Translation and Localization Basics for Busy Professionals

Category: Translation Services

Getting a handle on expanding your global business? Here are some pointers to help guide you through the translation/localization process:

Industry Terms

Three words you’re liable to hear around global business expansion are globalization, internationalization, and localization. While they sound as if they might be perfectly interchangeable, understanding the differences is important, as they refer to distinctly separate efforts.

Globalization is the process of developing software, products or digital content that are intended for worldwide markets. There are two components to the process: internationalization (technically enabling the product to be used without language or culture barriers) and localization (alongside translation, localization involves enabling content, such as software or web and mobile applications, for a specific local market). So in a sense, internationalization is a preparatory step which allows a product or service to then be localized for a specific language/culture.

The Process

Localization/translation of apps, software, websites typically have about 20 process stages, beginning with engineering and glossary development and ending with in-context QA (quality assurance) testing. The fundamental component is translation. Quality translation begins with selecting the right language team, typically professional translators and editors who work from English into their native tongue. A solid process includes training the team, developing glossaries and style guides, having an editor review the original translation, and incorporating market preferences and feedback.

Getting Started the Right Way

Before you engage a translation agency to help you with internationalization and localization, you’ll want to have in mind the markets where you think your products are likely to succeed. Once you have identified these strategic markets, you’re ready to proceed.

Next, are your products ready to be localized? Do you have operations in place to handle orders and provide logistical customer support in your new markets? Determining this up front and resolving any potential problems will save you considerable capital down the line.

Finally, you’ll want to compare quotes from localization service providers to make sure that you’re making a decision on who to work with based on an apples-to-apples comparison of services. You’ll want a partner who will take your project across the finish line, including the detail work of in-country review and QA testing.

Internationalization and localization are essential to brand growth and can’t be discounted if your company has hopes of long-term profitability. Our Introduction to Localization white paper gives more detail to consider, as well as our detailed pages on our localization and translation services.