A guide to localization strategy: Everything you need to know

April 26, 2022

Global expansion is when a fast-growing business takes its operations into lucrative international markets. These businesses seeking to reach the next level of growth can achieve this by establishing a presence in new countries across the world. 

As a company looking for international growth, you will sooner or later deal with the question of whether localizing your product or service is essential or not. Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this question. It all depends on a large number of aspects regarding your business approach and specific needs. Luckily, there are still clear indicators and proof-points to define the business value of localization and draw up a solid business localization strategy. 

1. Why is localization critical for business?

To stay relevant on a global scale you have to be able to understand your audiences thoroughly. If you prepare to take your company international, localization will play a key role in its success. 

Here are some of the benefits of localization for your business: 

Enhance customer satisfaction  

Localization is much more than just direct translation. It is about carefully refining and adapting content to resonate with the specific culture and meet local peculiarities. Companies usually spend millions of dollars crafting global campaigns only to find that their new slogan translates into something that wasn’t in a correct way in their target market. 

Localization will help to hinder 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. 

Grow your customer base

The ability to expand a company’s potential customer base is essential in today’s globalized world. Launching existing products to new markets through translation and localization management is necessary for international growth. Localization helps to reduce the barrier for new potential consumers, as localized products suit local market conditions better and decrease cultural boundaries. 

Allow you to enter new markets more promptly

The localization process can speed up the time it takes to enter new markets as localized products help overcome cultural barriers, then consumers are more likely to talk about the product. Companies that localize content tend to see an increase in engagement and market share from diverse clientele. 

2. How to succeed with your localization project

In most cases, the ultimate costs regarding the localization of your software or website will be less than the returns from the opportunities it brings. If you’ve decided to localize your product or service, make sure to verify whether it’s even localization-ready and choose the right tools to ceaselessly link localization into your processes. 

So, where to start? With so many factors associated with a skillfully conducted localization project, this can be a frightening task. Like most aspects of business, if you want to get the results, success often lies in the planning steps. Take a look at six steps in preparing your localization strategy. 

Plan and research

Without performing extensive research first, you wouldn’t launch a product in your domestic market. Just because you trust in your software and make good sales, it doesn’t mean that you need deep into overseas waters without finding out how deep those waters are first. 

So, try to determine the specific markets where you have a decent chance of success, and analyze your website traffic visitors and software users. Do you get a lot of visits from Eastern Europe? How similar is the cultural aspect? What about their legislation? Do you have any local resources on the ground you can achieve? There are more than 4 billion internet connections around the globe. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll all be keen on your product. Reduce your focus through substantial research and planning in the first place. 

During your planning and research stage, you’ll need to make sure to consider essential elements, including your software design layout. Languages account for different amounts of space. The last thing you want is to bring a beautifully functioning product when translated into French, German, or Arabic is different from its previous layout design. Don’t even think about taking hard-coded design elements, as you’re going to be having problems. 

Develop your team

Prospect localization needs a rock-solid team. One of the hardest things to do is putting your teams together. You have to ensure that you possess the right skill sets and talents and that each team member can be associated with the other, which means a lot to have a smooth collaboration. More than likely, the majority of your team will be working far away, in different parts of the globe. You’ll need native translators who can transcreate if necessary. They’ll need to understand local slang and vocabulary and catch the tone and voice of local customers. 

However, they’ll need to grasp some elementary technical skills as well. Start to discuss HTML and strings with a person who hardly knows how to use a computer. As a result, the conversation won’t go very far. That’s the reason why you’ll need professional software developers who understand how to operate Unicode and employ internationalization techniques. They will have to develop an understanding of translators’ work. Instead of passing them random strings to translate, they should know how important the context is. 

Choose the right tool 

Applying the right translation management software (TMS) will make or break your software localization project. One suitable TMS will bring many essential features that will allow you to continuously guide your 

team and ensure that team members are on the same page. Check out for a web-based platform that will help you manage your global team more productively with improved outcomes and reduced costs. 

