You do not have to be a globalization genius to otherwise understand the value of strategic localization investment. With so many language markets and so many content choices, not only would a poorly coordinated effort be a punch to your bottom line, it would likely come back to you as damning feedback from consumers worldwide. In this age of social media, who can afford that kind of blow to their brand’s reputation?
So having made the commitment to language localization, how can your company win the kind of return on investment as seen by the world’s best global brands?
1. Total Organization Buy-In
Organizational efforts to win revenue in global markets cannot be won by localization project managers who are belatedly offered a seat at the decision-makers’ table just before each product roll-out. Consider the speed of today’s product production and distribution cycles. There is simply no time for the second-guessing and error-fixing that comes from such a half-hearted commitment to translation and localization.
It is no wonder, then, that the best-performing global brands have woven a commitment to globalization into the fabric of their organizations. Internationally dispersed teams, while capable of localizing products for their own markets, enjoy the backing of executives in the home office. As a result, instead of defending their silos they are translating that commitment into collaboration on and sharing of localization resources — measures that are time- and cost-saving.
2. Brand Content Strategy
Executive and organizational enthusiasm for globalization goals are nevertheless tempered by the realities of global production, especially when it comes to language.
Consider the African continent, with its more than 2,000 languages and regional dialects. While its emerging markets have proven to be a lucrative investment for a number of global brands, product and service localization costs have proven to be a reasonable barrier to entry for as many other brands. Winning localization ROI means parsing these considerations through two essential questions:
For which markets / consumers should we invest in a translation and localization effort?
With all the possible content and all the potential distribution channels in mind, which will we invest in for those target markets / consumers?
3. Proper Tools for the Job
Knowing which markets will be targeted and which content will be served up for them are half of the equation. The other half is in processing and delivering that content. In the face of today’s ever faster time-to-market demands, ROI can only be won by smoothing out the wrinkles in the production cycle so that content flows in, through, and out of translation and localization processes.
That is why top performing brands are masters at Agile Localization. They embrace iteration and automation. They value standards. They capitalize on existing content. They guarantee quality results. And they do all of this for diverse markets and diverse languages at the volumes and speeds of those markets.
4. Right Language Partners
What they are not doing, of course, is going it alone. Consider how diverse the world’s markets are. The infrastructure investment of an internal localization effort would be crippling for even the world’s top brands. So not only are localization efforts best outsourced, they are best in the hands of language services providers that are based and deeply rooted in target markets.
Moreover, the best translation / localization companies match their market insight to a comprehensive suite of market services — services that are far more comprehensive than the old “price per word” model. As natives in their marketplace, these companies work as true partners — navigating brands through local regulatory requirements to the tech and human resources that can achieve their market goals.
KPI, QBR, LQA — whatever the relevant acronym, the final key to localization ROI is measuring results. The evaluation of how your translation and localization effort is performing is critical to understanding how well any of the above keys are helping your company reach market goals.
How are you performing? What supports, direction changes, or greater investments are needed in underperforming areas? Only having metrics in place — for time, cost, and quality returns in each market — can answer those questions and give meaning to strategic localization.
How is your company meeting its localization ROI? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.