization/localisation

Once you understand the difference between the two language services it is easier to assess which is better suited to your requirements.



2. Have you Completed Sufficient Market Research?

One of the most essential elements for success when entering a new market is understanding your audience.

Consider the following points when conducting research for localization and translation purposes:

• What language(s) or dialect(s) is dominant?

• Are there any local cultural idiosyncrasies which might affect our product/service?

• Will marketing fit with local consumer expectations?

• What are your competitors doing in the local area?

• Are there global branding guidelines which must be factored into localization?

Knowing what your potential customers expect from your brand and products makes decisions easier and solutions more relevant.



3. What is the Scope of your Project?

Knowing what you expect to achieve from your localization project is vital, and the scope of your project needs to fit with your expectations.

For instance, are you are expanding into a single new territory or considering a global expansion?

Really look into what you want to gain from your expansion and how best to reach your goals.

Once you’ve answered this, the scope of your project becomes clearer and you’ll know if you need a complete localized website, translated product information, or localized marketing.



4. What Language Services Provider will you Choose?

Choosing the right Language Services Provider (LSP) to partner with on your project will make the whole process more straightforward and enjoyable.

Using a professional LSP should offer quality assurance, language expertise, prior experience and a smoother process.

When selecting an LSP ask the following:

• Do they specialize in your required language(s)?

• Do they use native speaking translators?

• Can they show evidence of previous projects?

• Do they have the specific cultural knowledge?

• Do they use project managers?

• What do they charge?

• What is included in the cost (for example, is proofreading included in the price)?



5. What is your Budget?

The scope of your project will affect the cost and completion time.

If you have used translation services before you’ll understand that quality, cost, and time are intricately linked so if you’re looking for a cheap translation service that is 100% accurate and delivered within a tight time schedule, you are likely to be disappointed!

However, if you understand your project requirements, have documentation/materials prepared in advance, have researched your target market, and found a viable Language Services Provider to partner, you should now have a clearer idea of potential costs and be confident that the Language Services Provider you choose will be able to accomplish your project on time and within budget.



6. Are you Prepared for your Localization Project?

If you have managed to complete numbers 1 to 5 above, you’re 90% ready for your localization project.

The final 10% is linked to preparing documents and content ready for translation and localization.

When compiling content, talk to your chosen LSP about what they want and when they want it. Discuss options for image localization, consider potential branding differences (including logo or tagline adaption), create industry terminology glossaries, and think about whether there might be a need to regularly update content (especially on ecommerce websites or social media platforms).

Give your LSP as much information as you can about the project, and all the documentation they require, so they can prepare a more detailed quote and begin working on it as soon as possible.

For more information on any of points raised here, or to discuss your localization project, please contact a member of the Creative Word .

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