Transforming a Good Translation Effort Into a Great One

For every business activity in your organization, you’re always trying to improve. No one wants to report to their manager that they’ve done an “adequate” job. Doing a good job is, well, good. But doing a great job impresses management, gets your team fired up, and certainly can’t help drive more business, even if it’s just one activity out of many.

Software localization is no different. Some companies that undertake a localization project are just trying to get the first iteration out the door. They’ve been mandated to translate their mobile or enterprise app into a new language because it was requested from the local regional office, channel partner or user group. In these cases, many settle for good. But what can you do to go — in the words of management guru Jim Collins — from Good to Great?

Following are a few best practices for raising your localization game:

Remember the Importance of Context and Accuracy

Context is a crucial factor in great translation, and even professional translators can struggle with an exact match if they don’t understand the underlying content they are localizing. Advanced localization platforms employ powerful linguistic engines that can provide as much as ten times better accuracy than manual approaches. They even give you rankings on how often each translation has been used in different contexts in the past to help guide you and reduce errors. It’s like having a professional linguist on staff, day and night, and when all is said and done, you bring yourself that much closer to connecting natively with your customer base.

Leverage Professional Translators

You may already have a talented team that speaks the local languages your translating into, but even they may lack the nuances of translating content into your company’s exact business context. Professional language service providers (LSPs) do this a living and are often assigned to projects where their specific expertise is needed. If you’re connected with the right network, you can choose translators that have already worked with similar products or services.

Make Localization an Intelligent Process

Getting localization done right starts with leveraging an automated system that does much of the nuts-and-bolts translation work for you. The right localization platform creates a repeatable process by preserving translation strings for re-use in future releases and projects to save time, reduce the localization lifecycle and keep errors down to a minimum. With the right foundation in place, you can fine-tune your strategy by employing best practices like sharing data with the at-large translator community and monitoring your progress with the proper analytical tools.

Collaborate Effectively Across Teams

Of course, localization is a team effort, but if your developers, project managers, translators and rollout teams don’t have a common real-time platform on which to collaborate, your missing a key ingredient to success. Centralizing allows project managers to keep tabs on every translator activity, helps developers quickly answer questions, and keeps teams in sync through the entire process.

With everyone on your team moving forward in lockstep, using the right technology tools and working towards a common goal, you too can elevate your localization efforts from good to truly great.