Scoping Your Localization Project

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1 Scoping Your Localization Project

2 Where Do You Need to Go and Who Can Help You Get There? When your company is ready to launch content in new markets or bulk up the reach in an underserved region, it is time to consider how you can provide valuable content that meets the cultural expectations of your prospects. Hiring a localization vendor to help you in this process can provide many benefits. You free up marketing and sales team members to focus on their main activities instead of completing tasks that are outside of their expertise. There are language service providers who are experts in cultural nuances, localization strategies, related technologies, and, of course, your desired language. They can streamline your efforts, increase the quality of your content and achieve the ROI you expect from your internationalization endeavors. In last month s article, So You Decided to Go Global. What s Next?, we introduced the types of language service providers available in the market and discussed the strengths and weaknesses of each of these vendors as a whole. In this article, we dive deeper into scoping your company's localization needs. To complete the vendor selection process, you need to map out the scope of the engagement and match the needs to the service specialties provided by each type of vendor. Each of the four types of localization vendors focuses on a different array of language and technical requirements, at varying levels of service and cost. Freelance localizers or single language vendors (SLVs) translate text from one language to another, and with fewer clients, can make your project the top priority. Regional language vendors (RLVs) are medium-sized and focus on the languages and dialects of a particular region, such as Latin America. Multilanguage vendors (MLVs) are large companies that can translate into 5-60, or even more, languages. Regional and multi-language vendors can meet service needs that go beyond translation, such as multimedia content localization, consulting and project management. However, additional services increase costs, and larger clients can take some of the specialized attention away from your project. Each of those features is detailed in the image below. Freelance Localizer Individual who can work with 2 languages, usually from English into his/her native language Single Language Vendor (SLV) Small vendor with similar characteristics to an individual but can handle larger volumes and has project management capacity Regional Language Vendor (RLV) Medium-sized vendor with expertise in 2+ languages from its own geographic location; service scope is often broader than an SLV Multilanguage Vendor (MLV) Larger vendor that handles 5-60 languages (and even more); with offices worldwide, has the most scalability and the largest range of services

3 Scope your Localization Project To scope the needs of your localization project, you should discuss expectations related to key areas in strategy, planning, implementation and management with your peers and direct reports. Your company's needs will be considerably different from others, but answering the following questions will help you distinguish your requirements: 1. How many languages do we need to translate into? Have we considered the different variants? 2. What are our intended markets and channels for publication and delivery? 3. What is the timeframe for the entire project? 4. When is the deadline to reach the first publishing milestone? 5. Do we have a dedicated internal project manager? 6. Does our content require advanced technological skills from the localization vendor? 7. What level of quality and accuracy do we need from each piece of localized content? 8. Is this a single project or an ongoing process to support business objectives? 9. What is our initial available budget? Are there opportunities to increase spend if needed? 10. Do we plan to translate just text? Or do we also have multimedia content to be localized? (If so, please refer to our Top 10 Multimedia Localization Best Practices for Latin America.) 11. How many internal resources will be available and in what capacity? 12. What level of reporting do we need the localization vendor to provide? 13. Do we need the vendor to audit our content and determine which pieces should be localized? 14. Can our sales and marketing teams consult on the local market? Or do we need the localization vendor to provide all of this strategy work? Scoping your project works hand-inhand with identifying the specific services you will need from your localization vendor. After answering these scoping questions, you are ready to map the scope to the types and levels of service offered by localization vendors.

4 Map your Scope to the Available Services An effective localization partner will help you strategize, plan, implement and manage a successful localization effort. Yet each type of vendor has its own specialties, and your selection should be based on the level and type of service you need in the following four main areas:

5 Project Strategy Does your company need strategy and consulting work from your localization partner or do you plan on handling it yourself? A smaller vendor will provide less input for those areas, which means that the strategic work will most likely fall on the shoulders of your internal team. Regional and multi-language vendors on the other hand can provide a deeper level of strategic planning and consulting work to help you contemplate areas of development that you might not consider otherwise. Once you have determined the level of strategic support and development necessary, you can select a vendor to fit your needs. Cultural Briefings & Workshops An effective cultural briefing provides information on the demographics, psychographics, buyer personas and local preferences for you to better understand the needs and wants of your target audience. With the knowledge of cultural nuances and by asking who you are currently targeting and who you would like to reach, your localization vendor should provide guidance on the right market niches based on your corporate goals and content. Furthermore, their localization support should be in line with your marketing strategy, regardless of where the local offices are. A regional language vendor is usually your best bet for specific familiarity of customers and dialects of a certain locale. Strategic Development Your localization vendor should be able to provide cultural, economic, industry and market insight for you to audit your content and determine what should be localized. In addition, they should help you understand the market demographics, provide insight into the cultural dynamics and communication preferences, and create the means to speak the language of your target audience, whether it is internal, business to business, or business to consumer.

