Many executives still underestimate the importance of a streamlined localization process when they target their global markets. They think about localization as a translation step that any person knowledgeable with the required new language can handle. Wrong! And allow me to tell you why in layman’s terms.
1. Cost: What will happen during your next release?
OK, for simplicity sake let us assume that all it takes is a person that knows the required language and can perform the translation (to be proven not the case below), what will you do when your next product or website release is out? Would you be able to engage a person to perform the necessary additions, changes and updates in the required language? How will this person know where they are? Are you going to ask your product development and marketing staff to keep track of every change they make to your product and web pages or will you be translating everything all over again?
The initial localization has to be implemented in a streamlined process that deals with text updates and can accurately and efficiently leverage previously translated text.
2. Quality: What if your product contains a software component?
Many products today come with a software interface. Products spanning from your basic home appliances to the most advanced electronic and manufacturing equipment use software to operate. Even your garage door opener today operates from a smartphone app! Websites, where products are marketed, are developed with HTML/XML/Java/PHP/Flash… and many other software development environments. Companies that are not in the software development and publishing domain are finding themselves required to deal with software development. Once you go global, you have to deal with localizing that software!
What most don’t realize is that translating a Microsoft Word document is different from localizing a software application. With software files, text to be translated is interlaced with code. Involving someone not knowing what strings to translate (the part that displays to the user) and what strings NOT to translate (the code that runs the app), is like asking a carpenter to perform chiropractic surgery! A simple mistake will render your app unusable, or kill the patient!
3. Schedule: Is Time-to-Global-Market important?
If time-to-market is important, then time-to-global-market is also as important! Delays in international releases will disappoint your international customers and set your revenues back disappointing your investors! A streamlined localization process will enable you to perform simultaneous product and marketing campaign roll outs around the world increasing your international product life cycle.
Product localization is both a science and an art. Don’t underestimate the challenges involved and hire translation and software localization professionals that can help you streamline your localized product release lowering costs, improving product quality, and meeting your global time-to-market needs.