As the global marketplace expands and becomes digitized, it’s important to ensure that your services are localized. There are no two ways about it, you need to speak directly to your customers in a language they understand. But localization is not merely a matter of translating products into various languages. It’s about creating a strategy that is understood and consistent across all of your company’s departments.
The great news, is that these days, localization is easier than ever – and this is thanks to the CSA Research’s Localization Maturity Model (LMM). In simple terms, the LMM is in place to ensure that your requirements for localization are carried out by the best teams and processes and are based specifically on your unique needs and market.
Not sure if the LMM would be right for your company? Then take a look at what incorporating it could mean for you:
The LMM takes the localization journey to a new level
The LMM is structured according to nine levels or stages of localization maturity. Each level has a strategic process in place in order to propel a company to the next level – until full localization (stage nine) is reached. Technically, the nine levels are divided into two categories: mature and immature. While localization should always be on a trajectory towards growth and improvement, there are companies that can be deemed as ‘localization immature’. In essence, there are five maturity phases and four immaturity phases. They are as follows:
1 – Reactive – At this phase, workflows are kept relatively ad hoc, things are done as they need to be done and there is a lot of uncertainty around roles and responsibility. There aren’t proper plans or strategies in place.
2 – Repeatable – At this level, there are a few processes in place and some of them are updated and used regularly.
3 – Managed – There are signs of things being much more formal and documented at this stage. Localization is actively being managed and various vendors are used.
4 – Optimized – In this phase, there is an optimized and managed system of localization. It’s a priority for the company, standards and processes are adhered to, and tools are shared internally.
5 – Transparent – In this phase, there are well-implemented systems, processes, and tools in place. They are constantly being improved upon and scaled. Localization is an integral part of the company and all products and release planning are based on it.
0 – Negligent – This is the categorization for companies that do not see the need for localization. They therefore have not even thought about implementing any processes or applying it to any of their products.
-1 – Obstructive – This is the phase for companies that let things such as budget get in the way of localization. It’s the category for operations that have something ‘standing in their way’.
-2 – Scornful – This often happens when people have tried the process before and it didn’t work. Disillusioned from their experience, and thinking it’s bound to fail, they feel that implementing any localization processes is futile.
-3 – Discouraging – People who categorically are anti-localization. It’s a very negative phase where people are often under pressure due to strict budgets that need very thorough reports and information to justify any costs.
The LMM is designed to help companies progress from whichever stage they already are in to a more optimized stage using strong strategies and processes to move through the levels. It also helps them to understand where they have come from, where they are currently, and what they need to work towards.
The LMM can give you a better return on investment
The reality is that with the LMM implemented you are empowered to select the best vendors, create solid and successful strategies, implement streamlined processes, utilize the ideal tools and set up the most important KPIs. This in the long term will ensure that you are able to achieve the lowest total cost of ownership and increase your ROI.
In a personal capacity, using the LMM in conjunction with a localization service provider to achieve everything we just mentioned also gives you better access to the key decision makers within your organization. This will allow you to achieve more in less time and show your value to the right people.
The steps to implementing the LMM are simple
Each core element of implementing the LMM is essential to the success of the process, and the steps to incorporate them are simple:
Governance is the process of ensuring that everything that is done is tracked and is in accordance with agreed-upon policies. This can be done by looking at KPIs that can be monitored and tracked.
It’s vital that a firm strategy is created to achieve localization. This is where companies will set long-term goals and budgets for expansion and growth. This is where a conversation about localization needs to be opened throughout the company and filter through to all departments so that it can form part of the company strategy and in order for people to see the value of localization. This requires a content audit in order to see which markets are your biggest and smallest, and what content you currently have in order to see what can be leveraged. This is a process that will take some time to fully integrate.
For localization to be successful, there needs to be a set and defined process, or set of processes, in place. It’s crucial that this process is documented so that everyone in the internal team can all be on the same page. This document can be agile and can be added to as the processes evolve. You can kick this off by listing any processes you might already have in place.
This links to the point above. It’s crucial that once you have implemented localization processes, they are clearly communicated to the rest of the team. Make sure that the concept of localization, best practices, style guides, and glossaries are shared, explained and discussed. Ensure that your upper management understands the importance of the Center of Excellence.
The wonderful thing about localization is that operations can be automated, this doesn’t necessarily impact every department, but it’s a vital part of the process and worth understanding.
Your exact steps will be dictated by your current position in the localization journey. If you would like to find out more information about the LMM or are looking for help in implementing the right processes for your business, then contact us at Rubric.
Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash