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Building Trust Through Quality Localization: A Checklist

Brand loyalty. I don’t mean loyalty to a specific car or piece of clothing, but that kind of loyalty that makes you feel comfortable ordering a product online without ever really seeing it. The kind of loyalty where you know the size will be perfect and the item will last forever. That kind of trust comes from proven, consistent quality.

As in commerce, a focus on the quality of your multilingual content as your highest priority will surely earn you customers’ trust and satisfaction. Having high quality localized content shows them you have high standards and allows them to create an emotional connection with your brand.

But quality in localization can be relative, and it can be a challenge at scale. Here are some strategies that will help you achieve the quality levels you need to build trust, loyalty and a brand that resonates with its target audience.

Is quality really relative?
Definitely. Expectation is the one requirement for disappointment, right?

Think of a speech that will be simultaneously interpreted during a conference and that will also be translated for publication. Would you expect the interpreted and the translated output to be the same? Obviously not. In simultaneous interpreting, “quality" means delivering the message accurately, and the output will never be a word-for-word translation. When the same material goes through translation for publication, “quality" means every comma will be in the right place.

Quality in localization will largely depend on your stakeholder’s (including the requestor and the consumer of the translated content) expectations, which in turn, will depend on the nature of the content you are working with and how it is used. These factors will determine the best localization methodology for your specific context.

Quality at scale
Today one of the localization industry’s biggest challenges is maintaining quality at scale. In the face of ever increasing content volumes and a larger number of required languages, ensuring consistent quality across your content spectrum can be a daunting mission.

Especially in more complex localization operations involving multiple vendors and perhaps in-house translation work, quality can only be achieved through processes and systems that have the capability to ensure consistency in all materials translated.

Invest in quality: People, process, tools
For the best ROI, your investments toward quality must be focused on what really matters. Naturally, qualified linguists will be at the top of your priority list. And if every highly qualified professional were always perfect, you wouldn’t need much else. But we’re not, so applying the right processes and tools must be just as high in priority.

Much like any production system, localization requires investments in:

People:
Would you trust your life to a plane with no pilot? Sounds crazy. We all know that most of the time, technology works best when steered by qualified people. However, people can make or break even the most sophisticated process. Consider all of your people’s needs and ensure they are prepared.

  • Work with qualified translators, knowledgeable reviewers and current subject matter experts.
  • Educate all of your collaborators on the translation process and best practices.
  • Train all system users to make the most of your localization technology.

Processes:
For smooth projects, it is important to involve all stakeholders from the beginning (preferably starting from the source text creation) and enable them through process information and training. Never cut corners and always follow best practices.

  • Start with high quality source materials.
  • Establish an efficient localization workflow, including project management, translation, review and approval.
  • Use an effective and user-friendly feedback loop to ensure your translators become more knowledgeable about the domain.
  • Ensure clarity in communication by specifying goals, focus and channels.
  • Leverage all stakeholders’ knowledge to create a complete and accurate term base and resolve terminology issues before translation starts.
  • Enforce the use of established processes and tools to reduce the recurrence of errors.
  • Add automated Quality Assurance checks to make up for human error.
  • Establish regular Translation Management audits and maintenance efforts to eliminate errors, inconsistencies and duplicate translations to get the best possible leverage.

Tools:
Centralizing your localization processes and automating repetitive tasks will reduce the project management burden and benefit the entire enterprise with higher quality and productivity.

  • Create locale-specific style guides that address all known linguistic and cultural issues.
  • Adopt a terminology management tool that is easy to use and maintain.
  • Use a Translation Management System (TMS) to ensure efficiency and consistency at scale.
  • Ensure your linguists are using an advanced CAT (Computer-Assisted Translation) tool and that it is compatible with your TMS.
  • Leverage state-of-the art machine translation to increase productivity.

Patience is a virtue, but discipline is vital
Quality and trust take time to build, but it can happen more quickly if all parties work together from the start and follow best practices with intent and discipline. With the right localization processes and partners – inside and outside your enterprise – you will create an environment where collaboration comes naturally from the mutual trust that everyone is doing it right. The end result is unavoidable: a reputation for quality and increased market trust.

Check out our state-of-the-art Neural Machine Translation to see how MT can help you scale without losing quality.