As we put the year behind us, it is important that we learn from the lessons acquired throughout the past before we forge ahead into the next. Here are ten New Year’s localization resolutions that you can make – and keep – to ease your localization efforts throughout the year.
- Quality Assessment
Perform an honest evaluation of how your localization efforts went in the previous year. Go through your projects, one at a time, and provide feedback to your localization staff and technical translation services vendor. Remember that localization is a two-way street: Unless your localization team gets feedback from your end users on its efforts, improvement will not be seen as necessary.
- Financial Assessment
Identify how much you spent on localization in the previous year. Be sure to include internal and external expenditures. This will give you a starting point in identifying the budgets you need for the next year. Keep in mind that although previous translations will be reused, as your localization requirements and markets grow, you may need to grow your budgets with them.
- Geographical Assessment
Identify the countries you localized for and break down how much translation/localization money was spent for each. Then try to estimate the revenues that you can attribute to the translations done for each of these countries. This could be difficult to pinpoint, given that revenue generation depends on many factors. Just use your judgment and experience to arrive at meaningful numbers. It will be worth the effort: These numbers will be critical as you explain the current localization budget allocation to your international sales force, saving you endless friction and resistance.
- Priority Assessment
Classify your geographical regions according to three tiers, with Tier 1 being the most important. For instance, Tier 1 might be English, German, Chinese and Japanese; Tier 2, French, Italian and Spanish; and Tier 3, Polish, Czech, and Russian. Knowing what regions fall into which tiers will help you set priorities, budgets, schedules, and resources. And finally, be sure to get upper management to approve these priorities.
- Strategy Assessment
Evaluate your localization strategies for each tier. You may find that for Tier 1 regions, simultaneous ship is a requirement, while Tier 3 markets can lag others by up to three months. Given your needs, you can identify the best localization strategies (such as integrated, coupled or over-the-wall) for each market. (Refer to Your Localization Strategy Should Evolve with Your Needs, for more information.) Decoupling language localization strategies can save you money and allow for easier management of your time and resources.
- Process Assessment
Evaluate your localization process for each strategy. You may need to adapt your current processes to meet the specific needs of the different approaches. For example, an ftp hand-off of localization kits, terminology, and translation databases will be acceptable for the over-the-wall approach, while an integrated approach may require an Translation Management Solution to handle these tasks.
- Plans Assessment
Review your project plans for the new year and make sure your localization budgets fund them appropriately. If you target new regions requiring new languages or if you have new products to localize, there will be a big ramp-up costs associated with the new languages and products.
- Internal Resources Assessment
Augment resources as needed to cover all requirements. Make sure that your internal resources and partners can handle any new languages or requirements that you may decide to add. Being plugged into your company’s strategic international planning is essential.
- Vendors Assessment
Expand your reach by evaluating new solutions or vendors if needed. Do not wait until the last minute – when you are in the heat of a new release – to start looking. This will save you from having to accept a less-than-optimal solution.
- Communication Channels Assessment
Check your communication channels and contact your localization team and technical translation services vendor. Bring them into the picture with your goals and plans as early as possible. The more informed and integrated your vendors are, the better prepared they will be to meet your needs.
Managing and releasing localized products doesn’t have to be a stressful endeavor. Armed with these resolutions, you will be well prepared to face the year and the tasks ahead without compromising your health or your holiday schedule. From all of us at GlobalVision International, we want to wish you the best of luck throughout the new year!