We often talk to prospective clients that are interested in localizing their products and are looking at having their international distributors or value added resellers (VARs) perform their product localization.
Distributors or VARs often hold excellent knowledge of the country they operate in. They are also experts at the products they sell.
The logic that we hear from our prospective clients is that VARs are supposed to add value to the product and localizing it seems like a good place to start. So why involve another party and incur the cost at the corporate level?
Well, there are pros for having your distributors and VARs perform the localization of your product. But these pros are quickly negated by serious cons that companies should not ignore. So make sure you are well informed.
Your resellers’ primary tasks are to promote and sell your product. The staffs that run your distribution channel are sales and field professionals, not professional translators and localizers. Delegating to distributors can lead to the availability of a localized product but at the cost of potentially losing control over time-to-market, ownership and quality.
1. Time-to-Market. Your distributors’ job is to promote and sell. Any other activity that distracts them from doing that is likely to be neglected. As a result, delays are to be expected when distributors are delegated product development tasks such as product localization.
2. Ownership. Ownership may be an issue if you become interested in adding resellers or a direct sales force in the same region as the reseller who has paid for or performed the localization. You may be put in a position to buy back the localized material or to have to re-localize it, inconveniencing your users with two localized versions of your product.
3. Quality. Resellers often do not have the resources, the process knowledge or the experience to perform quality localization. Yes they know the product and its local terminology, but they often lack writing and translation skills, which is over 60% of the localization effort. Counting on them to perform all the localization tasks may have severe consequences on your brand’s quality and reputation in that geographical market.
The best localization process is the one that can benefit from your distributors’ product, terminology and user knowledge without bogging them down with demanding translation tasks.
This is why we always recommend hiring a localization vendor or group that can leverage your distribution channel’s strengths via a translation collaboration portal, while answering to your product development team that is in charge of your product’s release.
After all, it is product development that should be delegated authority over localization and the delivery of your product on schedule and within your corporate quality standards, not your international sales channel!