Warning signs: localization strategy needed

Alan Pringle / Content strategy, LocalizationLeave a Comment

red siren light

Without centralized localization processes, you will pay more for translated content, provide inconsistent translations, and possibly expose your company to significant legal liability. Here are warning signs your company needs a better localization strategy:

  • red siren light

    Image: Pixabay

    Individual departments handle localization. When each department has its own localization process and works with a different localization vendor, it’s likely your company’s messaging and terminology will be inconsistent across localized corporate content.  These inconsistencies are guaranteed when the different localization vendors do not share a centralized translation memory database.  Translation memory helps with consistency by scanning for and matching segments that have already been translated. Translation memory also cuts costs because there is less to translate after matching.

  • Assuming machine translation is “good enough.” Running content through a free online translation service does provide content in another language, but has anyone verified the translations are accurate? What if the translations are faulty to the point of absolutely not good enough? Also, merely translating the language is not the same as localization—for example, free machine translation services won’t warn you that an image is not culturally appropriate for a particular locale.
  • Third parties create unofficial translations. Your company may not provide localized content because it doesn’t want the hassle or expense, or someone believes that “English is the language of business.” (For the record, I have seen these attitudes at more than one company.) Refusing to provide localized content does not diminish the need for it. If you don’t provide localized content, your product’s resellers may take it upon themselves to provide the localized versions they need. At that point, your company has lost control of product positioning and technical accuracy. Having localized content misrepresenting what your product does is bad enough, but incorrect safety procedures could lead to deadly consequences. Do you want that liability?

Recognize any of these warning signs? Contact us today to get a handle on your localization strategy.

About the Author

Alan Pringle

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Content strategy consulting. Publishing (electronic and print). Eating (preferably pastries and chocolate). COO at Scriptorium.

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