Localization is a complicated name people use to be able to charge more for translation. Yes, this thesis is a gross and ridiculous oversimplification in addition to being factually incorrect, you will argue. You could say that localization is far more than translation for it involves:
Most companies didn’t think about globalization before designing their corporate training curriculum. Maybe you hired instructional designers to conduct training in English, and you’ve gotten years of good use out of those modules. You never thought to design an elearning curriculum that could be deployed to users in Germany, Colombia, or mainland China.
Now that your enterprise is going global, you realize quickly that elearning content is incredibly difficult to localize—and you don’t have the tools you need to do the job.
It's 4:42 pm on a Wednesday. We are scheduled to launch globally on Monday but one of my support engineers opened critical bugs regarding translation quality in one of my product languages. It's like code red. Alarms going off, automatic doors sealing themselves off. This is major!
Why Localization Is Important: And the Terrible Job We Have Done over the Years at Cultivating Its Value
Localization is crucial to global corporations. There simply is no doing global business without it. But somehow over the years, our industry has not done a good job at showcasing this relevance and promoting its own value.
Localization can be a minefield. With one misstep you can end up with a catastrophic cost explosion. Another misstep may put you on a disorganized path with poor-quality results. So, how can you avoid such dangerous pitfalls?
Localization mistakes are easy to make, but they are not inevitable. Keep an eye out for some of the common stumbling blocks startups encounter. With the right localization tools and best practices, you can launch without making these costly mistakes. And a smooth start will help you achieve faster and greater success.
Most content localization services aren’t being transparent with their offerings or their operations.
Language service providers (LSPs) across the board market themselves as full-scale solutions. But the localization tools they offer range from woefully basic to impressively high-tech. It’s almost impossible to spot the differences without actually sitting down and talking with them.
Even worse, many of the big players in the localization industry still operate behind a thick curtain of obscurity, never revealing to clients what they’re doing behind the scenes with translation, with technology, or in the interests of their own bottom line.
Time and time again I see people trying to solve their localization management problems by bringing people in-house. The translation quality is bad. Bring in in-house reviewers. The translation quality is still bad. Bring in in-house translators. Project Management is awful. Bring in in-house project managers. And so it goes.
Localization is an ongoing relationship that works best when it starts early. Often, app developers or product managers who are considering how to implement localization in Android expect to engage with a localization partner only once they’ve got everything ready on their end. This is a mistake in the long run.
Localization best practices show that you attain the greatest success when localization experts are involved in the conceptualization and design phase, right through implementation and for the long haul. Localization in Android is an ongoing engagement with a partner that gets your company, your brand, and your product. And your ideal partner will work with you continuously to refine both technology and language as you grow.
Running a localization program at any company is no small feat. Executives rarely give a damn. It's not a revenue generator, but it could be a revenue blocker. It doesn't solve problems, but it can introduce a myriad of them. Life is not easy for a localization manager.
Localization is one of the most crucial steps toward product globalization. It’s also known for being time consuming, expensive, and prone to cause delays in development. Because of this, many product managers remain wary of localization. You don’t have time to babysit an extensive in-house process between 48-hour development sprints. But with the right product globalization solutions, you won’t have to.