Translating Dialects: Three Project Management Strategies

Depending on where you work, translating software-as-a-service (SaaS) content – instructions, internal software content, navigation, and marketing materials – into regional language dialects is essential for building momentum with users in foreign markets. Where multiple language variants are spoken, deeper localization lets you make more meaningful connections with prospective customers. The following is a closer look at project management strategies for managing dialect-focused translations for SaaS products:

Determining the Relevancy of Dialect in Your Market

It is estimated that there are between 6,000 and 7,000 languages spoken around the world. Many languages, including Spanish and Chinese, have multiple dialects, with the differences ranging from unique slang terms to radically different variations that are nearly unintelligible. Each of these represents translation and project management challenges. However, many businesses find that localization at the dialect level is key to expansion. When developing a translation strategy for your global growth plans, paying attention to dialects improves your product offerings and chances of success in specific markets (rural markets, for example).

Understanding the Deeper Context of Dialect

To outsiders, dialect changes may seem minor. However, to a native speaker, messages in the right dialect communicate much more. These small differences are highly visible and have cultural and geographical significance. Presenting software content in the right dialect is also an important part of the user experience. Instructions in one dialect could confuse users who speak another variation. Businesses evaluating your product or services may choose a competitor if your core SaaS content isn’t available in its language variation. Determine how important dialects are, then develop a list of content assets that are affected. When you are communicating with customers who speak a dialect, it’s important to be thoughtful about the language and context clues geared toward each speaker in your translations.

Developing a Process for Dialect Translation

Localizing content for different languages is straightforward. For example, if you are bringing your software product to Scandinavia, you may have different work streams for Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish translators. When managing SaaS translations at the dialect level, however, project management strategies are essential. Core materials are often translated into a neutral or international language version. Then, translators further localize individual copies with each specific dialect in mind. In other cases, each dialect may be so distinct that the translation from the source language may be handled as two separate processes. Establish a process that handles these decisions and coordinates identifying SaaS source content, dialect localization choices, translator selection, submissions and approval, and the technology needed to give end users the right dialect version.

When you’re translating materials at the dialect level, the right translation management system lets you easily manage the process. Project management techniques can be used to define the work, receive incoming translations, and assemble the final versions for approval.

Image source: Bigstock

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