1. Begin with Clean, Final Source Language Copy
Every time you change your source content during localization, it has a ripple effect on the versions in other languages. It’s important to start by adjusting your source copy so that it is structured in a way that is conducive to localization. Make sure the content is relevant and understandable for the target cultures. You can also create effective metadata, which improves organization and helps the localization team better understand the content.
2. Piecemeal the Process
If you can break down your localization process into smaller steps or pieces, you will avoid unexpected costs and delayed deadlines down the line. Once most of the web content is ready for localization, your goal will be to adopt an automated workflow for incremental progress, so you don’t have to wait until the very end to begin localization.
3. Utilize a Localization-Friendly Platform
The Smartling platform, for instance, can reduce problems and headaches during website localization, whether your original content management system is WordPress, DotNetNuke, Joomla, or SiteCore. Smartling allows your localization team to collaborate across platforms, automatically collect and store translation data, and preview the in-context, translated web content.
4. Automate What You Can
Total automation should never become a substitute for the services of a skilled localization professional. However, there are certain elements of the process that can be automated, such as importing text from existing pages or accessing text so that your team can begin work. You can also automate the editing process. With a platform like Smartling, as you make edits to your source content, your localized content is subsequently edited, thus expediting your workflow.
5. Update and Refine after Initial Launch
Many organizations make the mistake of trying to completely perfect their site before launch. This is not necessary to achieve success with your localized website. As long as your content accomplishes its main goal and can be clearly understood by your target market, you can still make additions and updates after your initial release. You will also want to conduct testing after completion of each segment or step in the process. If possible, collaborate with localization specialists or expert linguists from your target audience for the most effective testing.
6. Work with Localization Professionals
In order to handle all the complex details and foresee any complications, it’s preferable to partner with a seasoned localization company from the outset. These businesses understand the primary challenges involved with localization, and will be able to help avoid obstacles before they even occur.
Regardless of the type of website you are localizing, the faster you can get it up and running, the sooner you can start expanding to new markets!