A 101 Guide to Localization Outsourcing: Why, When, and How
11 min. read
There are a few things you need to expand internationally.
A great product or service and extensive knowledge of global markets.
You’ve had the first prerequisite for years.
Localization outsourcing can help you with the second one.
By leaving localization outsourcing to experts, you can drastically boost your chances of international success.
Keep reading to learn:
Pro tip: Cut localization costs and maximize its impact with a professional localization management platform – Centus. Learn more.
Localization outsourcing is the practice of hiring a third-party organization to localize your products or services for a certain market or region.
Localization outsourcing involves partnering with external service providers, often known as localization vendors or partners, who have the knowledge, skills, and technology to efficiently adapt your content for other markets.
The services performed by localization vendors include translation, transcreation, multilingual SEO, QA, multicultural marketing, and cultural adaptation among others.
Localization outsourcing can be your hidden weapon for increasing your global footprint, reaching diverse audiences, and creating a lasting effect in international markets. Here are the benefits of outsourcing your localization tasks to experts:
Expertise and specialization
When you outsource localization, you get a team of language experts, cultural experts, and technological experts at your disposal. Nobody understands the nuances of languages, cultures, and market trends better than these experts.
They will ensure that your message is not only translated but also resonates naturally with your target audience.
Localization outsourcing is not just about quality; it's also about efficiency. Building an in-house team can be a costly endeavor.
When you outsource, you pay for the skills you require when you require them without incurring any overhead expenditures. On top of that, you get a superior localization quality. Win-win.
Time is of the essence, especially in today's fast-paced business world. Outsourcing localization services allows you to focus on your core operations while the professionals handle the language intricacies.
By outsourcing localization and channeling your time and money toward the improvement of your product, you can further increase its chances of global success.
Global reach and scalability
As your business expands, so will its localization requirements. A reliable partner can scale up or down to meet your needs, whether you're entering new markets or dealing with seasonal swings.
They will help you to smoothly navigate international waters with their global network, thereby opening access to markets you might not have considered.
When you outsource localization, you get a team of quality control experts who pore over every detail of your content and marketing material.
Localization professionals can use their expertise to polish your content to perfection, not just translate it. The result? Excellent material that speaks directly to the hearts of your audience.
Now that you understand the benefits of localization outsourcing, you may be eager to try it out. But before you go ahead, let's figure out when is the perfect time to start it.
Content volume and frequency
Consider the following scenario. You are a rapidly growing firm with content getting published faster than you can say "global expansion.” Your website requires frequent updates, marketing materials need translation, and software interfaces must speak the language of your broad user base.
If this sounds similar, it may be time to consider hiring a localization partner.
Localization outsourcing firms are designed to handle large amounts of content efficiently. They have the teams, technologies, and knowledge to shorten the process and ensure your content reaches your global audience as soon as possible.
Diverse target audience
Your product or service might be a domestic success. However, to effectively cater to a diverse audience, you need to overcome multiple language barriers.
Outsourcing localization becomes a strategic necessity when you are serving clients in several regions with different languages, cultures, and tastes.
A localization partner can adapt your content to each audience, ensuring that your message is heard and your product is presented in a culturally appropriate manner. We can call them your language chameleons, helping you connect with people from Tokyo to Timbuktu.
Technical expertise requirements
Picture this. You've created cutting-edge software that is ready to take on the world. However, there is a catch. Your software contains industry-specific jargon and complicated technical vocabulary that require accurate translation.
If you nod in agreement, you need a localization partner.
The best localization partners have linguists who are well-versed in the technical complexities of your industry. They will ensure that your software is not only translated but also correctly modified for each market while maintaining functionality and user experience.
Finding a partner who shares your goals and understands your requirements is critical to the success of your localization efforts. Here are the main steps you can take to choose the right localization partner:
Expertise and reputation
One of the key factors to consider when outsourcing your localization projects is the experience and reputation of potential partners.
The following are the steps for evaluating this aspect:
Confirm that the localization partner has prior experience in your sector. This industry experience is critical since it allows them to understand the exact intricacies and requirements of your content.
Look for a partner who specializes in the type of content you're localizing.
Determine whether the localization partner supports the languages required by your target audience.
Contact former or current clients of the localization partner. Inquire about their previous experiences, the quality of their work, and whether or not deadlines were consistently met.
Ask for samples of translations or localization jobs. This will help you determine the partner's language accuracy, cultural sensitivity, and attention to detail.
Ensure that the partner's team is fluent in your language and is capable of providing clear and timely updates throughout the localization program.
Assess their project management procedures. A reliable partner should have well-defined workflows, project-tracking tools, and the ability to handle unexpected obstacles efficiently.
Evaluate the partner's scalability to meet your present and future needs. Can they accommodate increased content volume or the addition of more languages?
Read this article for a comprehensive overview of the top 15 localization service providers.
Cultural competence ensures that your content is not only effectively adapted but also tailored to resonate with your target audience in their cultural context.
Here are the key steps for evaluating the cultural competence of a localization partner:
Ensure that the localization partner is fluent in the target language.
Look for a partner who is culturally knowledgeable and sensitive. To minimize unintended cultural insensitivity in your content, they should be educated on the target market's habits, traditions, and taboos.
