Ready to reach the next level?
Your start-up is not just off the ground, it’s winning praise and serious revenue in your home market. You already know, though, that the big money is abroad — you’ve had your eye on the larger players in your sector so you’re well aware that there’s more to winning in this competition than only playing on your home field.
That said, while you know that there’s business to win in foreign markets, you nevertheless have a huge question mark hanging over your head: How do we do it?
If you’ve been reading through our site, than you already get that preparing your content for foreign markets are not the tasks that should be left to Jacques, the French intern, nor to Google Translate. But as you really commit to a localization strategy, how do you do it so as to avoid the major missteps that have plagued too many start-ups before you?
Do the Dirty Work
Every well-working team behind a solid localization strategy has the tools it needs to succeed. Tools like:
- Style guides for translators, editors, and proofreaders
- Tracking and reporting technology for project managers
- Quality assurance guidelines for third-party reviewers
These essentials, whether in the hands of your internal team or in the toolbox of your language services partner, create cost and time efficiencies by reducing repetitive tasks, establishing working protocols, and harnessing, wherever possible, the strength of standardization.
This work may not be pretty, but there is no building a strong house on a poor foundation.
Use Just What You Need
With tight budgets and executives demanding high ROI, the case for investing in technologies that pledge to speed up translation tasks, to track performance, and to shorten localization cycles may be attractive. But don’t be fooled. Implementing Translation and Content Management Systems can be a costly undertaking itself, and may leave you locked in to proprietary technology that cannot meet the needs of your yet-to-be-encountered business priorities in new markets.
“Your CMS will inevitably change, and your beautiful system will become a hindrance,” said Christine Vukusic of SAP Language Services North America in a recent forum. We agree. Far better to use tools that are modular and that can be tweaked to meet specific needs than to bury dollars, labor, and organizational-wide training in a system that will be archaic within moments of its launch.
Deploy the technologies you need — and just those — when you need them.
Get Your House in Order
Having the proper tools in place is of little help to those who are neither trained in nor inspired by the mission’s goals. On the surface, it makes sense to directly recruit those who have experience in the translation and localization industry. However, working with a language services provider means not having to go that time- and cost-intensive route alone. Language services providers are not only expert in the tools themselves, they also usually expert in target markets, which allows them to scale faster to meet demand and allows you to focus on far more important core goals.
Of course, none of this is possible without early and firm commitment from your company’s stakeholders. Lack of executive buy-in alone can undermine localization goals at every turn, whether that is through under-funding the localization budget or in hyper focusing the team on those details above (the operational) rather than on the long-term strategic gains of a localization program.
While the successful localization strategies that raise brands from the minor leagues to the major require more than just this, there’s no reason to doubt that you, right now, can achieve the same. All major brands started small, so the kind of big-dream, upstream visioning that each of these calls for is well within your grasp. So too are the victories that come after making the leap into the global marketplace.
Do you have some questions on this process that you’d like answered by a language services expert? Drop it into the comments section below!