Arriving at a website that wasn’t intended for you can feel a lot like traveling to a foreign country you hadn’t planned to visit.
You don’t recognize the currency or know the exchange rate. You struggle to read the signs. You scan the landscape for something familiar, but nothing seems to be where you expect it to be.
If you’ve ever experienced this, you already understand the importance of localization, even if you’re not exactly sure what it means.
Translation and localization are often considered one and the same, but these terms actually mean two different things. Whereas translation is the process of converting text from one language to another, localization is the entire process of adapting a product or content to a specific location or market.
Localization also involves other elements, including:
- Modifying graphics and design to properly display translated text.
- Changing content to suit preferences.
- Converting to local currencies and units of measurement.
- Using proper formatting for elements such as dates, addresses, and phone numbers.
- Addressing local regulations and legal requirements.
In short, localization gives something the look and feel expected by the target audience.
But where to begin? Any successful localization project requires careful planning and attention to detail.
15 Questions to Answer Before You Start
The old saying, “measure twice, cut once,” is a good rule to follow when you’re trying to reach a global audience.
If you want to ensure that your products are ready for a global launch, you first need to define a localization strategy that meets your long-term goals.
Here are 15 critical questions to ask yourself before you embark on a localization project.
- Have you done sufficient research on your target market to ensure your products or services will meet consumer expectations?
- Have you established global branding guidelines?
- Have you accounted for international differences that could impact the launch of your product and/or website, such as the fact that some languages read right to left and take up more space than others?
- How does your company’s market position factor into your localization needs? For instance, are you a market leader, a high-quality supplier known for setting the industry standard, or a low-cost alternative?
- What target markets and languages do you need?
- What products and components will you localize
- What are the legal, regulatory, liability, and commercial requirements in your target market or markets?
- What is your timeline?
- What is your budget?
- What level of consistency and quality do you need?
- What is the likelihood and extent of ongoing updates?
- How often do you expect to have new products that need localization?
- Are there engineering or functionality concerns to consider?
- Are there specific requirements or guidelines that need to be considered in the process?
- Are the source formats compatible with the languages in your target markets?
Clearly defining the scope of your project first will make it easier to request a quote for your localization project and compare vendors.
Read Our E-Book
Our new e-book, Preparing for Localization, is designed to assist you in defining the scope of your localization project. It will help you ask fundamental questions, avoid common mistakes, and save costs from the outset.
It will also walk you through the steps to localizing your content for diverse audiences while creating new revenue opportunities.
We invite you to download the guide today.