Localization is always a complex process and before any localization project can kick off there’s a lot of moving pieces to organize. Having a properly designed localization process on the LSP side can keep things running smoothly from start to finish and make sure no important details slip through the cracks.
Here’s what a strong localization process looks like.
Step 1. Discovery and Analysis
The localization process usually starts with onboarding talks in which someone from the LSP (either the Business Development Manager, the Account Manager or the Localization Project Manager) assesses the needs of the client and strives to learn more about the client’s product.
They will attempt to find out if the client uses specific tools or has processes in place on their side with the goal of determining how these assets would integrate with those of the LSP. In case an integration is not an option, the LSP can suggest alternatives or find ways to adapt to the clients’ processes.
Before a project can kick off, the LPM must make a thorough analysis and have a clear understanding of what the needs and goals of the project are. This step is key if the localization project is to be a smooth one.
Some of the information that the LPM needs to consider includes the following:
- Language pairs
- File formats
- Turnaround times
- Purpose of the work
- Target audience
Once all of those elements, and any others needed to begin are clear, they can move to the next step which is workflow design.
Step 2. Workflow Design
According to the characteristics of the project, a localization process can have a localization, editing and proofreading step. However, this is not always the case. It’s up to the client to determine how many rounds of quality assurance will be performed.
Nevertheless, once the process is completed, implementation comes next. Depending on the CAT tool chosen, implementation can be done automatically or manually. At this point, the client has a localized product, but the natural final step would be to perform an LQA check. This means that the LSP—or a different vendor—reviews the localized version of the product and flags any bugs. These bugs can be found in the localized text (such as a typo or missing comma), or may be bugs created after the implementation (like overflowing text). This final step is crucial to launch with the certainty that bugs won’t appear later on and cause unwanted delays.
Step 3. Learning and Adjusting
Adaptability is key. Localization processes are always complex and frequently require adjustments to accommodate changes in copy, scope, budget, and turnaround times. As a localization project progresses, it usually becomes evident which steps have room for improvement and what things need to be changed. These learnings are very important and should be documented and shared with everyone involved, as they will be invaluable for future localization projects for the client.
There’s no such thing as a standard localization process because each client, project, or product is different (an app, an e-learning course, a video game, etc.). There are some steps that are shared, but the client’s unique set of needs will shape the overall process.