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October 17, 2016

Localization strategy: improving time to market

This post is part of a series on the value proposition of localization strategies.

You can make localization “better” by taking a look at localization value. Quality and cost are important value factors, but improved time to market returns the greatest value.

Improving time to market for localized products and content is no easy task. It’s not as simple as adding more translators to the effort; that may cause more problems (and more delays). Improving time to market involves moving localization up the project chain, and to do so effectively requires a localization strategy.

An effective localization strategy begins with the same foundation as other effective communication strategies: an audience-first approach. Who are you targeting? For what purpose? What do they need? What do they value?

cat closely inspecting a butterfly

Inspect every detail!

At the very beginning of a project, the entire audience needs to be considered for every aspect of the project.

  • Marketing campaigns must be culturally and legally appropriate
  • Sales materials and contracts must be reviewed
  • Pricing must be adjusted in some cases
  • Product design must consider all local requirements

The list goes on and on. Every aspect of the project must be evaluated against every aspect of every target market. Doing so will identify variations in requirements before they become problems, and will identify opportunities before they are lost.

What does all of this have to do with time to market? It all starts with setting realistic expectations. The more you know about your target audiences, the earlier you can begin to define requirements, avoid unexpected issues, and plan your release strategy. You are also able to take an iterative approach to translation that runs parallel to development, and build localization testing into your core product testing.

In short, implementing a localization strategy helps you remove many unknowns from the tail end of a project and allows you to optimally target all audiences from the very beginning.

Have you experienced an unpleasant localization surprise at the tail end of a project? Have you improved your time to market by making changes to how you handle localization? Please share your stories in the comments.