More and more CEOs, startup founders,developing brands, and enterprises are choosing to target an international market. That means making provisions for international customers. That could be English plus the company’s origin language, vice versa, or any linguistic combination.
Translating business services to reach customers in other countries opens huge opportunities for expansion and growth. As such, configuring user interfaces and customer experience in multiple languages needs to be a top priority for any digital platform today.
Why is localization so important?
Localization is incredibly useful, because it expands the accessibility of a brand’s products or services to an international market. By failing to consider their target audience’s linguistic needs, a non-localized digital marketing campaign is likely to incur a very high cost-per-click (CPC).
For businesses branching out into Europe, Latin-America, or Central Asia, the cost incurred by international marketing might not be off set with satisfactory conversion rates. By failing to localize, businesses are wasting their overseas digital marketing budgets and losing money.
The solution to this is a full localization of websites and communication tools. By tailoring every point of the customer journey in the appropriate language, brands will reach out to new markets and meet the needs of their target audiences.
What is localization?
Localization is a multi-step process. It involves adapting a site so that it can be used easily by foreign language customers. Localization is not just about word-for-word translation. Instead,localization is a holistic translation of content including texts, images, and slogans.
The aim is to preserve meaning whilst making content accessible to the cultural, social, and linguistic norms of your targetregion. Businesses should aim to the key message of their campaign whilstre-creating it for a new market. This is sometimes termed transcreation.
The best tools for content localization
There is not just one way to approach content localization. For many, seeking the help of a translation agency is the first port of call, but there are other options. In today’s day and age, advanced translation technologies are also viable options for brands looking tolocalize.
There are pros and cons to working with a translation agency. On the one hand, these agencies work with proven,professional translators and editors. This offers quality control and accurate translations that get to the true meaning behind content and mitigate mistakes.
On the other hand, these agencies can come with a hefty price tag. For the best results, businesses choosing this option should first check that their agency of choice uses native-editors and topic specialists.
For some brands, the services of a translation agency or either too costly, or inefficient. Those that want to optimize the translation process for fast-paced results might fare better mobilizing technology. But stay away from Google translate.
Though useful in some contexts, the Google plugin functions at a very basic level. Running advances, technical content through Google translate will only end in disaster. What’s more, the true meaning of your content could be lost in favor of direct word-for-word translations
Content localization platforms take translation one step further than Google. Through an automated process, users input text that translators and editors have been working on. Translators and editors can check, track, and edit this work in real-time.
Users can also input the context of their phrases, in the original language, to unify the translation and ensure accurate meaning is conveyed in translation. Once the process is complete, the finished content is automatically uploaded across the user’s website layout.
The best localization platforms
There are many localization platforms options on the market so it’s important that businesses put in some research before investing in one provider over another. This guide is designed to offer an overview of nine key localization platforms, to make that choice easier.
Despite being in its infancy, localize has gained popularity rapidly. Lokalise boasts big-name clients, the likes of Shopify, Vodafone and DepositPhotos. Features of this platform include the ability to edit content that is already in the production process. This is incredibly useful for the translator.
The system processes both main-body text and information read from pictures and screenshots. In other words, nothing needs to be rewritten or transcribed. Lokalise also boasts a powerful task manager that gives users control over the entire process and enables team interaction.
2. Smartling – for fully-fledged localization
Operating since 2009, Smartling provides a fully-fledged localization service. The tool is easy to navigate for translators, developers, and managers alike. The large selection of project analytics tools allows users to evaluate the work outputs of their translators effectively and efficiently.
Just like Localise any changes made on the company website are automatically uploaded on the Smartling localization environment. As such, localization work is carried out on the platform continuously. A great option for ensuring efficient outputs.
3. Phrase – for integration functionality
Phrase was originally made for use by developers, not translators. This has become one of the platform’s main assets. Phrase employs an extremely thoughtful integration functionality and runs quickly and effectively.
Import and export of language files is very fast. The platform offers API support for more than 40 file formats and has its own task manager, allowing users to monitor the activity of all team members for quality control.
4. Locize – for cost-effectiveness
Locize is a lesser known platform. But what it lacks in reputation, it certainly makes up for in added benefits. Locize is acost-effective option. Prices start from just 5 dollars per month, depending on a brand’s intensity of use.
Version function is built in. Users can track and analyze previous options. One downside is the absence of a built-in glossary and integration with machine translation engines. This makes it harder for translators to collaborate with a wider team and slows the process down considerably.
5. Crowdin - for agile localization
Crowdin is a cloud-based localization platform. The service is great for agile and continuous localization within mobile apps and games. Crowdin boasts automated deployment of completed translations, a designated task management system, budget planning, and report generation.
One of Crowdin’s best features is that it can be integrated with a help desk, API, and other third-party platforms. This keeps translations automatic and up to date. The platform boasts a great user interface and can cope with complicated applications and terminology.
6. Wordbee – for accuracy
Wordbee is a cloud-based, end-to-end translation tool. It employs an integrated CAT tool and can create workflow templates for translation projects. With Wordbee, users even benefit from a dedicated account manager.
The main advantages of this platform are that it uses translation memory, glossaries, terminology, and live QA checks to ensure accuracy and high-quality outputs.
7. POEditor- free and effective
POEditor is a free collaborative localization platform. It is best suited to help manage software translation workflows.POEditor offers both website and app localization options, alongside powerful automation, and intuitive translation features.
8. LingoHub – all in one place
LingoHub creates texts and translation projects in one place. The intelligent system detects text changes made in a project and accommodates translations to users’ own specifications, whilst taking care of any technical issues along the way.
9. Smartcat – for continuous translation
Smartcat offers an all-in-one-place translation service by connecting brands with translators in a continuous feedback loop. Smartcat achieves this by using a collaborative workflow. A marketplace, and a large network of translation professionals. What’s more it is free to use and facilitates collaboration with ease.
Now you’re talking
Businesses need to start talking in their customer’s language, today. Content localization has the power to open previously unimaginable opportunities for brands, enterprises, and entrepreneurs seeking to globalize their business.
Localization doesn’t have to be pricy. Localization platforms reduce costs and mitigate the risk of high CTPs by eradicating language barriers. A solid foundation for better customer experience, increased customer loyalty, increased conversions, and streamlined sales.
That’s not to say that every business needs localization. What’s important, is that those businesses that do embark on the right path to reaching new markets. And the best way to do this is to employ the right tools and specialists for the job.