File management for localization

April 13, 2020

File management is a topic that’s often overlooked, but when it comes to your global content strategy, it’s critically important. Correctly optimizing your localization files will save a considerable amount of time for you, your localization service provider (LSP), and your translators – leading to faster content delivery, fewer mistakes, and lower costs.

Fortunately, preparing files for localization is easier than you might expect. You can streamline the localization process for all parties by keeping things simple.

Keep it simple

An easy trap to fall into is assuming that you will make things easier for translators if you copy your content into a format such as Excel or Word. But in reality, this only adds to the complication. It’s actually better to provide localization files in their native format, whether that be HTML, strings, JSON, RC, INDD, FM, or otherwise.

Changing the file format adds to your workload both in preparing the files for translation and in copying the translated content into the correct places when you get it back. Each time you change the file format, you risk missing content or adding in mistakes. And if you copy content into Excel or Word, you may introduce unnecessary additional formatting to the files which can make them difficult to process in a Translation Management System (TMS).

Naturally, if you are keeping localization files in their native formats, you need to make sure that your LSP can handle that format. This will ensure that translators don’t have mess around with formatting on their end. What’s more, working with the native format can actually improve the quality of translation, since the translator has additional contextual information to help them better understand where the content will go. With some formats the translators will even be able to check the layout.

Your Global Content Partner can help set up your files for translation

If you’re worried that your files aren’t well optimized for localization, a Global Content Partner can help. At Rubric, we maintain ongoing feedback loops with our clients to help them prepare their source content, and we have helped many of them clean up complex files sets and simplify them for localization.

Here are some examples of the ways that we optimize source content:

  • Removing redundant content
  • Giving files meaningful names so it is clear to the translator what they are working on
  • Ensuring that language codes are correct
  • Testing content with pseudo-translation to ensure that it can be easily manipulated by clients when they receive it back

Send LSPs all the files they need, and none that they don’t

One easy file management mistake that we sometimes see is clients sending us unnecessary content. They’ll give us the entire project folder, complete with old drafts, reports and unused audio. This risks over-translation if content that isn’t actually needed is included in the project scope. Furthermore, inclusion of unnecessary content can lead to problems with file transfer and delays. Always try to keep your folders up-to-date, streamlined, and well labelled – and only send over files that are needed.

If you’d like to learn more about optimizing your file management, look out for a more detailed guide that we’ll be publishing soon. In the meantime, check out some of our other resources – we’ve done deep dives into Video Localization, Business Transformations, and Online Learning Localization.

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