Localization metrics: Key KPIs to track

By Acclaro
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Localization Metrics

Measuring the performance of your localization program is key for success. The right metrics can show you what’s working and what can be improved, help you maintain quality standards, and make sure you’re getting the most from your localization investment. 

Perhaps most importantly, carefully thought-out measurement can help you demonstrate the value of localization to the larger organization and make the case for continued—or increased—investment in your program.

What localization KPIs should you track?

Deciding how you’ll measure the performance of your localization efforts is an important part of your strategy. There are many different kinds of KPIs you can use. Choose metrics that align with the goals of your program to get the insights you need for further optimization. 

Consider commonly used localization metrics 

Typically, your translation vendor will partner with you to establish KPIs that are important for tracking your localization program’s performance. Together, you will regularly review these key metrics to ensure your program runs optimally. Below are some KPIs that are frequently used to evaluate localization. These metrics can provide a solid foundation of information on quality, cost, efficiency, timing, and customer satisfaction. 

  • Turnaround time—Delivering localized products and content on schedule is crucial for retaining customers, protecting your company’s reputation, and maintaining your competitive advantage. Tracking turnaround time can give you insight into how efficient the translation process is and where there’s room for improvement.
  • Spend by language/market—To understand the return on investment (ROI) for your localization program, you need to know how much it costs. The industry-standard metric for tracking the cost of translation is spend by language (or market). These costs will vary depending on the method of translation you’re using. For example, machine translation will be less expensive than human translation. 
  • Throughput rate—This KPI measures the rate at which a translation moves through the entire process from start to finish. It provides visibility into how efficient your workflow is and also helps you understand how much capacity is available for translations. 
  • Percent first-time qualityQuality translations are a must for connecting with your audiences. There are a number of different metrics you can track to ensure quality. This specific KPI helps you assess how error-free the translation process is, so you can course correct if necessary. 
  • Percent translation error rate—This quality metric allows you to assess the overall quality of translation. It reflects a variety of possible errors, including typos, misspellings, punctuation mistakes, incorrect or awkward translation, and incorrect use of industry or technical terminology. 
  • Percent of translation milestones completed on time—To keep your localization efforts on schedule, you need your translation team to meet key milestones. This metric helps you understand how often that’s happening and whether the translation process needs fine tuning.
  • Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)—Done right, localization helps your organization win and retain customers. You can use a CSAT survey to get insight into how satisfied customers are with your localized products and content. This feedback can point out areas where further optimization may be required.

A closer look at some additional localization KPIs

If you find that the metrics described above aren’t giving you the complete picture you need, here are some other KPIs you may want to consider tracking:

Average language quality score

Quality translations are crucial to the success of your program, and this metric can help ensure your standards are being met. It’s calculated by dividing the total errors (often with weighting) by the total word count. 

This KPI is a good fit for localization efforts because it helps make sure that clients, localization agencies, and translators all share the same expectations for quality. If there are recurring translation issues, this metric can help to identify them.  

Pass/fail rate and first pass yield

This metric can be approached in a few ways. You can divide the total passed tests by the total number of tests. Alternatively, it can be calculated as the total accepted jobs divided by the total number of jobs. 

Tracking this KPI can help incentivize your localization team to deliver quality translations consistently, which is important for retaining customers and maintaining your company’s reputation. 

Resolution rate

This quality metric gives insight into how well your localized products or content assets are working for the people who matter the most: your customers. It’s calculated by dividing the total escalations by the total number of localized products or materials. A downside to resolution rate is that it can be difficult to measure, but if you are able to track this KPI, it can help point out weaknesses in your localization program, so you can further refine your processes. 

Get insights from a full-service translation and localization partner

Effectively measuring your program’s performance can help you ensure quality, uncover opportunities for improvement, get the most from your localization spend, and demonstrate the value of your initiative to the larger organization. It all starts with choosing the right metrics to track. 

An experienced translation and localization agency will partner with you throughout the entire process—from strategy and implementation to tracking KPIs and optimizing your program. We’ve worked with some of the world’s leading brands, helping them measure the performance of their localization efforts so they can build on their success.

Want to learn more about how Acclaro can help you achieve your localization goals? Contact us today.

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