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Planning a Successful Localization Project

localization projects

Last updated on May 17th, 2021 at 06:31 pm

Planning a Successful Localization Project

If you’re reading this blog right now, chances are, you’re interested in taking your website, product or service global. 

Maybe you’ve received instructions to translate your website into multiple languages to satisfy the growing international interest and demand in your company’s offerings.  You might’ve gotten the green light for your product or service to reach the Hispanic, Chinese, and Arabic markets around the world.  Or perhaps, you’re simply curious.

Whichever of these scenarios you fit into- you’re likely asking yourself- How would I begin the process of reaching my customers in those markets?  The answer to this question- and more- depends on how you plan your localization process. 

Questions To Ask Yourself During the Localization Process

Localization is the process that makes your content culturally appropriate to the potential customers you want to reach.  The translation process cannot begin without you first understanding who your target audience is!  The first question you must answer, is- What target markets and languages do I need?

Once you’ve identified your target audience and language(s), you’ll need to research into and answer- What are the legal, regulatory, liability, and commercial requirements in the target markets?   

Hopefully, your company has set aside a budget and timeline within which to complete the localization project.  What is my timeline? What is my budget?  As you continue to plan, you may see the need to adjust your budget, or request for additional time to assure a successful localization process. 

Now, you must determine how much work needs to be done- Which products and components will I localize?  Clearly indicate and provide the webpages, product labels (instructions & descriptions), and any other source documents.  This will provide us with a good idea of how long the localization process will take, and help us plan for the resources to accommodate your set timeline and budget. 

Other Crucial Considerations

For some translations from English into another language, it takes either more or less words to convey the same idea.  You will need to plan for the expansion or contraction of the translated content, a big part of website and product appearance.  This needs to be addressed with someone that has experience with multilingual desktop publishing.  English translations into Chinese will result in plenty of space as it takes less characters to convey an idea.  On the other hand, translations into Spanish may result in lack of space. 

Now, for the more technical aspects:  Are there engineering and functionality considerations to take into account?  These technicalities are the backbone that supports your website to make it work and run properly.  There are several approaches to choose from that can help you with the technical aspects, research into them to determine the best option for you. 

Plan Ahead for Success!

These are just some of the basic questions you must ask yourself as you plan the localization process.  Is it a lot to consider?  Yes.  Will your time and attention be worth it?  Absolutely.  The key is to plan ahead!  The more time you devote to answering these questions, the better we can work as a team in delivering a successful localization project, with all the stake holders and activities required to help take your company global! 

Flora Yu
Flora Yu
Flora was born and raised in New York to parents from Hong Kong and Taiwan. She has a degree in Accounting. She is fluent in Mandarin, and contributes a unique perspective as someone who was raised in 2 different cultures. She finds humor and opportunities to learn as she constantly searches for the balance between the East and West.