Continuous localization refers to an ongoing localization process that supports short release cycles. It goes hand in hand with a continuous content or code development approach and is the perfect fit for agile environments.
What are some best practices for continuous localization?
Implementing a continuous localization workflow into business practices demands rethinking the general strategic approach to the creation of localized content. The tech and software industries have been especially challenged, due to the fast pace of version releases and updates.
When following release cycles as short as a week, a traditional localization strategy ceases to be the best answer for localized content. Continuous localization, on the other hand, can turn into the perfect solution if adapted with best practices in place.
Some of these best practices to adhere to creating a localization strategy that is more suitable for agile development processes include the following:
- Implement localization as a step in product and software development.
- Create a fixed team of translators and reviewers and train them to work within your overall workflow.
- Use tools that support and foster collaboration between developers, translators, reviewers, and localization managers.
- Create a translation schedule that aligns with the development cycles.
- Implement a flow, where translation takes place as soon as the first version becomes available.
- Understand that any changes to the first version will be localized as they happen.
- Provide context, live previews, or the possibility for direct communication between developers and translators.
- Adjust quality assurance procedures to focus on the most important parameters.
A continuous localization workflow focuses more on pace than perfection. This can be challenging for translators and reviewers and lead to frustration. A style guide and brief on quality features of the localized content can, therefore, be a great asset for the linguists.
These tools help them to maintain quality at its highest possible, while simultaneously adhering to tight timeframes and delivery cycles. When following a continuous localization approach, leveraging automation is key.
The use of translation management systems (TMS), computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, and other useful software for steps, such as string extraction, fuzzy matching from previous translations with the help of translation memories, as well as quality assurance, are essential to the successful implementation of continuous localization.
Why is continuous localization the perfect solution for multilingual products or services?
A globally connected world with global markets to access demands a shift in how multilingual content is created, supported, maintained, and managed. The quick pace, along with swift changes in consumer preferences and feedback, can lead to frequent and unforeseen update and release cycles.
This defies any traditional approach on how localization is handled. In the face of ever-expanding markets and the often exponential growth of consumer bases in new markets, many language service providers (LSP) and established industry leaders find themselves confronted with a lack of suitable solutions.
For them, the need for restructuring their internal workflows and collaboration approaches under sustainable change management strategies is key. This severely affects businesses that need multilingual content translated and localized quickly, with the same quality, high frequency, and often lower volumes.
The implementation of the continuous localization workflow within those businesses, as well as within the processes of language service providers is the perfect solution for handling multilingual localization projects.
The elevated degree of direct collaboration between the development and language experts, along with the automation of translation management and quality management related tasks, are symbiotic. To achieve this flow, all parties involved must agree on requirements, roles, and timing. This may require retraining across the entire localization processes for teams unfamiliar with agile or continuous project management.
If done right, continuous localization will help with:
- Localization testing becoming an integral part of product testing,
- Integrated teams working closely and within shared context,
- Risk mitigation and troubleshooting consuming less time,
- Retaining quality for end-users on an ongoing basis,
- Preventing delays for releases,
- Reducing project complexity,
- Facilitating project management.
In addition, two critical benefits of continuous localization are time-to-market and continuous product relevance. Product buyers and users expect their product to be up to date and respectful of their culture and language preferences. Continuous localization ensures these global requirements are met.