How to build an effective localization strategy?
As soon as a company decides to grow and expand internationally, the localization process becomes essential. The accurate-adopted content, culture-oriented communication, and unique selling point ensure that the company reaches relevant audiences with the correct language at the right time. Localization requires a clear understanding of users' needs and cultural sensitivities. It must consider various factors, such as the target audience's expectations, preferences, habits, etc. A successful localization strategy involves careful planning and collaboration among C-level, marketing, development, analytics, and other teams. This article will discuss some of the most important factors to consider when developing a localization strategy for your business.
What is the localization strategy?
A localization strategy includes the direction for the company's communication with the new audience, correct content adaptation (images, texts, etc.), marketing campaigns, design (UI/UX), and other elements. It also includes optimizing marketing channels, purchasing policies, pricing systems, etc.
How to build a successful localization strategy?
Building the localization strategy is a complex challenge that requires time, a professional team, and budgeting. This process aims to prepare:
- a clear understanding of your product and industry on the other local market;
- a transparent timeline and scope of work;
- exact steps to reach goals and KPIs.
Stage 1. Analytics
At this stage, you need to research all the information about the target market, audience, and competitors deeply. Clarify the following things:
- is your product relevant in this region;
- does your product fit cultural values;
- what language(s) are preferable in the region? (For example, in Switzerland, German is spoken by about 60%, French by about 20%, and Italian by about 8% of the country's population.) Read more about interesting language facts on our twitter.
- Who will be your customers, and what are the differences between the current audience and the new (from financial, social, etc. sides)?
- How significant is the market share of your product?
- How your competitors talk to the clients?
- What services do your competitors use for payments, call scheduling, etc?
- What advantages and disadvantages your product has in comparison with other providers?
Also, you need to calculate your resources (team members, working hours you can spend on localization) and timeline. Decide how many additional costs you can allocate to the localization tools and employees like translators, local experts, etc.
Stage 2. Planning
Once you have all the data, let's plan what will be localized. In this list besides your product can be included:
- help documentation;
- marketing content (decide if you will create additional social media pages for the region, adapt tutorials, informational videos, presentations, etc.)
- sales content - unique selling propositions, pitches, emails, presentations, etc.;
- visual content (images, symbols, etc.;)
- other content (currencies, day and time format.)
With the information from the first two stages, you will have clear answers to the following questions:
- Where will you promote the product?
- For whom will you promote the product?
- What are the nuances of the new market?
- How much work is expected?
- What resources do you already have?
- What additional resources does your product need to be localized in time?
Stage 3. Unification
Great, you already know how to talk to your customers, have planned the scope of work, and are ready to start. Wait a little more.
Localization is a long-term process that means different people will work on it at different times. An example, you will need to hire extra translators in the middle of the process or adapt one more landing page after the launch. One more situation - imagine if your sales and marketing team will use different narratives in the communication process with clients.
You must create the exact rules to ensure understanding inside the team and between your product and customers. In the localization process, it can be:
- Style guide. The document will detail all audiences (age, category, etc.) and the linguistic rules for talking with them (tone of voice, grammatical person, and so on.)
- Term base or glossary. This document will prevent a list of issues with titles, untranslated word usage, and proper names.) Additionally, you can add the right keywords for multilingual SEO to cut time in the future.
Style guide and term base allow you to include the new team members anytime without long immersion into business processes (an example is when you want to hire a freelance translator.) You will be sure your team understands the business audiences and uses the same vocabulary for communication.
Stage 4. Choose the right tool for localization
Of course, you can say that you do not need any tools. Your developers manually upload files, managers check all documents, and translators work in the spreadsheets. Moreover, you have all the project info inside Google Drive. What bad can happen? Spoiler - all.
Without the localization tool, your team spends time on manual tasks and, consequently, fires the budget. Translators make human mistakes and break the developers' files, and managers focus on error checking rather than planning and coordinating tasks. The appropriate application will help you avoid a pool of problems and make your localization effective for you and your teams.
At Lingohub, we say - you create, Lingohub translate. And this is not an empty phrase. We continuously improve the Lingohub application to cover all possible scenarios and support customers. Let’s take a look how the process works with and without TMS.
Automate localization with:
- repositories and other tools integrations (GitHub, Gitlab, Figma, Azure, etc.);
- translation memory that allows your team no longer translate the same text twice;
- term base, which provides the appropriate term spelling;
Control localization with:
- detailed reports;
- contracts for translators;
- customizable notifications;
- translation history.
Prevent issues with:
- customizable quality checks;
- style guides;
- proofreading service;
Save time with:
- machine translation;
- automatically costs calculation;
- professional translators service;
And that's not all. Branching support, ability to control the user roles, security opportunities (two-factor authentication, SSO, etc.) All these features and many others support developers, designers, translators, and managers on their way.
A well-designed localization strategy is hours of analysis and planning for different teams. The more responsible you approach this process, the more likely your project will be recognized in the new market, and the localization process will go smoothly and on time. One of the critical aspects is also the suitable localization software choice. The right TMS (translation management software) will cut costs by automation, provide a single source of truth for all the teams, and simplify the entire process.
If you have questions about your project or need more information about Lingohub, our team is always in touch. Book the demo, and let's grow together!