Agile Localization: What It Is and How to Perform It

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Written by

Adedamola Ojedokun

“If only there was a way to localize software and accompanying content during the development process.”

That was you, wishing for a way to never miss another software localization deadline.

“Oh, I see why you made me say that, and I’m absolutely up for it!”

That was also you, foreseeing the introduction of agile localization, a localization process that occurs simultaneously with the development process.

Keep reading to learn:

Pro tip: Empower your agile development teams with a professional localization management suite – Centus. Learn more.

What Is Agile Localization?

what is agile localization

Agile localization is a collection of practices that integrate localization and translation seamlessly into an agile product development cycle.

Unlike the traditional approach of translating content only at the end of the development process, agile localization involves translating content concurrently with product development.

Agile Localization Process: How Agile Localization Works

Agile localization combines agile project management principles with localization strategies to shorten the process and obtain better results. It goes like this:

Collaborative planning

Agile localization starts with collaborative planning that includes key stakeholders from many teams, such as software development, marketing, and localization. The purpose is to achieve a common understanding of the localization goals, target markets, and timetables.

Involving all essential partners from the beginning ensures that everyone is on the same page and ready to contribute to the localization efforts.

Continuous integration

The localization process is intimately interwoven with the software development process in agile software localization. Instead of being treated as a separate process, localization is integrated into the development workflow.

This means that when new features or content are created, localization is considered from the start. By including localization early in the process, you can reduce rework and eliminate delays caused by retrofitting localized content into an already finished product.

Modular and incremental approach

Agile localization divides the localization tasks into manageable and prioritized components. This modular approach enables gradual localization, which allows each component to be localized independently of one another.

The localization team can work on different modules concurrently by dividing the content into smaller parts, thereby enhancing efficiency.

Continuous testing and feedback

Agile localization incorporates a continuous testing and feedback cycle. When localized content is released, it is subjected to linguistic and localization testing to verify its quality and accuracy. In-country reviewers, translators, and end-user feedback are actively sought and included in the localization process.

You can detect and address issues more quickly by integrating consumers and incorporating their feedback early on, thereby ensuring a more refined and culturally acceptable localized product.

A popular alternative to agile localization is continuous localization. Learn about it in our comprehensive guide.

Agile Localization Workflow: How to Implement Agile Localization

how to implement agile localization

Here's how to implement agile localization to ensure smooth collaboration, faster delivery, and effective localization of your products or content.

Step 1: Form an agile localization team

Form a specialized team of localization managers, translators, linguists, and other essential stakeholders to kickstart your agile localization journey. Ensure you have a cross-functional team that can work together to achieve localization goals.

Step 2: Develop a backlog

Develop a backlog of localization tasks and requirements to create a central repository for the items that you need to localize. Include specific details like source content, target languages, priority levels, and any further context.

Step 3: Plan sprints

Divide your backlog into sprints to make it more manageable. Sprints are brief periods of one to four weeks in which the team focuses on completing certain localization tasks. Prioritize the most important tasks for each sprint, ensuring that the burden is equally shared and that deadlines are realistic.

Step 4: Conduct daily stand-up meetings

Maintain momentum with frequent stand-up meetings with your agile localization team. These brief, focused meetings provide an opportunity for team members to discuss progress, difficulties, and upcoming tasks.

It's an opportunity to quickly identify and resolve any challenges and keep everyone on the same page.

Step 5: Deliver continuously

Unlike traditional approaches to localization, which can involve lengthy release cycles, agile localization focuses on continuous delivery.

Once you finish each sprint, deploy the localized content as soon as possible. This allows you to quickly release updates and changes, ensuring that your content reaches global markets as soon as possible.

Step 6: Review and feedback

Review the localized content regularly to confirm its quality and accuracy. Encourage your staff to submit feedback and improvement suggestions. Also, involve native speakers and in-country reviewers to thoroughly assess the localized content to ensure it is suitable for your target market.

Step 7: Iterate and adapt

Agile localization is an iterative process, which means you should learn from each sprint and adjust your approach as needed.

Gather feedback from stakeholders and end users, analyze data relating to localization quality and efficiency, and implement this knowledge into future sprints.

Adopt a culture of continuous improvement to continuously enhance your localization workflows.

Benefits of Agile Localization

benefits of agile localization

Agile localization offers several benefits that will help you stay ahead of the competition. The main benefits of adopting an agile process in localization include:

Faster time-to-market

Agile localization streamlines the localization process, thereby allowing businesses to accelerate their time-to-market.

Localization tasks can be completed simultaneously with development using an agile approach, thereby ensuring that localized products or services are ready to launch alongside their original versions.

This quick turnaround time gives you a competitive advantage and allows you to quickly enter new markets.

Reduced costs

Agile localization helps reduce the expenses associated with translation and localization. By breaking down localization tasks into smaller, manageable bits, you can target your resources in priority areas and minimize excessive expenses.

Agile localization also fosters efficient project management, which reduces waste and ensures that localization efforts are aligned with corporate goals. This, in turn, leads to higher returns on investment.

