What Is Localization Management?
Localization management is the process of organizing and structuring your localization project. You’ll need a website localization platform or software localization tool that can keep all your files in one place – and your remote team together on one localization management platform.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Effective localization management can mean the difference between success and failure of your project. So before you launch headlong into reaching new target markets, be sure to select the right localization management service first.
Definition of Localization (l10n)
The definition of localization (l10n) goes way beyond mere translation of your content. Localization doesn’t only mean changing your written message from English to Chinese, French, or any other language. It means adjusting your tone, look, and feel to provide a product that is comfortable for your target market.
You’ll need to consider every component of your website, app, or software to reflect local tastes, buying preferences, and habits. Select your images carefully – a picture speaks a thousand words and images have different meanings in different cultures.
You’ll also need to choose fonts, icons, and colors carefully, as well watch out for the format of dates, numbers, and units of measurement. Local regulations and legal requirements must also be considered when entering a foreign market.
What Is the Difference Between Translation and Localization?
Translation is the process of converting text from one language to another and is part of the whole localization process, which involves internationalization (i18n), and globalization (g11n) as well. A good translation of your software, app, or website using a website translation tool is a great start. But words alone aren’t always enough to close the deal.
For example, if your German-speaking customers like what your website says, they may be spurred into taking action. That’s great! Until they click to order and come across payment methods that they don’t know or trust. Failing to understand buyers’ preferences is one of the best ways to lose a sale.
In fact, that’s the biggest difference between translation and localization. Localization considers every element that can stop a customer in their tracks when it comes to converting. From local payment methods and colloquialisms to local celebrities, places, and holidays, localization involves everything that can affect the user experience.
Website translation tools alone often have limitations and don’t take every element into consideration. When a website is properly localized, customers won’t know that they’re using a localized version. Your entire product will walk and talk like a native – whether your company HQ is in Hong Kong, Berlin, or New York.
Why Is Localization Hard?
No matter how large your business and capable your team, localization can be hard. Whether you’re looking for app localization or website localization, you’ll need a robust localization platform to help you do the job.
Without the right organization and a capable product manager, your plans can fall apart pretty quickly. You’ll need to oversee a team of translators, programmers, localization specialists, developers, and marketers who depend on effective communication.
You’ll have people working remotely over geographical areas with different cultures, time zones, and specialties. And you’ll have multiple languages to consider depending on your target market.
There are plenty of ways to make localization errors and even large companies can get it wrong. In 2018, Coca-Cola tried mixing English with Māori, the indigenous language of New Zealand.
The soft drinks giant promoted “Kia ora, Mate” on their vending machine, to show the two languages together. Unfortunately for them, this is a lethal word combination – literally. It translated to “Hello, death.”
While errors are occasionally unavoidable, using the right software localization tool will allow you to keep a bird’s eye view on your project. And when you have native translators working on your team, and apply rigorous localization and linguistic testing, you can catch mistakes like this before they reach the general public.
Why Is Localization Management Important for Business?
While English remains the most common language of the internet, Internet Statistics show that Chinese users are almost as numerous. Moreover, English internet users make up just over 25 percent of all internet users (IWS, 2018).
This means that if your site is in English only, you’re effectively ignoring three-quarters of all internet users! That’s a pretty big market share. Of course, not everyone surfing the net is going to be interested in your product. But with the right market research and localization management tool, you can reach significantly more customers.
Here are just some of the advantages of localization for your business:
Increase Market Share
The right localization management service, website localization tool, or app localization tool will help you target more customers around the world. This will increase your market share with relatively low investment.
Just think about Airbnb. The company that began in its founders’ apartment is now in over 190 countries around the world. Through effective software translation and localization management, the company was able to go from a value of zero to north of approx. $40 billion today.
Localizing your content isn’t cheap, especially when you invest in a quality localization management service. However, localization should never be seen as a cost but always an investment. As your share of the market dramatically increases with each country you enter, so do your revenue streams.
Gain a Competitive Advantage
In the cutthroat world of business, chances are you’re operating in a competitive market. One fast, effective, and simple way to gain a competitive advantage is through website and app localization.
Remember that 60 percent of users who never buy from an English-only website? If your website is translated and localized to cater to local tastes, you’ll be leagues ahead of your competition still trying to force English onto Spanish-speaking buyers.
Strengthen Cultural Awareness and Be Truly Credible
When you localize your content for your customers you treat everyone as if they’re first-class citizens. Rather than offering a weakly translated version of your original content, you show your customers that you understand and care about their problems, needs, and wishes.
In simple words? You speak their language. You know what products they like and how to communicate them. Imagine trying to promote your winter line of wooly scarves to people living in the Southern hemisphere in a heatwave in summer! With effective localization management, you can become a respected global player.
