7 Things To Look For In A Localization Tool
Finding the right localization tool might seem like looking for a needle in a haystack. Get started with these top 7 features to help you find the right fit.
Startup, growth, maturity and renewal. These are the 4 stages of growth every business goes through. And regardless of the stage, It's never too early or too late, to start thinking about localization.
Timing always depends on the possibilities and plans of an individual business, but there’s one thing all agree on - to leave the chaos of manual localization behind.
Businesses nowadays, regardless of the size, choose automation, simplicity and effectiveness, all which can be found in a localization tool. The benefits of localization tools are undeniable, and have been proven to save time and money. And who doesn’t want that?
With the abundance of localization tools available today, finding the ‘one’ has become a bit more complex. But, once you’re past that hurdle, it’s smooth sailing the rest of the way.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the top 7 features your localization tool should have, for seamless localization workflow.
1. Full automation
Switching from outdated and messy spreadsheets, means choosing a fully automated solution. This will ensure you deliver fast, without sacrificing quality in the process.
Your localization tool should automate data exchange, because writing scripts for localization is still manual work.
Having a reliable CLI, or REST API for more advanced use cases, means being able to integrate localization into your workflow, knowing you will have the latest translations in every build.
If you’re looking to localize a mobile app, then localization software offering Over the Air (OTA) Mobile SDK feature is a must. This will give you the flexibility you need, and allow you to make textual changes swiftly, without having to create a new release each time.
Automation can help reduce your workload, saving your team valuable time, without having to make compromises.
2. Great documentation
Having a great localization tool, but now knowing how to implement it properly due to poor documentation brings you right back to those spreadsheets.
We’ve already established that automation is a must. But what good does it do if it takes your dev team days to figure it out, and you still end up with a poorly implemented solution?
A good localization software should give you the tools to succeed - meaning, clear and easy to go through documentation for the developers. And step-by-step guides for the managers and translators.
Localization tools are here to make your job (and life) easier. If they’re giving you headaches, then they’re definitely not doing a great job at it.
3. User-friendly interface
The whole point of localization tools is to speed up your workflow, not slow it down. Having a complex interface can cause you issues down the road.
As someone from the IT industry, you might be comfortable using complex software. However, you need to be mindful of other team members as well. Localization brings people from many different industries together, and some are not as comfortable using complex interfaces as others.
While it make sense for you that a certain option is buried under a pile of other functionalities, for others it might be the complete opposite.
Think of other team members when choosing a localization software, because it should be intuitive and easy to use for everyone. This way you’ll make sure you’re getting the maximum out of your localization tool.
4. Centralized access
Working from Japan one day, and France the other, was once almost impossible. And today, it’s a common occurrence. Many companies are switching to remote work, allowing their employees to work from anywhere in the world, not having to worry they won’t have all the resources they need to successfully do their jobs.
Your localization tool should match. Meaning that all of the information should be easily accessible from wherever you are, on any device they want. This makes is easy for your team members to collaborate, and ensures localization runs smoothly.
Having a cloud-based localization tool can help your translators work in-sync with other translators on your project. Mangers can easily review everything that has been done, without having to wait for email updates and adjusting to different time zones. And your dev team can be at ease knowing everything is going like clockwork.
As a manager, you need to be in full control of your localization process. This means being able to manage who can access certain data, add and remove contributors, create numerous projects, and work with different file formats.
That’s why it’s essential to look for a localization tool that allows you to have the freedom you need, and isn’t limiting you to work with only one file format. You need to be able to easily import or export data in the file format you need (not the file format your localization tool prefers), without having to include additional services to transfer the format.
Working with multiple team members and translators, means you might want to give them different permission levels, and switch them between projects occasionally. If your localization tool isn’t giving you the flexibility you need to manage your localization projects, chances are it’s not a great fit.
6. Effortless communication
We’ve never met a team that has great results, without having great communication as well. These two go hand in hand, and one without the other is almost impossible.
When choosing a localization tool, make sure it has various communication options that will help you easily communicate with your team and vice versa.
Emails are a great way to communicate, but once you’re inbox is overflowing, it can be hard to find certain emails and communication can be delayed.
That’s why your software of choice should allow in-app commenting, and the option to mention multiple team members on a certain term.
Another great option is having tags, to notify translators if a certain term needs their immediate attention, or should be reviewed again.
Screenshots can be another great addition, which can be used to provide additional context for your translators (or other team members) so you know you’re getting the absolute best content quality.
7. Multiple translation options
Good localization tools should give you multiple translation options. Machine translation has become widely popular and many businesses use it to translate shorter content or to test their localization workflow.
Having machine translation gives you flexibility and freedom to test the localization tool as well as your localization process before getting a translator on board.
In case you are not ready for a long term commitment with a translator on your end, your localization tool should give you the option of ordering translation from a professional translator through the app.
Machine and human translation, both great options - and your localization tool should allow you to test both.
If you decide to work with a translator on your end, your software should offer them additional help when translating such as Translation Memory and Translation History.
Translation memory can save your translators the hassle of translating the same content twice, and reuse their previous translation. Not only will this save your translators the time they’d spend on repetitive tasks, but you’ll also get your translation faster.
Translation history is a great feature allowing the managers to preview older translation versions and revert to a previous version within seconds. It’s also a great way for translators to review their previous work and collaborate with other translators.
Which localization tool is the right fit for my team?
Every team has different needs, which means that one localization tool might not be a great fit for everyone. Before you make your decision, discuss with your team what your needs are, and use the 7 features mentioned above as guidance.
What’s great about localization tools is that you can test them before subscribing, as many of them offer a free trial.
It’s always recommended you start localizing as soon as possible, but don’t be hasty, because you don’t want to compromise and sacrifice quality in the process.
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