Translation and Localization: Options for Getting into More Markets Faster

tomedes logoSpeaking the language of a target audience is key to market penetration and success. A new batch of Translation and Localization tools automates the process and expedites penetration into new markets. But do they successfully achieve the quality language that native speakers expect? Even the world Localization is a case in point. In the US you would use a “z” while in Europe you would use an “s” – and say “whilst.” So you are constantly making localized, or localized, choices – even within the same language.

All can agree that adapting Marketing campaigns to additional foreign markets, or to multilingual domestic markets, can be a good thing in principle. You will always be more effective if you speak the language of your audience. But at the heart of every such decision, there is a cost-benefit calculation. Will the extra effort and expense of Localizing be justified by business results?  Is there a risk that low quality or problematic Translation will backfire and create negative impressions?

Professional: Best Quality, But at a Price

Those who want to play it safe and aim for the highest quality outcome will pay a premium and turn to a top-echelon Translation company. Tomedes stands out from the pack for its sensitivity not just to technical quality of the Translation but also to cultural issues affecting how certain word choices work in specific national or regional markets.

Every marketer is told about the classic snafu decades back when General Motors wanted to introduce its Chevrolet economy car to Mexico. Turns out that Nova in Spanish also means “no go” – and that’s exactly how the Nova Marketing campaign supposedly went, or, rather, didn’t go. Turns out the whole story was an urban legend. But even in less extreme or more historical cases, nuances can get easily lost in Translation if one ignores the shades of grey in the connotations of words and phrases.

But let’s say you’re a bit bolder and seek a less expensive Localization solution, rather than passing the responsibility to an expert Translation and/or Localization agency. What are your options?

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Middle Road Localization: Manage Freelancers

There are huge freelance marketplaces like Upwork and Freelancer. There you can find hundreds of freelance translators from one language to another. Make sure to check their rating and reviews, seeking the top tier with similar projects under their belts. Look for specifics in their resumes and online profiles. Check that they specialize in exactly what you are looking for: Website translations, internationalization of printed collateral, video campaigns or TV spots. Each of these has its own set of language standards, so you need to seek out professionals who have that specific experience or expertise.

When you negotiate a contract, make sure to specify if you are working by an hourly rate, by a fixed fee, or by a word rate. If the latter, specify if it is measured by the words in the original document or the resulting translation. This will avoid misunderstandings.

The pros and cons of this route? There’s the logistical and management complication of seeking out, contracting, instructing, reviewing and evaluating the work of a bunch of Translation and Localization freelancers. Everything can go smoothly, or your chosen contractor can get the flu, go on a bender, or take an unexpected holiday in Spain. If you deal with a professional Translation agency, they relieve you of that headache and uncertainty. You’ll pay some overhead for that, but it may well be worth it. If it goes smoothly, you can pat yourself on the back for a wise and frugal choice.

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Translation Automation Options: Localize but at What Cost?

If you scan Digital Trends or gobble down the Marketing technology news, as most of us do, we’re constantly on the lookout for automation options that use AI or other smart approaches to optimize laborious manual tasks. There are plenty of tools out there for various kinds of Translation and Localization uses.

For Localizing software, such as store-download apps or installable applications, there’s a whole category of software-specific products that rapidly adapt databases or lists of terms to different languages. Some products apply “Machine Translation”– the most famous and popular being Google Translation and Amazon Translate. Others “assist” translators or manage the Translation process for professionals in a Translation or Localization agency (see first section above) or dedicated Localization teams in a company. In these categories, Transifex and MemoQ stand out in a recent G2 survey.

Even if you take this route, it’s probably going to be a good idea to hire a professional Translation or Localization agency or an expert freelancer to at least check the automated work. That way you can avoid embarrassing mistakes and get the best balance of cost, quality, and time to market.

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