Boost global presence
Just as your market share and revenue grows, so does your global presence. More people become aware of your brand when you reach new markets, strengthening your position. Facebook, for example, reports user saturation in its home market. But India now makes up its fastest-growing user group!
What Are the Benefits of a Localization Management Platform?
There are almost endless benefits of using a localization or translation management tool. You may as well ask what the benefits of using a calculator or computer are! While you could do all the work manually yourself, you’ll be infinitely faster and more effective using a localization tool and translation management system to take over the heavy lifting.
Localization Workflow Automation through an Effective API
Using a localization management platform allows you to automate your localization workflow through an effective API. In plain English, that means your team can deliver faster with greater efficiency and reduced margin for error. Repetitive manual work becomes a thing of the past and you can scale your localization management to include other languages and locales easily.
Localization management software is all about encouraging team collaboration. Rather than having your staff isolated in varying corners of the world, they’re connected through one effective software localization tool that offers outstanding collaboration opportunities. Say goodbye to ineffective email threads and missing files. All your messaging happens in one place and contributors can upload attachments and screenshots for additional context.
Centralization for an Efficient Project Management
When you have all your files, images, strings for translation, and instructions in one place on a translation management system, everybody works on the same page. This makes for efficient project management, and it also allows upper management and even customers to get an overall glance of a project status at any moment. Everything is ordered and centralized and with no key files sitting on an employee’s home computer.
Using a localization management software, companies can speed up their time to market significantly. German-based fintech startup, Kreditech, for example, used PhraseApp’s translation management solution for web and mobile to localize their content for various markets. By automating their multi-language operations they saved time while increasing quality and reducing time to market.
Reduced Translation Work Volume with a Solid Translation Memory
Every good translation management tool provides you with a solid translation memory (TM). This is especially important when working on multiple projects that use common terms. You can speed up productivity by storing all past project information that your translators can recall with the touch of a button.
They work quicker by using suggested results and not having to retype previously used terms, and they reduce the margin for human error as well. Better yet, your translation memory only suggests words in the locale you’re working in. So if you’re set to Chinese, you’ll never get suggestions from another language.
The Benefits of a Localization Platform at a Glance
Check out the benefits of using a localization platform vs. working manually.
Why working without a localization platform is painful
- You have to carry out lengthy and tiring manual work
- There are no useful resources to rely on, such as a Translation Memory
- You’ll have to shift through and fix a ton of human errors and mistakes
- Start each new localization project from scratch
- Take longer to build a product without the use of technology
- Employ additional tools for delivering different tasks
- Reporting and monitoring will have to be done manually at every step
How a localization platform benefits your projects
- You can stay productive by automating repetitive tasks
- You can use previous translations and past work to speed up your projects
- Avoid simple errors completely with built-in quality control
- Use your Translation Memory to speed up all new projects and improve consistency
- Complete your product faster, in some cases, with just a few clicks
- Use the same simple tool for diverse tasks across projects
- Generate reports and monitor your project status with one click
What Are Some Best Practices for Software Localization?
When dealing with multiple languages and remote teams in different locations, there are plenty of pitfalls to avoid. For effective software localization, there are several best practices you can follow to keep your team on track and ensure no deadlines are missed.
Design with Localization in Mind
Before you start on your website, app or software you should always design with localization in mind. This includes careful consideration of your design layout and elements. It also means internationalizing your website by using Unicode from the start. This way, you’ll create a website or software that is easy to localize into more languages whenever your team is ready.
Always Plan on Enough Space
Space is a key element in any good design, and especially important when you plan to make your product available in more languages. Different languages take up different amounts of space, so leaving enough room to accommodate new ones is vital. A common CTA in English such as “Get a Free Trial,” becomes “Obtenez un essai gratuit” in French, for example. If your design elements are short on space or hardcoded, localization will become a headache.
Pay Attention to Time, Date, and Currency
Remember that while a flawless translation is vital, you need to keep all elements into consideration in website or app localization. This includes paying attention to time, date, currency, and units of measurement. Remember that Europeans use the metric system. Speaking to them in yards and inches will mean nothing to them and could cause you to miss out on a sale.
Test Localizability Early and Often
Testing is essential before you launch your product to the market. You’ll need to employ rigorous linguistic testing to ensure that all your translated content is up to par. You’ll also need localization testing to make sure there are no bugs in your software, that no date formats are incorrect or broken strings appear. Testing is a fundamental part of any project and an effective localization management tool can help you program appropriate tests throughout your project.
Choose the Right Localization Management Tool
Choosing the right localization management tool will ensure a seamless project from start to finish. With everything in one place, no key information is missing, no strings are forgotten, and everyone’s comments and questions are displayed. All your team works on the same page, with context, instructions, and even the chance to chat with each other to bolster team spirit.
Being confident in your translation management software will allow you to reap all the benefits from entering new markets faster and with reduced hassle and cost.