When to Localize My Software?

Algorithm To apply justifying localization and translation costs

Software Localization ROI

We recently received the following email from one of our European prospective clients. It desperately presents the real problems in how customers ask when to localize my software?

“Apart from the UK, we are currently active to varying degrees in a number of overseas markets including France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ukraine, Russia, Scandinavia, the Middle East and Australasia opens in a new window. Where translations have been required, we have hitherto conducted this activity in partnership with our agent resident in the territory in question.

Problem With Delegating to Suppliers

While this approach has yielded satisfactory results, however, it has to be said that the timescales have generally been unacceptably protracted. This has been due, in part, to the fact that the translator invariably has other day-to-day responsibilities and cannot devote his or her entire attention to the task and to the rather haphazard approach they have to proof reading, which then combine to totally disrupt workflow on other projects.

Regulations and Liability

Of course, not only does accurate and timely translation make good business sense, within the ever enlarging EC it is a legal requirement – albeit a rather poorly policed one – and I constantly worry about the implications of being found wanting in whichever territory we are failing to provide the correct documentation.

Having been responsible for technical publications service for twelve years, during which time I have made myself something of a tiresome burden with regard to this particular issue, it would be true to say that there has been a distinct lack of enthusiasm to pursue things in a more professional manner.

Glimer of Hope

Software Localization

Recently, however, I have received approval to investigate the costings for translating our documentation. This is still a long way from where we should be and no promises are being made but perhaps it represents some cause for hope.

With this in mind and as a means of keeping the concept as high on the agenda as possible, I should be grateful if you would cost the attached operator’s manual. With this project being at such an early and, dare I say, tender stage I hope you will appreciate that I can offer little confidence that a real task will be immediately forthcoming. But if we don’t push it, nothing will ever happen until some EC apparatchik lowers the legislative boom on us and that could make the cost of translation look like very small beer indeed.”

Algorithm To Apply Justifying Localization

I decide to publish his email almost in its entirety because it is very well written and it accurately represents the mood towards localization for many companies. It also confirms our writings in earlier articles and whitepapers when we suggested applying the following decision-making algorithm:

IF Localization_Cost < Opportunity + Liability
THEN Localize
ELSE Invest_elsewhere

In short, always remember to factor in the liability component when making your case for product localization. It doubles your chances of doing what is right for your company and its clients!

How to Plan & Budget Translation Projects Whitepaper

Whitepaper – How to Plan & Budget for Translation & Localization Projects? opens in a new window

This whitepaper presents you with straight forward metrics that will help you determine the budget and schedules needed for translation and localization projects. Don’t request a bid without reading it first! Get it now for free!!

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