The One Step that Can Make or Break the Localization Process

You’re looking to take your website or product to a global audience. You’ve developed content, selected translators or a language service provider to translate your content, and after translations are complete, you’ll be ready to publish. While this might sound like the standard localization process, it’s missing a crucial step that has the power to determine whether your localization efforts are a success or failure: in-country review.

The frequently forgotten step

In a study conducted by Lionbridge, “approximately 15 percent of all translation project costs arise from rework, and the primary cause of rework is inconsistent terminology.” It’s a simple concept. Companies that don’t find translation problems until after the content’s gone live will lose money and valuable time because they’re forced to go back and make corrections. These costly setbacks don’t even take into account damage done to the company’s brand should a published translation be interpreted as misleading or offensive.

In-country review is the step of the localization process that mitigates this problem, and instead, presents a localized product that clearly articulates your company’s brand voice, marketing message, and overall product. This type of review utilizes native speakers of your source and target language, ensuring translation quality across all content and channels. Feedback from native speakers goes beyond translating sentences word for word, but ensures the translated content is appropriate in regards to cultural norms and practices.

Keys to succeeding with in-country review

Conducting an in-country review of your content strings isn’t as simple as finding a handful of native speakers. Not everyone has a solid grasp of language, grammar, and syntax, even if they only speak one language. And being a native speaker definitely doesn’t make you a professional, great, or even okay editor, which is why all successful in-country reviews require you to:

Vet translators carefully

As with any other member of your translation team, you’ll want to look for in-country reviewers who have experience doing professional translations. Some familiarity with the translation process is always a plus, too. Those who have worked on a localization project will likely be more in tune with your go-to-market strategy, understand the importance of meeting deadlines, and know how to work with other team members like your localization or product manager. But most importantly, look for in-country reviewers who are fluent in your source and target languages. This way, you can be sure that the nuances of language and things like idioms are properly understood in their source language and translated appropriately.

Communicate your expectations and goals

Translation quality is highly subjective, so setting clear expectations of how you’ll judge content quality and measure success is a key part of a good in-country review process. A few things to communicate to your reviewers include:

  • Brand and tone of voice – Have a meeting with your reviewer to clearly discuss what the voice of your product, service, or company is. Share information about your target customers or users, including how you want them to feel when they read any content associated with your company. This will help make sure the appropriate experience is delivered to your global audience.
  • Product and/or service – By being extremely familiar with your organization’s product or service, your in-country reviewer will be able to make sure that translations are in-line with your offerings. They should be committed to getting to know your product or service, allowing them to present an end product that shows consistency across all platforms in regards to language and tone.
  • Reviewer’s individual role – It’s more effective to define and communicate your reviewer’s role in the overall localization process before they get started. You don’t want them to modify the source content, or remove or add content that was not originally part of the project. Clearly explain their role as a reviewer and help them define what warning signs they should be looking for as they read through your content.
  • Reviewer’s role within the team – Don’t forget to discuss your reviewer’s role with other members of your localization team. Give them ways to directly communicate with one another. For instance, utilizing a localization platform can give your reviewers a chance to give personalized and immediate help to translators to minimize the time spent on subsequent reviews or pieces of content.

Conduct a review of your translator resources

Translator resources can be a great way to save money in the long run, making sure that your translators are using appropriate words and phrases when they translate content for other locales. Yet, many organizations forget to have their in-country reviewers take a look at such resources. Having your translators’ go-to set of resources translated incorrectly is just as bad as not having them at all! Make sure that your in-country reviewers fully understand corporate style guidelines and have them collaborate on the creation of approved materials like your:

Have a plan in place for translation disagreements

As with any team, all your members aren’t always going to agree. Create a process for how reviewers and translators will communicate about a specific translation, and appoint an individual who will be the final decision maker. This helps you consolidate feedback, while also eliminating lengthy arguments and resolving pressing translation issues.

Conduct an in-context review

While not all translators and reviewers have the opportunity to translate and review content in-context, seeing sentences, headlines, and other text elements in their intended page and design layouts can be extremely helpful in the localization process. Using a localization system like Transifex, reviewers can see how content will appear in context and ultimately make decisions to improve overall user experience.

Provide the best localized experience possible

Your in-country reviewers are your language and subject-matter experts, and they’re ultimately responsible for judging translation quality. When you think about it like that, in-country review is a step in the localization process that can’t be swept under the rug.

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