Greater flexibility

Traditional localization strategies may require extensive planning and tight adherence to rigorous timelines. Agile localization, on the other hand, prioritizes flexibility. It allows you to effortlessly adapt to changing requirements, priorities, and market situations.

During the localization process, agile teams can use localization management tools like Centus to respond quickly to client feedback, incorporate updates, and make necessary adjustments.

This versatility ensures that products and services are customized to the needs of different markets, thereby increasing customer satisfaction.

Less manual work

Agile localization uses machine translation and automatic quality assurance tools to reduce reliance on manual effort.

Not only does automation save time, but it also reduces the possibility of human error. Agile localization frees up teams to focus on higher-value activities like linguistic refinement and cultural adaptation by getting rid of the burden of manual effort.

Enhanced collaboration

Agile localization encourages team collaboration by breaking down tasks that usually hinder efficient localization operations. Agile teams may efficiently coordinate work and stay aligned by communicating frequently.

Daily stand-up meetings also promote transparency by allowing everyone participating in the localization process to provide updates, discuss issues, and collaborate to offer solutions.

This collaborative environment fosters synergy among team members, thereby increasing productivity and developing a sense of togetherness.

Challenges of Agile Localization

While agile localization has several benefits, it is crucial to be aware of the potential challenges you may encounter. Here are the key challenges of agile localization:

Context omission

It’s all too common to localize content while omitting context, which is the main piece of the localization puzzle.

Details can get lost in the fast-paced agile development cycles, leading to confusion or, worse, inaccuracies in the final product. Clear communication channels between your agile translation team, development team, and other stakeholders are critical to avoiding this challenge.

Solution: Maintain open and flowing communication lines to ensure that the context of the source content is retained in the localized content.

Insufficient teamwork

Collaboration is at the heart of agile localization, yet it can feel like a dance floor with varying styles and rhythms. Linguists, developers, and project managers each bring their own set of skills to the table, but navigating language barriers, cultural differences, and time zones can make collaborating difficult.

Solution: Encourage open communication, diversity, and a sense of shared ownership.

Your agile localization team will be grooving like pros with these moves.

Inadequate speed

Agile methodology emphasizes speed and rapid iterations, but, let's face it, localization is a complex task that does not always go as fast as expected. Providing high-quality localized content, translation, linguistic adaptation, and quality assurance takes time.

Solution: Ensure a smooth and efficient localization process by setting reasonable expectations, preparing carefully, and assigning adequate time for localization within your project timeframe.

Agile Localization Best Practices

Here are best practices for addressing the challenges and maximizing the benefits of agile localization:

Create localization guidelines

localization guidelines

Source: Unsplash

Imagine you have a magical guidebook that ensures language harmony, cultural sensitivity, and a consistent tone across all localized content.

You certainly can! Create detailed localization guidelines that will guide your localization team. With this helpful reference, you'll be able to eliminate uncertainty and foster a hassle-free localization experience.

Onboard and train your team

team training

Source: Unsplash

Spend time onboarding and training members of your agile localization teams. Provide them with the tools, resources, and training they need to understand the agile localization process, industry best practices, and your organization's specific requirements.

This will allow them to work more efficiently together and create high-quality localized content.

Focus on language consistency

language consistency

Source: Pexels

Consistency is essential in localization to retain a consistent brand identity and user experience across multiple languages.

Throughout the localization process, use tools (such as glossaries, translation memories, and style guides) to maintain consistent terminology, style, and tone. Localization management tools like Centus provide access to these tools.

Perform linguistic and localization testing

linguistic and localization testing

Source: Pexels

Carry out thorough linguistic and localization testing before publishing the localized content to identify and resolve any linguistic or functional issues.

Regularly conduct tests to check the quality and performance of your localized products or services across several platforms, devices, and languages.

To Sum Up

Agile localization is a cutting-edge and efficient method of managing the localization process. You can streamline workflows, achieve faster turnaround times, reduce costs, and create better collaboration by embracing agile approaches.

To overcome localization challenges and maximize its benefits ensure careful planning, effective teamwork, and adherence to best practices.

Use localization management tools, such as Centus, to streamline the agile translation process, thereby saving time and money. Learn more.


Why is agility important to localization?

Agility is important to localization because it allows businesses to adapt their products and services to meet the needs of new markets quickly and efficiently. This approach offers the following benefits:

  • Speed

  • Accuracy

  • Cost-effectiveness

What are some of the best practices for agile localization?

Here are the best practices for agile localization:

  • Start early

  • Involve the target audience

  • Use agile methodologies

  • Use the right tools and resources

  • Communicate effectively

What is localization management?

Localization management is the process of planning, organizing, and executing the localization of a product or service. It involves:

  • Defining the target market

  • Creating a localization strategy

  • Selecting a localization team

  • Managing the localization process

  • Launching the localized product or service

What are some of the tools and resources that can be used for agile localization?

There are several tools and resources that can be used for agile localization, including:

  • Translation management system

  • Translation memory

  • Quality assurance tools

How do I get started with agile localization?

Here are what you can do to get started with agile localization:

  • Define your target market

  • Create a localization strategy

  • Select a localization team

  • Implement a localization process

  • Get feedback

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