Pros and Cons of Using a Localization Platform

Consumers want content in their own language. In fact, over 56 percent of buyers put the ability to learn about a product in their native language above any consideration of price. And that’s just the beginning; consumers also want to see culturally relevant images, familiar content layouts, and e-commerce solutions adapted to local currency.

Although going global starts with translation, more important overall is the process of localization, or adapting all aspects of your content to suit a customer’s local preferences. To do this, many companies are now considering the use a localization platform, but is the investment worth the cost? Here’s a look at the key pros and cons.

Pro: Centralization

The first big benefit of using a platform is the ability to centralize your resources and content. This allows all staff working on a localization task to use the same data in real time, preventing redundant translations or discrepancies in tone or voice. With all translation and content conversion handled through a single, centralized channel, you can also eliminate complicated, multi-step workflows and costly delays. This, in turn, reduces project completion times and improves ROI.

Pro: Fewer Staff

A cloud-based localization platform also eliminates the need for local IT staff to maintain and troubleshoot the software. As noted by GALA, human translators are crucial within the localization pipeline, but paying for high-quality translation and localization isn’t easy. By simplifying their IT management, companies can spend money where it matters: translation experts.

Pro: More Tools

In addition to speed and cost savings, localization platforms also come with the benefit of value-added features like style guides and glossaries, for example. Style guides let you create guidelines for translators to use both in specific circumstances and across broader marketing initiatives. These might include market positioning and tone: Does your target market prefer a conversational or formal attitude? Are they more receptive to detailed product information or general descriptions of use? Glossary tools, meanwhile, provide a list of terms that are unique to your business, along with specific words and phrases that should only be translated in a particular way.

Con: High Volumes Needed

How many translation and localization projects does your company complete each year? Each quarter? If you only need your translation software intermittently or during high-volume translation projects at any given time, a localization platform may not deliver the intended ROI. Instead, consider the use of professional translators on an as-needed basis.

Con: Restriction

Some localization platforms are extremely restrictive, preventing you from using the translation and localization service provider of your choice or demanding the use of their in-house translation staff. In this case, it’s best to opt out of a platform, because you can’t be sure of the value you’re getting compared to what you’re spending.

Other platforms attempt to keep your translation memory — the record of everything you’ve ever translated into any other language — with themselves. They may tell you that, because their software performed the translation or their servers hold this data, it’s theirs by right. Don’t be afraid to scrutinize these claims; translation memory always belongs to you.

Con: Pace

It’s also problematic if your localization platform can’t keep up with your content growth. If you need quality, culturally sensitive translation — along with website and app localization — and the platform becomes unresponsive or starts disconnecting users, you should either look for better software or adjust the speed at which you’re expanding to new markets. Ideally, you’re looking for a provider to leverage a global content delivery network. This ensures your content is always hosted as close as possible to its intended audience and your team of translation and localization professionals always has access to their content on-demand. In short, software platforms that keep up under any level of stress will never struggle to deliver when growth ramps up.

Considering a localization platform? The benefits are substantial, but it’s worth taking a hard look at pros and cons. Choose the right platform for your needs, budget, and staff, and you’ll maximize content value and deliver consistent ROI.

About Doug Bonderud

Doug Bonderud is a freelance technology writer with a passion for telling great stories about unique brands. For the past five years, he's covered everything from cloud computing to home automation and IT security. He speaks some French, is fluent in Ancient Greek and a master of Canadian English — and yes, colour needs a 'u'.