Localization is the process of molding your products and services to meet the needs of the local market. This doesn’t mean modifying your product features or service deliverables (in certain cases it is necessary to do this); it typically alludes to ensuring the messaging is localized in the native language spoken by your target audience and that the products and services meet the cultural expectations of the people you wish to target.
It helps your business expand its market and gain a competitive edge. Trust and loyalty are the immediate outcomes of localization. So, how do you go about choosing the right localization partner? Here are a few considerations you must keep in mind for this purpose:
Identify your localization needs and work out your localization objectives. You must be clear what you hope to achieve with localization. So begin by identifying the various assets you want to localize including websites, mobile apps, eBooks, infographics, etc. Also identify the non-digital assets that include company brochures, annual reports and more that will need to go through the localization process as well. This is important because you need to work with a localization service provider who is an expert in handling all your requirements.
You will need to work with a localization partner with specific capabilities, and you won’t know what capabilities to look for if you haven’t identified your needs.
If you want to break into a new market, you must ensure your messaging assets speak in the local language, otherwise, your target audience will have very little faith in the message you want to convey. This is where translation comes in to help localize your messaging. However, it is also important that the translation experts who work on your projects understand the cultural nuances of the region and keep these in mind during translation; this improves content acceptability.
You also need to ensure that the translators working on your projects are knowledgeable about the sector your business belongs to so that they understand and translate the various terms perfectly.
If you are using videos and mobile apps to convey your brand messaging or product/service information to your audience, you must localize these two mediums as well. It requires special localization skillsets to localize both.
While you mustn’t choose your localization partner keeping only the cost perspective in mind, it is impractical not to have a budget while making your choice. Ideally, you must focus on the quality perspective and then move on to cost. Make sure you are working with a localization partner who has a proven track record of delivering accurate and meaningful localization.
How do you make sure about their track record? Demand references; contact these references and ask them pertinent questions about the kind of localization services they received and were they happy with it. Moreover, look out for testimonials and reviews about their services from well-known companies.
There are many occasions when you will need a particular localization project to be handled quickly. You will be on a tight schedule, and your localization partner must have the extra bandwidth to take up your project and deliver it within a very short time frame. So, make sure you work with someone who is able to take care of such requirements.
There is also the matter of meeting deadlines during the normal course of events. An ideal localization company has a history of not keeping clients waiting. For them, a deadline is sacrosanct and they don’t delay project delivery.
The localization services provider must be able to scale as per your business needs; either scale up or down. They need to be able to handle workloads of varying sizes; you don’t want to end up in a situation wherein you want the company to handle more projects for you, but they can’t. In such cases, you will be left scrambling to search for another localization services provider.
What diverse skill sets does the localization partner bring to the table? Can this partner help you localize in multiple languages? Does this partner also offer other key localization services like transcription, voice-overs, and subtitles? If the answer to these questions is yes, you know you have the much-needed flexibility for drill-down localization. Your localization goals shouldn’t be hampered by the inability of your localization company to offer certain services.
We have saved the most important consideration for the last. A good localization partner always keeps context at the forefront while offering localizing services. What this means is that a particular document cannot be translated verbatim. One must also consider the region, and the overall environment it targets, during translation.
The background for localization is as important as localization itself. An expert in localization tries to understand the rationale behind localization and its objectives; the kind of cultural barriers that need to be overcome during localization; how localization can be in sync with the expectations of a particular target audience from a particular business that offers certain products/services and so on and so forth.
Today, the world of business has become hyper-competitive. In order to grow your business, you must grow in new markets and in order to do that you must localize. The growth of your business and its profitability is directly proportional to your ability to do that. Take this process seriously and work with only the best localization partner.
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