6 Project Planning A reliable localization vendor will ask about the technology you are using or plan to use, and this will provide clues for the level of expertise they will need to implement your projects. For example, if your project includes an enormous amount of technical documentation with low quality requirements (such as a knowledge base for IT support), machine translation might provide the level of quality you need. However, if you have a variety of multimedia content that requires a high level of creativity to transmit the original idea suitably in the target language, you will need transcreators and localization engineers with more advanced linguistic and technology skills. Project Plan & Milestones Any localization project comes with many moving parts that require a solid plan to ensure quality deployment. The project plan should include tasks, deliverables, milestones and resource assignments to provide a blueprint for every team member. Typically, external project management will be more robust if you select a regional language vendor or multi-language vendor. However, you will have to negotiate the expectations for communication and specific project managers. Large vendors may run several projects simultaneously and project managers come in and out of focus. Brand & Communication Management In addition to the project plan, you need to work with your localization vendor to establish communication channels, document management systems and branding elements. For example, do you want the same look and feel for a Latin American audience as the one you created for a Latino audience in the United States? In Spanish and Portuguese, the heading style is sentence case rather than each word in the heading being capitalized. However, some regions prefer to follow the standard English style with title case; would you know which ones?

7 Project Implementation After planning the tasks, deliverables and milestones, you are ready to consider the actual activities involved with localizing your content. The individual translator and single language vendor can provide the text translation from one language to another, but might not have the capacity or knowledge to take on additional tasks. The regional-language vendor and multilanguage vendor can also provide text translation services, but they may be able to go beyond and provide additional help in desktop publishing, localization engineering and project management. Content Translation The part of the process most people think about is translation. Simply put, the translation process is when text is converted from one language into another. However, more than this one activity occurs in the process. The vendor you select needs to have translators who are native speakers of the languages you need to translate into. Along with being native speakers, look for translators who actually live in the country or region of your focus. Nonnative speakers and people who have lived elsewhere for several years lose the pulse of the culture and dialects, rendering the localization effort much less effective and meaningful than it could be otherwise. Desktop Publishing When your project needs expand beyond text translation, you need the advanced skills of a localization vendor that can provide desktop publishing services. Desktop publishing does not involve the actual creation of images, but the conversion of visual content, such as images and graphics, from one language to another. Experts in desktop publishing will pay attention to the original layout and maintain the same look and feel while also considering the target audience's cultural expectations. Localization Engineering Localization engineering requires an advanced level of technological skills, with an overall understanding of software and website localization, online testing and possibly internationalization expertise. (For an in-depth look at common mistakes companies do when localizing their websites, please refer to Error 404: Localization Not Found). Localization engineers can extract text or multimedia content from a system in its original file format, have the content translated, and then insert the localized content back into the system or file without corrupting any structures or messing up the code. They can also provide technical testing to ensure the generation and build function correctly, synchronize audio and video with onscreen animated text and use computer assisted translation (CAT) tools to leverage previously translated content and generate cost and time savings.

8 Project Management You can handle project management tasks internally, but the project manager of a localization vendor provides greater value. With their extensive knowledge of the process, they will manage your projects in a fraction of the time and at a considerably reduced cost when compared to your internal team, who will be able to focus on what they do best. In addition, if your vendor has in-house vendor management specialists, these professionals will be able to find the most suitable resources for your needs, whether they are language or technical experts. If you want to work with the same senior-level project manager for all issues, you may settle for a middle ground by hiring a single or regional language vendor, especially if your localization budget does not reach seven digits. If however you prefer to have a larger structure to support your needs and are comfortable working with a large company's variety of project management resources with varying years of experience and attention, then find a multi-language vendor that suits your needs. Progress Reports How often do you expect to receive status reports from the vendor? Do you have direct access to the project manager or does your communication need to float up the channel? When a problem arises, what is the acceptable timeframe for communicating and solving? You need to state your requirements for communications during the project up front; answers to each of these questions will dictate your choice for a localization vendor. Make sure to define your expectations and that they are aligned with the costs you are being charged. Status Meetings Even if you decide to rely on the vendor to manage your localization projects, you need to be aware of potential issues when it comes to cost, quality and turnaround times. Make sure that your vendor s PM keeps you abreast of any changes in schedule and book regular meetings to understand where the process can be improved. Do you wish to communicate exclusively with people in your time zone? Look for a future Ccaps article that details the project management effort from both the client and the vendor s perspectives.

9 Conclusion Scope is one of the most challenging parts of any localization effort and if you manage to define your project scope with the necessary precision you will be on the right path to selecting the right vendor. You and members of your team need to answer these questions to clarify what needs to be done and the services you will need to reach your localization goals. Translation is often the first task associated with globalization efforts, and it is an important piece of the puzzle. But it is not the only one, as we have discussed above. Beyond translation, you need to select a vendor who can produce results within your allotted timeframe at the level of quality you decide is acceptable and within your allocated budget. Not an easy task, we know; but we are always here to help. Fabiano Cid is the Managing Director of Ccaps Translation and Localization, a company that supports the language needs of global brands in Latin America since With over 15 years of localization experience, Fabiano has served as the chairman of the board of Milengo and of the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA). An active member of the language industry who is frequently invited to speak at conferences and write articles for specialized publications, Fabiano is a GALA Ambassador, co-creator of Think Latin America and a member of the Advisory Board for the GALA Think! Series. Share this article!

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