Lost in translation? Create scalable content localization processes
You need to translate content into new languages, but it’s not happening fast enough. Projects are delayed, programs can’t launch, and you’re at a loss for how to fix it.
First things first, let’s define content localization. (It’s more than feeding content to a translation tool and hoping for the best.)
What is content localization?
Content localization is the process of adapting your content for a specific regional audience, encompassing the local language, customs, examples, metaphors, communication styles, and more. A streamlined content localization process relies on the efficiency of your existing content processes and the consistency of your content. If your current processes are manual and your content is inconsistent, content localization will be excruciating.
Here’s the good news: the pressure of content localization can be an opportunity to optimize your current content creation process from start to finish. While that might just sound like more work instead of good news, the outcome is pure luxury—the ability to produce high-quality content at scale that you can easily localize without delays.
The pressure of content localization can be an opportunity to optimize your current content creation process from start to finish. While that might just sound like more work instead of good news, the outcome is pure luxury—the ability to produce high-quality content at scale that you can easily localize without delays.
Companies grow and scale content operations for many reasons. Your company might be developing more products or services, getting requests for new content distribution options, including more channels (portals, print, PDF, learning management systems, online help), and so on. As you expand into the global market, scalability will go hand-in-hand with content localization.
Right now, you might be experiencing one or more of these common scalability roadblocks:
- Your content creation process is too slow or too small-scale to keep up with the demands of company growth.
- Your content creation process can’t handle new content localization requirements. (Cue the delayed projects and program launches we mentioned earlier.)
- Your content development processes can only provide limited output types.
To avoid these, think about your company’s long-term goals for growth, then plan for the future. Because localization introduces nuances on top of “typical” scalability challenges, it’s critical that you develop a strong content localization strategy.
When it comes to content localization and scalability, inconsistent content is a major underlying issue. It makes translation and legacy conversion difficult, introduces accessibility issues, and ultimately hurts your brand. Here are some ways you can make your content more consistent:
- Have a style guide (and use it). Train your content creators on consistent style, and make checking for consistency a major focus of the review process. This is a process where AI can support your content team.
- Replace manual processes with automated ones. If a style guide alone is unreliable, use templates to help enforce it. The more you automate your content development, the less room you have for human error.
- Consider controlled language software. If inconsistency is a huge pain point for your company, it may be best to invest in technology that can strictly enforce language and style.
Offset content localization issues
Content localization is intimidating, especially if your company is doing this for the first time. If you’re already localizing content, your current processes can still be overwhelmed by a major increase in the number of required languages or new requirements (such as right-to-left). Here are some ways you can make localization easier and (as a bonus) offset costs:
- Prepare your content. Use consistent terminology, avoid jargon, and practice cultural awareness when you’re creating your source content.
- Plan ahead. As your company grows, recognize that content localization needs will increase. If you have other countries in mind, research their localization needs ahead of time.
Getting your content consistent can be difficult, so we recommend starting with style guides and templates, even if adjusting to the change is challenging. Consistency can save your company money by allowing you to produce, translate, and publish your content more quickly and efficiently.
These ideas are a great starting place for creating consistent content, scaling processes, and localizing content. We also recommend that you create a content localization strategy to help your company navigate these changes more smoothly.
Contact our team today to build a content localization strategy that meets your global needs.
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