Localization has long been accepted as a subtle yet powerful way of maintaining consistent global brand messaging.
Launching a new product or service in a number of countries presents a series of challenges, as groups have to make sure their branding meets the linguistic, cultural and other requirements of speciﬁc target markets.
The best localization will go unnoticed as it means a company’s marketing activities will make the product or service seem indigenous. However, if this process is going to be successful, effective project management is required.
Here are some top tips for localization project management:
Hire experienced subject specialist translators
When looking for the right translation agency, opting for a firm with experience in the specific type of content you are localizing is advised. For example, an IT company’s marketing materials will not only include industry and brand specific terminology but also a specific corporate writing style, so writers need to have a good understanding of this sector-specific language and understanding of the brand if they are going to localize it successfully. Research should also be conducted to ascertain what processes the translators use, including whether or not they include separate translation and editing by independent linguists, and how many review and change rounds they include.
Building a brand presence doesn’t happen overnight so organizations also need to consider their overall global online strategy. Author Michael Kriz, who has more than 20 years experience in the translation and localization industry, said search engine optimization (SEO) needs to be tied in to a website’s localization efforts. Among the questions he thinks brands should ask are: How does each section of the website relate to international markets? He concluded that website localization should be fitted into a complete globalization plan.
Keep the bigger picture in mind and set realistic goals
It can be very easy to get carried away with a localization project and focus on one small issue which then holds up the entire project. The overarching objectives should therefore be kept in mind. For example, how will product references, key terminology and images be handled? As the project manager, you also need to bear in mind deadlines and budgets and be careful not to set unrealistic goals.
Plan for testing
According to Mr Kriz, the testing stage is often “overlooked and undervalued”, despite the fact it is an essential localization best-practice. Firstly, organizations need to decide who is going to be responsible for testing the content. The relevant sample data and third-party applications will also need to be made available to testers. Tests should focus on linguistic elements as well as functionality. A further cosmetic check, which looks at the aesthetic elements and considers the cultural appropriateness of the content bearing in mind the target markets, should also be carried out.
Review your results and make an improvement plan
Lessons can always be learned from localization projects. Once it has been completed, make sure to review what worked well and what didn’t. By constantly looking for areas of improvement, firms can make sure they are well prepared to deliver more effectively the next time around. Facilitating future localization projects needs to be at the back of every manager’s mind.