Agile Development Puts Translation Speed to the Test

“Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.”

With those 16 words, the authors of the Agile Manifesto defined the first principle of what may prove to be the most impactful business philosophy of the 21st Century. Sixteen years later, their radical assertions have become mainstream methods.

Seventy-seven percent of all software organizations now apply agile tactics of some sort, according to Atlassian, with 50% already graduating to a policy of continuous delivery. For their business colleagues, that’s meant releasing new products faster and updating them more frequently than ever before.

The motivations inspiring these advances are clear. Shorter release cycles bring faster feedback, enabling teams to abandon flawed assumptions more quickly and innovate more efficiently. And in a space as crowded and competitive as the technology sector, the difference between market domination and company liquidation is often decided by whose team delivers the right set of features first.

In addition to the tangible outputs of innovation, there is also the perception of innovation to consider. A reputation for continuous improvement and a record of incorporating customer feedback can be powerful brand assets. In fact, consumer research has revealed that 83% of electronics industry shoppers will pay more for a product manufactured by a company they deem innovative.

Localization: The Disruptor of Disruptors

Maintaining a rapid rhythm of coding, shipping, and improving products becomes much more complicated when localization is added to the equation.

The tedious work of gathering, translating, and updating content has historically been anything but agile. And the requirements of software localization extend far beyond simply changing units of measure and translating a few dozen words in the user interface. Successful product releases now demand updates to marketing collateral and support resources as well.

This new limitation of translation speed leaves most teams with three bad options to choose from:

  • Avoid localization altogether and ignore global opportunities
  • Localize products on a lag and give non-English users a subpar experience
  • Slow product release cycles and give all users a similar but subpar experience

There is a fourth option, though, for frustrated developers who know where to look.

Adapting Translation to Changing Requirements

Product development went agile, marketing is agile, and even finance has tested the waters. By comparison, do you think translation is still too complex to change?

Just as market forces drove development teams to accelerate their production pace, organizational mandates are driving localization teams to accelerate their translation speeds. So it should come as little surprise to see a framework for agile translation already on its way to achieving critical mass.

Translation management software is giving technical and business stakeholders a centralized space to set priorities, monitor progress, and identify obstacles. Customizable workflows are empowering teams to collaboratively build and apply creative solutions. Intelligent integrations are exponentially accelerating the flow of content between people and platforms.

As a result, content translation can now run at whatever speed product developers dictate.

Learn More

Read our Canary Case Study to see how agile translation keeps the home security startup on course for global growth.