As a company seeking international growth, you will sooner or later face the question of whether localization of the software and services is important or not.
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question as it depends on a multitude of different aspects with regards to your business and specific needs. However, there are still clear indicators and proof-points that will help you with decision making and highlight the impact that localization can have on your business.
How can we determine the business value of localization?
1. Improving customer satisfaction
Localization is much more than just direct translation. It is about carefully refining and adapting content to resonate with a culture and to meet local peculiarities.
Companies can and often do spend millions crafting global campaigns only to find that their new slogan translates into something that wasn’t exactly intended in their target country, often with hilarious – or downright offensive – results.
Localization will help to prevent you from falling head over heels into pitfalls like these. It will help you to support a more appealing user experience for your diversifying clientele and in doing so, increase your overall customer conversions.
2. Increasing your customer base
The ability to expand a company’s potential customer base is essential in today’s globalized world.
Adapting existing products to new markets through translation and localization management is key for global growth. Professional localization helps to decrease the barrier for new potential customers, as localized products fit local market conditions better and lower cultural barriers.
Localization allows more consumers to learn about your products and increases your customer base. FAMILO, for example, noticed an overwhelming 400% increase in new customers after they scaled their mobile app for families internationally and became an industry leader through effective localization.
3. Localization allows you to enter new markets more rapidly
The localization process can speed up the time it takes to enter new markets as localized products help to overcome cultural barriers.
This results in customers being more likely to spread the word about the product. Companies that localize content tend to see improvements in engagement and market share from an ever more diverse clientele.
From a business perspective, this means gaining a competitive advantage by rapid and flexible deployment of products.
Companies that start localizing faster tend to grow faster – and for obvious reasons.
As an example, when using PhraseApp, our translation management platform, 95% of ordered translations are done within 24 hours and 80% of orders take 12 hours or less. This allows our clients to enter new markets with their businesses at an extremely rapid rate.
So I guess I lied…
You caught me, time to come clean…
It looks like there’s pretty much no reason at all not to localize your business and if you’re reading this you’re already interested in the process.
Unless you’re just very lazy, a fan of stagnating, or enjoy losing sales and otherwise not expanding, the answer to the title question is “very”.
If your business strategy is focused on increasing revenue, market share and your customer base, localization is going to be a necessity for your business. And really, if your business isn’t thinking about those three things, should you really continue calling yourself one at all?
How you can get started with localization?
In most circumstances, the ultimate costs involved with the localization of your software or website will be less than the returns from the opportunities it creates.
If you’ve made the decision to localize your product or service, make sure to proof whether it’s even localization-ready and choose the right tools in order to seamlessly integrate localization into your processes.
How do you know if your product is localization-ready?
Your product is ready for localization as soon as you have the company structure to support the expansion you’re aiming for.
You need to know in advance what the scope of your pursuits is going to be. Identify your target market(s) and make sure that your product is solid and likely to appeal to buyers or clients in said markets.
It’s very important that you do your research up front and make it clear that expansion is your ultimate goal, but don’t wait too long to get started.
To understand the true extent and impact of localization, your developers need to be consulted first so that they can set the stage for proper software localization before it becomes necessary. Preparation is key and that key lies primarily with your developers and your market researchers.
Way too often localization is considered unimportant for too long and many companies don’t bother concerning themselves with it until the damage is already done.
You might find yourself having to totally overhaul your entire project in order to later support other languages because your developers did not care about other languages, international formats or other necessary localization attributes when they wrote the code.
All it takes is a tiny mistake to send everything careening off a cliff.
Errors in source content can be replicated or worse, amplified in various different language versions if they’re not prepared properly beforehand.
If you don’t want to spend months fixing localization bugs after translation, you had better internationalize your product early.
There is always a cost to doing business, but it doesn’t have to set you back an arm and a leg.
Many companies fear that localizing their products might cause increased administrative overhead and might slow down the release cycle and is thus just not worth the time.
This can be true but there’s really no getting around it entirely if successful expansion is your goal and I’m willing to bet that it won’t be as bad as you think.
By properly localizing your content you can significantly decrease your time to market by massively increasing the efficiency with which your software, website or application are localized.
While yes, it’s definitely true that for some, localization is often easier said than done, since proper processes and responsibilities need to be established.
But that doesn’t mean that it needs to be some sort of arduous ordeal, either.
Most serious development environments today are internationalization ready.
Using the right tools and streamlining the localization process can remove unnecessary, repetitive manual work and administrative overhead and should not be overlooked.
So, what do you think? How important has localization been for your business or product? Leave a comment with your experiences.
Also published on Medium.