Last Updated: July 18, 2019 4:30PM
Whether you’re an old pro at international business or expanding into your first new market, localization services are key to your success. Four key elements can help you handle the translation process like a pro. For a smooth market expansion, focus on optimizing your use of language service providers (LSPs), translation style guides, centralization, and timely internationalization. These four elements can make localization easier for your company.
A translation project is usually far more complex than its name suggests. A professional translation project requires project management, desktop publishing, file engineering, and more. LSPs bring years of experience to the table and can provide a scale and breadth of resources difficult to replicate internally. With offerings like language strategy consulting, LSPs can leverage their experience to help you set your strategy. A good LSP can help you decide which markets to target, which languages to support, and which content is most important to localize. This leaves you free to focus on your core business.
Translation style guides
To make the most of your LSP, you need to set goals for consistency. Before they decide to use an LSP, many companies choose to leverage their own in-country employees to check their translated material.
This approach might be sufficient to catch errors in regional translations. But something important can suffer along the way: the company’s brand voice and identity. Creating a translation style guide to define a company’s style in multiple languages, as well as key phrases or unusual terms, helps maintain a unified voice across markets—and that engenders trust among customers across markets.
These guides are also helpful for the translators you work with through your LSP. Rather than rely on the personal preference of in-house employees, your brand can leverage style guides to stay aligned across languages from the start of the translation and transcreation process. This saves time, effort, and costs up front.
For further streamlining, consider centralizing the translation process by using a single LSP. To do this effectively, you’ll need to pick a multi-language vendor (MLV) to set yourself up for future expansion. Centralizing resources eliminates communication challenges and decreases the likelihood of inconsistency across markets. It also simplifies billing.
These factors are especially key as you expand markets. When you have a predictable cost per language, you can more easily decide whether you can afford to add new markets to your sales operation. Centralization also increases accountability, which helps you decide whether to maintain your chosen MLV. In addition, streamlining decreases the chances that work—and thus costs—will be unnecessarily duplicated.
Before you start localizing, you need to make sure your product or service is internationalized. Is your core business offering already available in other markets? Do you need to update or re-engineer your product to make it suitable for other countries and languages? Have you considered the legal repercussions of selling in a new market? Address your functionality requirement in other languages before you start localizing more content-centric parts of your process.
Ready to get started? Start a localization project today.