“Best practices” is starting to become one of those terms we skeptically tune out during the sales process: we’ve all experienced transactions where the supposed “best practices” have zero basis in the vendor’s operational reality.
But we’re among those who believe joining the words “best” and “practice” can actually connote an ideal process, and thereby become something meaningful and admirable. In the spirit of reclaiming the term from those who dismiss it as a meaningless buzz phrase, let’s take a moment to define what “best practices” should mean.
Best practices are the distilled wisdom of a broad range of experiences — successes, failures, and the ground in between — that should guide us to reproduce successful results repeatably and measurably.
Best practices are neither completely technical nor completely strategic, and are therefore both quantitative and qualitative. That is, while best practices require a visionary perspective that looks beyond simple checklists, they are nevertheless bolstered by tools that include checks, benchmarks, deadlines, metrics, and more.
Yet best practices are firmly based in their particular context. What constituted best practices in television production in the 1950s, for example, are not the best practices of television production in 2015. Time raises the bar on what best practices are. But even in the same temporal era, no two situations are exactly the same nor do they yield exactly the same results. In this respect, best practices can imagine the future but they cannot determine it.
So what, then, makes for best practices in their simplest sense?
Best practices are personal.
This is not about a one-size-fits-all approach nor is it the Swiss Army knife fix-it tool of your wildest dreams. Best practices are about letting a collective wisdom lead to processes, tools, and people who can achieve “what’s best for you.”
Best practices are achievable.
Indeed, we must start with the presumption that, with a strong knowledge base, anyone can meet their optimal goals. But best practices ask us to assess our capabilities and to improve on our potential.
Best practices hold us accountable.
To have any hold over what we do, best practices must be shared and communicated. Not only must we meet our own understanding of what is best, we must understand, meet, and exceed the standards expectations set by our industry, our clients, government regulators, and the public.
8 Must-Read Resources on Translation and Localization Best Practices
So while translation and localization best practices are situational, here is a collection of those available online that we really love (plus two of our own). Check these out:
- Internationalization and Localization Guide (Apple iOS Developer Library)
- Preparing for a Global Audience (Apple)
- Go Global Developer Center (Microsoft Developer Network)
- Localization Best Practices for Windows Phone 8
- Localization Checklist (Android Developers)
- Localization Content Best Practices (Mozilla Developer Network)
- Five Golden Rules to Achieve Agile Localization (Adobe Globalization)
- Localization & Translation (Facebook)
- Localization Best Practices – The Essentials (Moravia)
- Best Practices in Translation & Localization Program Management (Moravia)
What’s your take on translation and localization industry best practices? What are your must-read resources on this subject? Please share in the comments section below.