The 5 Essential Stages of the Localization Process

When trying to expand your company into new markets, supporting local languages should be your top priority. This means that localization is a stage you simply cannot skip. 

Localization involves more than just translating content. It is a complex process that you need to approach methodically in order to make sure nothing goes wrong. So, if you are just starting your product localization journey, you probably have no idea what to expect.

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the five key stages in the localization process.

Localization Process

Put together a localization team

The first step is to decide who you need to hire and work with in order to complete all of the tasks. Typically, you will need to hire people for the following positions:

  • Translators. It is impossible to stress the importance of hiring competent translators for localization. They are in charge of spreading your brand’s message, not just translating words from one language to another.
  • Developers. Developers are crucial in monitoring and updating the translated messages so that they can be shown accurately in-app when localizing your software for a global audience.
  • Designers. Designers are responsible for making sure that your product or service is designed with the target market in mind. This can include everything from selecting the right images and colors to button alignment and language and cultural shifts in phrases and images. 
  • Marketers. Be sure to find good marketers who will be able to successfully promote your business by taking into consideration the nuances of the local market. 

Use the right tools

Next, you need to choose the right digital environment in order to ensure that your localization process is carried out on a dependable platform. The majority of localization teams work with translation apps, i.e., software solutions that facilitate the process of converting a message’s meaning between different languages. The most popular categories of translation apps include:

  • Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools 
  • Machine translation apps
  • Translation management systems (TMS)

A TMS is the most advanced type of translation app. It uses smart automation to manage translation tasks. It typically handles a number of different tasks, ranging from assigning projects to translators and uploading translation files to creating translation memories and performing automated quality assurance checks. In other words, a translation management system streamlines the process of managing translation projects and makes it as painless and efficient as possible.

However, before you invest in a translation app, you should conduct extensive research to find out which type is best for your localization project. 

Extract resource files 

Before you can begin the localization process, you must first extract your translation resource files and decide which components of your product, service or communications are subject to localization. 

Since your content could be in a variety of file formats, including Word or HTML, you must extract the translateable text so that your translators can work with it. Doing this manually can take lots of time but fortunately, robust localization platforms and translation apps support a number of source file types, allowing you to immediately upload your resource files. 

Review your translations

Once your content has been translated, you should review the translation’s quality. At this point, you should check more than just grammar, syntax, style, and tone. You should also evaluate whether your localized content is culturally appropriate.

Poor translations drive away clients and diminish the trust of your brand, so you need to make sure that the final evaluation of your localized content is thorough and that you dedicate enough time to appropriate quality control. 

Localization Process team

Publish your translated content

With good planning, all pieces of the localization puzzle should fall into place without too many issues. However, in order to be able to stay on top of any potential difficulties, whether they be technical or not, be sure to get the following:

  • Localized product testing. Running a beta version of your localized product is a way to see how it performs in a real setting and address possible problems or bugs head-on. 
  • Results from focus groups. Running focus groups is a fantastic approach to getting insightful customer input.
  • Feedback from customers and users. You can learn more about customer experiences with your localized product or service through reviews and ratings. Consider responding as soon as you can to all requests or complaints from customers in your new target market.

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Final thoughts

As mentioned in the beginning, localizing a product entails much more than mere translation.

Creating a natural user experience for your users in different countries is the main objective of product adaptation for overseas markets.

By planning ahead and combining the basics of the localization process explained in this article with the right people and tools, you’ll be well on your way to successfully localizing your content.

About the author

Hassan Abbas

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