What Is Continuous Localization: Full Guide

These days, globalization is nothing new, and development companies must adjust to the escalating demand for localizing their products. Today, every consumer group wants to receive a high-performing, locally-adapted product on time, which presents a problem for developers.

To compete in this market on a global basis, localization is insufficient. Regular updates and an effective localization strategy are necessary for digital items. This necessitates ongoing content localization and translation on the part of your business. However, most companies frequently overlook that creating a truly global product—especially a digital one—requires much more than simple translations. As a result, localization is commonly neglected.

A practical way to satisfy clients worldwide is to create an effective localization strategy. Localization is only sufficient if it is continuous and contextual. Therefore, to prevent awkward circumstances, it’s crucial to make sure that localization is a core company activity and not just a side benefit. This essential phase is necessary to carry out an ongoing localization strategy and to grow worldwide.

What exactly is continuous localization?

Before moving on to a definition, a quick history lesson on localization is necessary.

Localizing software entails making it responsive to your users’ many diverse cultural traditions. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t just a matter of translating text; it also involves looking deeper into details like nuanced references to the direction (right and left vs. East and West) and more mundane things like the proper formats for date and time, formatting, weight, and height, among other things.

Localization was carried out using the linear method built into the waterfall when it was the most popular development methodology. Managers would hand over completed jobs to translators and agencies for localization as soon as possible. Such a method, of course, had several drawbacks: it took too long, necessitated developers to rewrite code when modifications were required, and, most significantly, the consumers had to wait.

As a result, when agile methodology gained popularity, localization had to adapt, and businesses had to change how they localized their products. As a result, continuous localization—ongoing software localization using the agile development methodology—became apparent.

Although continuous localization requires a more significant time and resource commitment than the traditional model, there are several important benefits to take into account:

  • More straightforward development process: continuous localization refers to the ongoing localization process, which allows changing specific strings right away if necessary, saving the developer from having to review everything again at the end.
  • Customer satisfaction: thanks to continuous localization, consumers receive the product considerably more quickly and can immediately use the full capabilities of the application.
  • Process transparency: continuous localization frequently entails the usage of a particular tool where developers, translators, managers, and other team members collaborate.

But how can you integrate ongoing localization into your business’s operations? Here are some ideas to think about:

1. Combine your localization and product teams.

The continuous translation aims to automate and streamline localization so that you can always send fresh content to your consumers without any delays.

To ensure that translations are accurate and free of errors and bugs, workflows must be established, translations must be completed, and the process must be overseen. They must therefore make sure everything goes as planned.

Essentially, this entails the localization team joining the development team for the software. This becomes even more crucial when you have tens of thousands of strings translated into numerous languages and frequent updates.

There are typically three software team positions on an internal localization team:

The localization engineer – is in charge of putting the continuous localization procedure into practice.

The quality assurance team for localization – is in charge of the final product.

Localization manager – a person who manages the entire process while coordinating with engineers and translators and setting deadlines.

This is especially difficult in big businesses with cross-functional teams working on various products. Given that the workflows may differ slightly, each team should have a clear owner or “localization champion”.

2. Choose an appropriate continuous localization tool.

To achieve flawless continuous localization, a continuous localization platform (CLP) is required to contain the following features:

Automating the L10n (localization) procedure will eliminate the need for manual file transfers and uploads. New strings are immediately found in your code repository and uploaded to the TMS for translation. Translations are automatically merged back into the repository whenever they are finished.

Translation strings have a single source of truth (TMS) – Keep all strings, images, and other items that need to be translated or modified in one location. You can get an overview in one area, communicate with all the stakeholders, and assign assignments.

Your translators will need CAT functionality (translation memory, glossaries, QA checks) to stay current while assuring quality and consistency.

Visual context: show translators where and how the translated string will be displayed to provide them with as much context as possible with UI pictures.

Version control for translations: Continuous localization, like Agile software development, involves several translators working on diverse, frequently unrelated sections of your project. To keep everything in sync, you’ll need a version control system.

Connect your code repositories, like Azure Repos, GitHub, and Bitbucket, and developer tools, such as Jenkins and Docker, for simple integration into your continuous delivery strategy.

Designers are welcomed into the l10n process with the ease with which tools like Figma, Adobe XD, and Sketch can be integrated. To find potential l10n bugs early on, start translating and testing your mockups and prototypes before you start coding.

Final word

The absolute minimum is to make your product available in multiple languages. You also need content to attract potential clients and turn them into paying customers to experience true global success. Additionally, that content will be updated frequently.

A lead or consumer will also interact with your business in other ways than just using your goods. They might access your website, get an email from you, see a post on social media, or read a blog entry. They might read your manuals and engage with your live chat.

The most crucial factor in this situation is that, despite numerous teams holding your material, you are just one company or brand to them. Any hiccup in their customer experience will have an adverse effect on your entire brand, not simply one division of your business.

Continuous localization may need more money and effort than conventional methods, but the results will be considerably better. Consider it a long-term investment when striving to enhance the user experience steadily. Even if you encounter difficulties, the outcome will be completely worthwhile.

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