Localizing your software will help you to reach the audience on a global basis, tap into new markets, and give your customers a better experience. But if you don’t have the right processes and technology, it can be a challenge. Here are three key considerations for software localization, as well as common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
On-schedule releases are essential. Speed is very important no matter what volume you are translating. This is certainly true when working in a regular delivery setup where you are sending out just a few strings for localization and expect them back in a few hours.
In order to work at maximum speed, you need to provide as much information as possible to your team. Providing context is key to producing quality translations especially when working on a few strings. Lack of context will result in poor quality translations which will generate more costs for bug fixes and lower UX. To avoid this obstacle, choose a technology that is able to provide contextual information and allows stakeholders to efficiently communicate.
Another obstacle that delays speed is the availability/scalability of human resources. Your localization team needs to be ready for stable content submissions. And they need to be prepared for volume and scope changes. If your team is not prepped, you risk late deliveries or releases, frustrated stakeholders, and poor quality localized content. To overcome this obstacle you need to define requirements and expectations with your internal or external team before moving forward with localization.
Technical resources also need to be available and scalable. Suppose that you have possessed process standardization and have unified your translation management system (TMS) with a repository or CMS. You have to make sure that the technology is scalable enough to sustain the volumes you want to process. And be sure to stress test your technology beforehand – this will save you from any rough time-out surprises.
Careless localization can burden support with a spike in calls and damage your company’s reputation. Quality issues can result from misusing the resources for the project, setting unrealistic goals (such as unachievable deadlines), or providing inadequate context.
These issues can be avoided much in the same way as above – good communication, providing sufficient references and context, and selecting the right resources for the job. You also need to be willing to receive feedback from and give feedback to stakeholders. If something needs to be improved, it should be communicated well in your team without hard feelings.
Keep track of resources and always check out the work even if your vendor completed it the best – but ensure to manage performance without becoming a control freak. Quality comes from assigning a suitable person for the task, not by having more eyes to review the content. Performing random sample checks and working on feedback will support you bypass unexpected obstacles.
If you want to be 100% sure that the localization is ideal in its context, run some tests on the localized version. You can retrieve some of the test cases you created for the source language and probably cut some parts since testing here would be mainly cosmetic. If you have done your job right and you can live with some minor bugs, you can go ahead without localization testing – as long as it doesn’t break, it’s good to go.
Speed boosting and upgrade quality aren’t free. The biggest challenge for localization managers isn’t reducing costs, but getting as much value as possible for the money spent.
To ensure a good ROI, never stop exploring different technological capabilities. Check out how they can help you achieve your goal of delivering great quality, fast, and within budget. To automate small parts of your daily management tasks, keep looking for ways to optimize your localization workflow.
Be sure to keep an open channel with your technology provider. They’ll be willing to discuss all possible solutions to automate tedious tasks and supply more value to your work. And if they’re not, find a new technology provider.
Taking speed, quality, and cost into consideration when localizing your software is crucial. Ensure good communication with all stakeholders, always provide ample context, and take the time to select the right resources for the task – both human and technology.