You have put a lot of effort into your eCommerce platform so that it’s engaging and generates sales. If you enter global markets, you want to make sure that it stays that way, but does that necessarily mean recreating your entire platform for every market you’re considering? Not exactly. Here, we present five considerations to help maximize your time and budget.
1. Review your product catalog: Most localization agencies charge per word. If you have a product catalog with hundreds of products, that could mean hundreds of thousands of words for translation. While it’s not always possible to reduce content (although, as we mentioned in an earlier post, this can be a great way to get tangible budget reductions), a quick review of your products and their in-market use may reveal some corners to cut. For example, U.S. legal paper-sized portfolios won’t sell well in Europe, where A4 paper size is the norm.
2. Consolidate your content: When localizing, the number of your English files will multiply by the number of languages you are considering. If you give a localization agency 400 individual files with content for translation into 6 languages, then you will likely have 2,400 files to manage after it’s done. Increased file engineering time by the localization agency on dozens or hundreds of files multiplied by several languages can make costs skyrocket. To save money on file management, ask your content development team to try and consolidate the number of files where your English content lives.
3. Take a look at your code: Back in June of 2012 we blogged about some ways to save money on software localization. While you may not consider your eCommerce platform to be the same as, say, a tech-heavy user interface, they may share some of the same features. Talk with your developers to see if you might have some red flags that will lengthen or complicate the translation process before you send files off for translation.
4. Batch language rollout in stages: Like paring down your product catalog or consolidating files, you can reduce the initial impact of your localization budget if you can start out with a pilot language, or a small group of languages. We know what you may be thinking: Well, won’t that mean I’ll just have to start from square one when I add other languages later on? Not exactly — your translation agency will likely use translation memory software which can track and leverage internal sentence or phrase repetitions, resulting in instant savings on new languages. Also any reference materials created along the way, like glossaries, style guides, or test plans, can be easily repurposed for new languages, saving money on having to recreate them each time.
5. Put testing to the test: Preflight testing is important in English, and especially so in translation, since languages can often present their own unique challenges, as we talked about in an earlier post. One thing that will increase testing costs is testing the full application on every in-country browser and platform for your release. Instead, you may want to consider a mixture of full-feature testing on select browsers and platforms, and “smoke testing” (for basic or critical features and functionality) on others.