Meeting tight deadlines is a crucial part of any business. But when it comes to global content creation, there are many obstacles that can slow you down. Here’s how to optimize your content localization process for maximum time efficiency without compromising accuracy and quality.
GUIDELINES AND PEOPLE
Outline the core tenets of your brand message and voice. This guideline should be referred to and internalized by everyone working on your content. In a time-crunch, it helps promote efficiency by avoiding multiple rounds of review and iteration due to a lack of common understanding around your messaging. Content audits, brand workshops and tone-of-voice and style guides are all great ways to set the scene for effective, efficient, high-quality content creation both domestically and globally.
A simple yet powerful tool for reducing localization delays is a thorough and consistent briefing template. Detailed briefs are key to providing context for any creative process and can mitigate time-consuming questions or the need to retroactively resolve consistency issues. An effective brief also enables a dedicated team of linguists to streamline the content-creation process.
Pick the right team
Selecting the right copywriters and linguists is a nuanced process that consists of three core elements: subject matter, style/tone and the nature/purpose of the content.
Language is subjective and content goals are varied, so workflow delays often stem from dissatisfaction over the linguistic accuracy, consistency and tone. Working with experienced in-country teams who are already immersed in your brand voice and are compatible with the content will drastically improve timeliness, while maintaining the desired quality. Consider that quick turnaround translation services usually rely on “just in time” resource allocation. So while the outcome of that may be superhuman speed, the result can be lackluster and cost you time and money in the long run if the translation is not aligned with your content goals.
Define the linguistic scope
Deciding how many quality stages to include in your content-creation process depends on the nature of the content. High visibility, branded content usually warrants a multi-stage localization process to ensure high quality. Even with the efficiency-driven measures we’ve outlined above, the more linguists needed to develop your in-language content, the longer the localization process will be.
Write for localization
For highly informational content (which isn’t necessarily heavily branded or creative by design), take the time from the start of the English copywriting stage to internationalize your content. This will save time spent at the local level to adapt your content so that it’s more culturally appropriate. And it can also help you avoid using language and tones that may be inappropriate in other markets. This strategy will also increase both the accuracy and consistency of your translations, as well as potentially cut down the number of linguistic stages needed to carry out localization.
TECHNOLOGY AND TOOLS
To support the human element in your content creation, here are some tactical things you can do to create a solid foundation for fast content turnarounds.
Glossary & translation memory updates
Implementing and maintaining up-to-date glossaries and translation memories will speed up your workflow. These tools store approved terms and segments, which allow linguists to leverage technology to aid the translation process. Keep in mind, though, that the magic of these tools doesn’t lie purely in the software. It also relies on the expertise of the content specialists who maintain your language content using these tools, as well as the strategies they employ based on the nature of your content.
Automated file handling
Process automation is key for any translation strategy to achieve significant scale. By using content APIs, you can automate your content localization processes for CRM- and CMS-based content. This eliminates the need for users to manually export/import or worse, manually cut/paste content, and helps reduce post-localization QA cycles.
QA testing tools
Integrated QA tools can be configured to flag any breaking changes for both functionality and layout. Incorporating these tools at various points in your workflows will trap the errors as close as possible to the point of origin, and can usually identify the exact change. Automated notifications sent to the person responsible for the change provide a quick feedback loop and prevent errors from passing “downstream,” where fixing them may involve significantly more time and work.
The ability to visualize and report on each stage of production in real time alleviates the challenge (and manual effort) of managing a complex global content workflow involving multiple content contributors and stakeholders. More importantly, it allows you to evaluate the data and trends of how efficiently (or inefficiently) the content-creation process is working. Then you can identify and address bottlenecks and costly iterative steps in the workflow.
If your team is struggling to manage the localization process with traditional project management tools, it may be worth considering translation management or global content management systems designed specifically for this purpose.
The key to delivering high-quality content on time is not to expect localized content creation to take less time, care, planning and organization than it takes to produce your English content. With the right localization partners and resources, tools/guidelines and, most importantly, human talent, you can meet and beat your deadlines. And you can do it without compromising quality and maximize the return on your localization investment.