- Step 1: Evaluation
- Step 2: Preparation
- Step 3: Execution
- Step 4: QA
- Step 5: Delivery
- Step 6: Closing
- The Do's
- The Dont's
- Terms & Definitions
One of the most important steps in the localization process comes way before project start. PMs have to analyze and evaluate all project data in order to ensure smooth project execution, minimizing the risk for shortfalls. These are factors that the client cannot anticipate - and rightly so - but our PMs will have to indentify and act accordingly.
Some considerations to be taken into account before project start are:
- Project data: File format, wordcount, graphics, software UI
- Deadline: Is the time requested/available enough to deliver a quality result?
- Order Confirmation: PMs send the order confirmation to client, clearly outlining project costs, potential pitfalls, and other important issues.
Client is contacted to resolve all possible issues and then project begins.
Following project evaluation and client approval, our Project Managers will start preparing the project for kick-off. Again, a careful preparation will minimize the risk of issues or problems appearing during project execution, thus ensuring smooth completion.
Here are a few important steps in the project preparation stage:
- Selection of the most appropriate linguistic resources, according to content, language, deadline, style, target audience, etc. Not all translators can translate all types of content.
- Incorporation of possible DTP/formatting tasks into schedule, and resource coordination.
- Gathering reference material for linguists, ensuring that the appropriate terminology will be used.
- Preparing Localization Kit for Project Hand-off.
- Incorporating factors such as different time zones of linguists, PMs, client, possible changes to source content during project, etc. into project schedule.
Project gets under way. Nevertheless, our PMs have a lot to take care of:
- Monitor project progress, ensure timely deliveries by all parties involved.
- Resolve queries, terminology/linguistic issues - often in collaboration with client.
- Coordinate all project stakeholders, translators, editors, DTPers, testers, etc.
- Compliance with project and client technical instructions and requirements.
- Localization checks (length restrictions, character corruption, text truncation, etc.)
- Software or web site testing (if applicable).
After the project is QAed, the delivery process kicks-off, including the following steps:
- Making sure all deliverables are in the Delivery Set, including localized files, graphics, TMs, etc.
- A Delivery Note accompanies every delivery, outlining what is included in the Delivery Set and adding any required comments/notes.
After the delivery of the project to the client, there are still a few steps before it is considered closed:
- Receive client's approval or possible comments/changes/updates to be implemented.
- Implement changes and update files, TMs, etc.
- Send client a Customer Satisfaction form.
- Evaluate resources that were involved in the project.
- Archive project files or delete them, depending on project confidentiality grading.
Here is a quick list that you should have in mind when preparing your product or service for localization.
- Incorporate the translation/localization process into your time schedule and budget.
- Try to make your products or services localization-ready.
- Look for the source files if possible. These might be in an editable format such as a Word file or Quark, InDesign, etc.
All the above will enable faster, more efficient process, from quote to project completion, and will also reduce the overall localization cost.
...And a quick list of things to avoid that can lead to issues and delays during localization.
- Although changes to the source text can happen during localization, try to avoid them as much as possible.
- Do not use Machine Translation for content such as a web site, marketing collaterals, medical/pharmaceutical documents. Your brand image (and your business) can get a serious blow!
- And remember: Translation is a complex process; just because your friend's cousin studied abroad does not mean that they are suitable to market your brand in another country.
Terms & Definitions
Some basic definitions for you to help you with the industry jargon while you prepare to engage in a localization project.
- Globalization - Refers to the process that addresses business issues associated with launching a product globally, such as integrating localization throughout a company after proper internationalization and product design.
- Internationalization - Especially in a computing context, the process of generalizing a product so that it can handle multiple languages and cultural conventions - currency, number separators, dates and so on - without the need for redesign.
- Localization - The process of adapting a product or software to a specific language or culture so that it seems natural to that particular region. True localization considers language, culture, customs and the characteristics of the target locale. It frequently involves changes to the software's writing system and may change keyboard use and fonts as well as date, time and monetary formats.
- Translation - The process of converting all of the text or words from the source language to the target language. An understanding of the context or meaning of the source language must be established in order to convey the same message in the target language.
- Translation Memory (TM) - A special database that stores previously translated sentences which can then be reused, in full or in part, on a sentence by sentence basis. The database matches source to target language pairs.
- Repetitions - A source text segment that corresponds exactly (100%) with a sentence in a translation memory tool within the same document or set of documents.
- Full Match (100% Match) - A source text segment that corresponds exactly (100%) with a previously stored sentence in a translation memory tool.
- Fuzzy Matches - Refers to the situation when a phrase or sentence in a translation memory (TM) is similar (but not a 100% match) to the sentence or phrase the translator is currently working on. The TM tool calculates the degree of similarity or "fuzziness" as a percentage figure.
- Machine Translation (MT) - A technology that translates text from one human language to another, using terminology glossaries and advanced grammatical, syntactic and semantic analysis techniques.
- Source Files - Usually, the original files where the content to be localized was initially created/inserted in. For example, a Word file, a Quark Xpress, InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop file, a Flash file, an HTML file, etc.
- DTP - Using computers to lay out text and graphics for printing in magazines, newsletters, brochures and so on. A good DTP system provides precise control over templates, styles, fonts, sizes, color, paragraph formatting, images and fitting text into irregular shapes.
- LSO (Language Sign-Off) - A series of QA checks in the final localized products, including linguistic accuracy, font corruption, text truncation, software testing, web site functionality testing, etc.