Ensure that the LSP consults with local specialists or cultural advisors for cultural validation.
Find out if the partner goes beyond literal translation.
If your content includes pictures, graphics, or multimedia elements, make sure your localization partner can adapt them culturally.
Technology and tools
When choosing a localization partner, it is critical to assess the technology and tools they use. The right tools can make a big difference in the efficiency and accuracy of the localization process.
Here are factors that you should consider:
Confirm if your potential partner is using a modern translation management system (TMS) that streamlines the translation process.
Inquire about the partner's localization strategy for maintaining industry-specific terminology and glossaries.
Check to see if the partner's tools are compatible with the file formats you usually use.
Inquire about how they use localization testing tools to identify and resolve any user interface, functionality, or language quality issues.
Confirm that your partner has strong security processes in place to protect your data. These include encryption, access controls, and compliance with appropriate data protection rules.
Inquire about how they use data and analytics to continuously evaluate and enhance the localization process. This will help you determine the impact of localization on your global business strategy.
Customization and flexibility
Localization is not a one-size-fits-all process. Therefore, your partner should be able to adapt to your specific needs.
Here are key measures you can take to ensure that you choose a partner that can provide the level of customization and flexibility you require:
Before reaching out to potential partners, thoroughly examine your localization requirements. Consider the nature of your content, target markets, and industry-specific requirements.
Inquire about the capabilities of the translation partner to create customized workflows relevant to your content types.
Discuss with your localization partner how resources are allocated to your projects. You need to be flexible when allocating translators, linguists, and subject matter experts who are knowledgeable about your business and brand.
If your business relies on specialized CMS platforms, make sure your potential partner can interface with your systems properly.
Confirm that the partner is open to feedback and can promptly adopt changes based on your suggestions.
Communication and collaboration
Communication and teamwork are critical components of successful localization outsourcing.
Here are the main steps you can take to achieve seamless communication and collaboration:
Specify the communication channels and tools you'll use from the start. These may include email, project management software, video conferences, and instant messaging systems.
Hold regular status meetings or check-ins to monitor progress, discuss concerns, and maintain alignment between your goals and the work of the localization team.
Use localization management tools that both you and your localization partner have access to. Centus, for example, can help you keep everyone organized, track progress, and manage tasks efficiently.
Create and distribute extensive translation style guides and glossaries outlining your brand's voice and specialized terminology.
Encourage your staff to provide feedback and suggestions on translated content through an open feedback loop.
Create an emergency contact plan in case of an unexpected situation.
When you choose to outsource your localization needs to a professional partner, you are entrusting a vital piece of your business to a third party. Following these best practices will ensure the success of your localization efforts and smooth collaboration with your chosen partner:
Detailed project briefing
Start your localization journey with a thorough project briefing. This will act as a roadmap for your translation partner, specifying the objectives of your project, target audience, tone, style, and any special requirements or limits.
A well-defined project brief reduces misunderstandings and ensures that your partner is on the same page as you.
Continuous feedback loop
Effective communication is the foundation of a successful localization outsourcing project. Maintain a continuous and open feedback loop with your localization partner. Review their work regularly and provide constructive criticism.
Encourage your partner to ask clarifying questions to avoid misconceptions or misinterpretations of your brand's voice and objectives.
Cultural context sharing
Share as much cultural context as possible with your partner to aid the localization process. Explain any cultural references, idioms, or practices related to your content. The greater your partner's cultural background, the more real your adapted content will be.
Testing and quality assurance
Never underestimate the value of thorough testing and quality assurance in the localization process. Before you release localized material to your audience, ensure it has been thoroughly tested to discover and correct any language or technical errors.
By taking this action, you can protect your brand’s integrity and prevent any potential negative publicity due to errors or inconsistencies.
A long-term relationship with your localization provider might deliver considerable benefits. As your partner becomes more acquainted with your brand, audience, and interests, they will be able to produce more accurate and effective localized content.
Furthermore, long-term collaboration creates trust and enables smoother collaboration over time.
To Sum Up
Localization outsourcing can be a game changer for businesses looking to grow their global footprint and efficiently reach diverse customers.
You can break down linguistic and cultural barriers by leveraging the experience and resources of a reliable localization partner, thereby ensuring that your message resonates with audiences wherever they are.
As you begin your localization journey, don’t forget that the right partner and techniques can be the keys to your international success.
Finally, use a localization management platform, like Centus, to streamline the implementation of localized materials and ensure localization quality. Learn more.
What are the advantages of outsourcing the task of localization?
The advantages of outsourcing your localization tasks include:
Access to expertise
Speed and flexibility
Focus on your core competencies
What are the challenges of outsourcing localization?
The challenges of outsourcing localization include:
Loss of control
How do I choose a localization outsourcing company?
The factors to consider when choosing a localization outsourcing company include:
Experience and expertise
The company's localization process
What are the steps involved in outsourcing localization?
The steps required in outsourcing localization vary according to the project, but they often include the following:
Gather your content
Choose a localization partner
Provide your requirements
Review the localized content
Approve the localized content
What are the tips for outsourcing localization successfully?
Here are tips for successful localization outsourcing:
Do your research
Be clear about your requirements
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