- Emanuela Di Rosa
Why Early Localization is the Best Way to Prevent Future Headaches
Are you a start-up that needs to develop an app for its business? Or a small company that is just getting started in the eCommerce industry? And if you are a game developer, you surely want gamers to have a blast with your game.
Whoever you are and whatever you do, one thing is clear: you want to stand out. Many aspects will contribute to your success in this regard: localization is one of them.
But even localizing your project needs careful planning and a good strategy. Here we provide you with a few reasons why early localization is important and how you can build a good strategy to do so.
Localization is your "Guiding Key"
Languages are beautiful and their diversity makes them fascinating. But they also come with a price: they create barriers. If you want your business to reach the global market, you should break down any barriers that might prevent you to connect with your customers from all around the world; that includes linguistic and cultural barriers.
And that is when localization comes into play: it is the key that opens the door to your customers’ world and hearts and enables you to adapt your content to a diverse audience.
Since many companies offer tailored-customer content and products, people have high expectations today, and including localization in your project might no longer be an option.
Why not implement it early in the process, then?
The Sooner the Better: Save Money and Time with Early Localization
Variables like budget and deadlines could sway your resolve to localize early.
True, localization is an investment of time and resources, but you will benefit from it in the long run because you will save money and time. How?
Think of the process of developing a software application: If developers do not add options to include localization early and it is later decided to localize the software, the process is going to be a long and exhausting one, which will eventually result in missing strings, lack of context, and translations that will sound weird and unnatural to the target audience. As a result, untangling the knots will take even more money, time, and effort!
By including localization early, instead, you will prepare the ground: You may start by localizing into the most spoken languages at first, and from there expand the number according to your resources.
To be able to do that, software developers usually start with internationalization, which is the process of designing a software application in a way that can be easily adapted to several languages and regions, without implementing any engineering changes later.
After that, the internationalised software is ready for the next stage: localization.
This way, the process will be smoother and cost-effective.
Zero Mistakes + More Care = More Trust
Reliability, trust and interest are the other three essential factors for which your company should be known.
Let us consider another example: a popular videogames series developed by Square Enix (Kingdom Hearts) has been localized from Japanese and English into several languages. However, not every game was localized from the beginning, which created term inconsistencies and, in some cases, even mistranslations and typos. The results? Poor localization and disappointed fans, who had the impression that developers cared more about saving on budget rather than offering a pleasant experience to their loyal fans.
If you carefully plan the localization process early, instead, you will be consistent and won’t run the risk of making clumsy mistakes and potentially jeopardizing your relationship with customers. In return, they will see you as a serious company, one they can trust and that really cares about their needs.
Localization Strategy: How to Build it
Now that we have seen why early localization is important, let us discuss how you can create a good localization strategy.
Each company will choose their approach, but here we have synthetized three main stages for defining a localization strategy:
Analysis & Research
1. Analysis & Research
This first step is essential because it will help you take some actions that are essential to the effective implementation of early localization.
Resources: time, budget, and team. Once you have established a deadline, a budget and what kind of team you need, you will have a general idea of the project’s total cost in terms of resources.
Goals and needs: these are strictly connected to the resources, so you should ask yourself: “What are the company’s goals and needs? Will we be able to achieve these goals and meet our needs with the resources at our disposal?”
Identify your target market: analyse the global market and then do thorough research to see how localization works in your field and in the country where you want your company to expand.
Now that you have gained a good knowledge of these aspects and you are aware of where your project is heading, it is time to make some decisions.
You should select the content you want to localize, the languages you want to localize into, and the team of experts that will accompany you through your journey. This team is made up of professional translators specialized in localization, but some companies go the extra mile and select translators specialized in specific fields (i.e., website localization, marketing localization, videogames localization, and so on) which is the best choice as it offers top-quality localized content.
Finally, it is time to put your decisions into practice. After your content has been internationalized, it is ready to be localized by the team of expert linguists you have selected. You might want to provide them with style guides to help them keep the tone of voice of the brand. Once the translation process is complete, you might think you are done. But there are other important steps to take:
Editing: Editing consists of reviewing a translation against the source text to check whether there are mistranslations, typos, or other errors, and to identify opportunities for improvement.
Proofreading: Editing and proofreading are often used as synonyms, but the second should be a final check of the outcome to ensure it is ready to be published.
Language quality assurance to ensure high-quality content. Usually, this step involves running tests with the help of native speakers. If their feedback is positive… congratulations! Your project is ready for the target market!
Good Localization Strategy & Boutique Localization Agency: A Perfect Combo
Throughout this article, we have seen that early localization has many benefits, but it also needs careful planning through a perfectly balanced strategy. Sometimes, reaching a perfect balance between resources and quality is not that simple. Still, it isn’t impossible. There is a number of ways available to have high quality and meet your budget at the same time, and one of them is hiring a boutique localization agency. With a dedicated team, your project will be in safe hands: a tailored localization that won’t get lost among hundreds of other projects.
At Sunstone Localization, we guide you through all the steps of your localization journey, from your initial free consultation with us to the delivery of the outcome. We are experts in software, game, website/eCommerce, marketing, and outdoor sports localization, so do not hesitate and book your no-obligation consultation today.