Be sure that API will make your automation simple. An in-built API will allow your programmers to integrate with your current tools and workflow. Being able to import locale files promptly and accessibly is vital. Especially if you want to localize into a wide range of languages or work with clients for more software localization projects. The TMS should support your team members to cooperate collaboratively and leave messages for each other, upload screenshots, tag people, leave feedback, and generally make the project more accessible. You can even improve your workflow and decrease the technical training involved by translating directly onto your software or website. 

There is no need for localizing with spreadsheets or spreading long emails and scrolling through your inbox trying to find out what you’re searching for as well. You’ll also get to establish a translation memory that will help you to accomplish projects faster. It will save frequently used terms in the language you’re working in and allow your translators to proceed more quickly through the task. 

Prepare your software solution

In many circumstances, localization is considered unnecessary and too time-consuming, so many companies don’t pay more attention until the damage is already done. You might find yourself having to completely rebuild your entire project to 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 content can be replicated and amplified in various language versions if they’re not filtered carefully beforehand. You had better internationalize your software from the very first place if you don’t want to spend months fixing localization bugs after translation. That means you’ll be able to add new languages to your software with greater ease and reduced effort. 

Your developers will use Unicode (UTF-8) throughout your software to standardize encoding between languages. It maintains an instinct symbol for all characters and can be affected by almost every language in the world. Your programmers will also separate the source code from the translated strings and save it for future goals, then you can adjust the data to each new language, which means you won’t have to break the strings when you want to convert it into a new language. The internationalization of software will also help you set codes for local preferences, which makes changing number formats, dates, times, measurements, and currencies easier. 

ASO/SEO Strategy

Website localization and localization of your marketing elements can incredibly enhance your SEO. And if you’re talking about your company’s mobile app or app version of your software, your ASO strategy is equally essential. Therefore, once your software localization is successful, you’ll need to guide that your SEO strategy is consistent. Even though many people consider this approach as the end of the project, your SEO/ASO strategy is better prepared from the first stage. Since you’ll need your foreign-language content converted and optimized with the right keywords and search terms used by browsers on the web and the app store. 

You’ll need to establish links to your website from local sites that achieve your business or pass on relevant PR and link juice. If all your third-party website links are linking to your English site version, you’ll have a competitive battle when it comes to local SEO. Search is increasingly local and consumers will be shown the most relevant results that are nearest to them. Localizing your website by adding local phone numbers, pages, etc will help your SERP ranking. It’s very similar to the app store. If you have a great app localized into French, it won’t do you any good unless you have the right keywords. You just cannot be seen among the competitors. 

Also, spend time to find out the most popular search engines and app stores in the market you want to expand. In China, people are interested in using Baidu. In Russia, they are familiar with Yandex. There are also hundreds of different app stores in China and a notable absence of Google Play. Get your strategy geared up for the wrong channels and you’ll fail to get your software localization project known. Or worse, you’ll be expelled from a market for not following the rules. 

Linguistic testing and localization services

There is one essential step that can’t be missing. You need to factor both localization and linguistic testing into your software localization strategy. Find local testers to make sure that your message is meaningful, which you have a good vocabulary or the text appeals to users. Programmers who can replicate the user experience across various operating systems and platforms. Localization testing will make sure that your software works well and at optimal speed. That there’re no broken translations, forms, or code. You’ll also re-check that the images, symbols, and icons you’ve used are culturally applicable. If you feel confident that your product is not at fault, you can bet your customers will. It’s much better to delay your launch a few more days than deal with customer complaints or bad reviews. 

Final thought

It’s certainly true that for some, business localization is often easier said than done. Since proper processes and responsibilities need building up – that doesn’t mean that it requires some challenges. By properly localizing your content, you can considerably reduce your time to market by optimizing the efficiency with localized software. Using the right tools and streamlining the localization process can get rid of irrelevant and repeated manual work. 

Now you can break your business localization project down into a measurable bite-sized project. You need to ensure that you invest your adequate time in the planning step to align with what’s performed above. Establish a team that works well together and make sure that you use the correct translation management tool. Internationalize your software from the very outset and work on your ASO/SEO strategies well in advance. Once you’ve completed all these tasks and your process gets going, you need to measure your return on investment. 


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