Global companies are finding it harder to reach their intended audiences as competition increases; therefore it is more important now to know what to look for when hiring a localization partner. Online content continues to increase and more clients are looking to include multimedia on their websites. The idea is to grab the attention of the target audiences through various creative means across different platforms to give them a more interactive online experience.
Localization therefore becomes more demanding. Aside from written content, there is new demand to localize multimedia content. Localizing multimedia means the process of adapting different types of digital content to the preferences and needs of different cultures, which is different from written content localization. It takes more work and a bigger budget as multimedia files require translation of the script or providing subtitles, producing animation to conform to local requirements, doing testing as well as quality assurance to ensure the smooth delivery of the multimedia content.
Taking these things into consideration, how should a client find the right partner to make their localization project work? The usual method is to find a language service provider or LSP. Now you also have to find an LSP with more capabilities.
Capabilities of localization partners
Localization is a big investment thus it is critical to find the right localization partner before you start your project. Looking at the quality of translation service the LSP provides is a given. Other things to consider are their capabilities for transcreation, languages they work with, knowledge of cultural sensitivities as well as the capability to enhance the site’s SEO.
1. Localizing videos
As mentioned earlier, adding multimedia content is getting popular to entice potential audiences. Although younger consumers do not mind videos in other languages, it is still critical to localize video content to ensure that local culture is properly depicted. The localization partner must be aware of the nuances of culture and provide you direction and tips to adapt your message so that it could be used anywhere.
You should find a localization partner that can create videos that are local-centric so you can communicate successfully with your intended audiences within specific cultures to minimize re-editing. This means that the localization partner should be capable of offering a full suite of video production services for the global market, aside from the language services.
2. Localizing mobile apps
The market for mobile apps is expanding and expected to continue flourishing worldwide. Just like other products many consumers like to buy products with information that are available in their native language. Mobile app developers who are able to meet this basic requirement make their apps very popular.
It would be great if clients can find LSPs that can also do app localization. The LSP should understand the complexities of each language that the app supports. The LSP should also be knowledgeable in the specific technical issues. These two skillsets are important when you look for your localization partner. The LSP should have a deep understanding of the technical and language sides of the apps. Your partner must be able to pinpoint your target audience, analyze their characteristics and preferences as well as comprehend the cultural requisites of the app. It is a bonus if the LSP has the capability to test the localized apps on devices used locally.
3. Responsive LSP
The demand for localization does not only cover websites, apps and videos. In today’s digital world, several more multimedia content could be included in the localization project. Think of illustrations and graphics, training materials and e-learning courses. Think of flash-based demos and presentations and other content that would be included in your localization project map. This is one of the main reasons why finding a good LSP partner to work with you is vital prior to embarking on the localization project.
For a multinational client, a responsive LSP is crucial. There are more services that are demanded from LSPs today. A responsive LSP must be able to coordinate all resources, hardware, software, workflows and other tools needed for the project’s completion. Aside from working within a specific timetable and budget, the LSP should have excellent communication skills. It should require regular meetings and updates from all stakeholders. As the client you must provide the guidelines for the brand, glossaries and terminologies and required style guides to conform to your specific brand/corporate identity.
Types of localization partners
For you to find the right localization partner, you must know the different types of LSPs and what types of services they are able to offer your company.
1. Multi-language localization vendor
Also called MLV. These are larger LSPs with worldwide offices that work on a variety of languages. They have the capability to handle several projects at the same time because they have more subject matter experts. Their charges are usually higher than other vendors.
2. Single-language localization vendor or SLV
Normally they are smaller LSPs that are located in the target country and offer localization services in one language only. They are less expensive and their focus is your target language. This is not for you if you are marketing to several countries and require a variety of languages.
3. Freelance translators
They may or may not work for a specific LSP. They are also inexpensive and offer you flexibility. However, most of them only work in one language pair, so if you need to localize in multiple languages, you need to find several freelance translators to correspond to your language requirements. You will need copy editors and proofreaders to ensure that they are correctly translating your content.
You may have products that you market through a distributor in a specific country. Although there is less expense in working with distributors, you do not have control on how they translate your content because you do not pay them to localize. You can only rely on them to make the translation but since this is not their main focus, be wary as it is possible to have inconsistencies in the translation that can do damage to your product’s reputation.
5. Company employees
You may have multilingual employees who would be able to translate information in your target languages. This is a stopgap measure only and not for long-term use if you want to go global. You still have to hire someone to check that the translation is done correctly.
Other factors to consider
So many factors go into making the right selection of a localization partner. Aside from the more pressing requirements that are mentioned above, which correspond to the demands of the time, there are more general factors to consider.
The location of your partner matters as well. It is easier to coordinate and communicate if your localization partner is close to your office. Their proximity affords you the chances to meet face-to-face as often as needed.
If you have an office in the target country, it is better to find an in-country localization partner. This equates to them having a full understanding of the local culture and the local language that can ensure the accuracy of the translation.
2. Quality and qualifications
You have to know and understand the LSP’s quality process. The company’s certifications such as ISO 9001 and EN 15038 are important. What is their process before they start the localization project? Some of the things you should check: training of the translators regarding the product and the project, and review of the source files to locate possible sources of problems. What about their quality assurance (QA) system? It matters as this ensures that they check the quality of the translation and localization before submission.
Of equal importance are the qualifications of the translators. Things you should check are their employment status and their professional qualifications, their linguistic skills and if they are native speakers of the particular languages.
3. Use of translation tools
See to it that the localization partner you choose has every tool necessary to complete the projects. They should be able to work with your specific file types. They must be able to work with you and follow your own processes, such as working with your in-country reviewers.
Data security and client privacy are important so ensure that your localization partner uses security measures to protect your confidential information and secure your intellectual property.
The LSP should ensure that the localization is portable and scalable so you can use it on different platforms.
You have to determine how much involvement you want throughout the localization process. You have the right to have access to the localization process, including viewing live files.
It is advantageous to you and your localization partner to have a project management collaboration tool to ensure that everything is on track and you can receive reports and updates as needed.
4. Schedule and cost
Finally, you have to consider the timetable and the entire cost of the project. One thing to remember is that you should not choose cost over quality. The project cost should be commensurate with the quality of the work the LSP will deliver. See to it that your partner provides you with a detailed list of deliverables and compare this against the cost. It is important to compare costs between short-listed candidates.
The partner you choose should also be capable of working within your schedule, meaning they have the resources to complete the project as well as a contingency plan in place in case of slip-ups in following your timelines.
Day Translations, Inc. is committed to bringing you the latest translation and localization practices with our full suite of language services. We offer translation, interpreting, SEO and other web services and media services including voice-overs and subtitling. We have a full complement of native-speaking subject matter experts located around the world. Our translators work with more than 100 languages. We are available day and night, all days of the year to provide you with professional and high-quality localization services anywhere you may be. Contact us at 1-800-969-6853 or send us an email at Contact us.