Translation and localization project management can be cumbersome and disorganized, with a lot of effort spent and no assurance that work is being done efficiently—or done well. Alternatively, localization management can be streamlined, optimized, and transparent. Ideally, you would be able to watch the progress of individual projects while working on higher-level challenges, making the best possible contribution to your organization. The difference is in how you approach the planning from this point forward.
The scene opens on you, a newly hired localization manager at a major enterprise. You inherit a fairly extensive localization setup: established CMS software, a CAT tool, and a couple of translation vendors. If you’re really lucky, your welcome package also comes with a fully integrated localization platform. If not, at least you’ve got the basic technology you need to start localizing with some level of efficiency.
When most people think of content management systems (CMS), they think about content generation and content deployment, not necessarily content transformations. When it comes time to take your company global, will you be prepared? It’s better to plan ahead with a global content management system (GCMS) than to retroactively prepare your content and your workflows once you’re already in full swing. When you engage with an integrated platform, it turns your content management system into a global ecosystem.
When most clients ask for transcreation, what they really need is high-quality translation.
You should expect translated content to be idiomatic, fluid, and nuanced—to sound natural in the target locale. That’s what good translation looks and feels like. Within the context of a content localization management system, high-quality translation is the result of high-quality support technology. Style guides, terminology management procedures, and brand resources all contribute to making translation sound fully local and generate more leads.
Transcreation, on the other hand, is something entirely different—and you shouldn’t have to pay a premium for transcreation when excellent localization will do.
It’s hard to judge the quality of a translation in a language you don’t understand. You’ll figure it out eventually, but there are always consequences of bad translation. If it’s no more than a delay in your production schedule or a string of complaints, you’re lucky. Bad translation could be the reason you're not breaking into a market. Or worse, it could be the reason your reputation plummets.
So your choice of language service provider (LSP) is a huge decision with lasting consequences. There are warning signs when a translation company may not be providing the level of service you expect.
There are two main ways of managing software localization for global business:
→ You can organize your team’s workflow, make outlines of processes, hire language specialists, and create a system that will ensure high-quality, prompt localization for all software updates in all the markets you enter. It will be a herculean task that will occupy your complete attention—not just for a one-off project but for your product’s long life.
→ The alternative is to integrate with a system that is already operating and has been sharpened for maximum efficiency and transparency. Instead of thinking about flowcharts for years and hunting people down to QA your adapted product in various languages, you can take advantage of automated processes and leave the translations and quality management to the localization experts.
Localizing social media content is fairly straightforward. Each blurb, image, and video could easily be fed through a localization platform and translated into any number of languages. The challenge—for both established enterprises and startups that are just beginning to globalize—is to allocate resources efficiently so that social media localization doesn’t absorb all of your time and money.
So, you've got a killer website in English, and you're about ready to launch translated versions in a handful of markets around the world. You invested in a CMS that boasts handy automated solutions for multilingual versioning. But what you may not be anticipating is that the new pages with translated content will not be assigned a searchable URL. This is going to undermine the whole endeavor. It doesn't matter how great your site may be—even in translation. If there isn't a search-engine-optimized (SEO) way for people to find it, they won't. They can’t.
Many organizations reach a point in their development when they are ready to expand internationally but are hesitant to take the plunge. They may have little grasp of how to localize content for foreign markets—no idea where to start. Localization takes great time, money, and effort, and you’re right to proceed cautiously. Expert guidance can be a huge benefit as you become an international business, especially to tackle the intricacies of localization.
In the gig economy of online translation, linguists face a daunting set of challenges. Stable work is often hard to come by. Even with a secure position, it’s often hard to find opportunities that offer compensation commensurate with your experience. Whether you freelance for LSPs or contract directly with end clients, you’re likely to experience a different set of creative and logistical obstacles. Let’s face it: it can be tough for professionals who want to get paid to translate.