When briefing in any project, the first question should always be: how long will it take? And when that project has a localization component, understanding the project timeframe is even more important.
The key is to plan early. As soon as you’re aware that translation is required, your starting point should be sitting down with a localization service provider (LSP) so that they can help you plan effectively. Good project management from your LSP can help you scope your project thoroughly, assess risks, provide a clear schedule so tasks are done in the right order and help you move tasks off the critical path. This helps reduce stress and time to market.
Having a gauge of the number of words you need translated is essential. A good rule of thumb for translation is 2 000 words per day, on average, once translation is in progress. For small volumes there’s a ramp up time for the LSP, so the earlier you start to plan with the LSP, the smoother the project will run. And if you’re looking to send English content and your target market content together, then you need to plan extra carefully. One also needs to factor in the time needed to create glossaries and style guides.
When planning any translation project, you should ask yourself a few simple questions:
- When do I need to have the content ready?
- Is there a need for a pre-final content stage?
- When is the source content final and ready for translation?
- Have I clearly identified the content for translation?
- In what format will I provide the content to be translated and are all source files available?
- What languages do I need this content in and which countries are being targeted?
- What other tasks need to be done for this to be ready for market?
- Will we have reviewers look at the content?
When it comes to localization different things take longer than others, of course.
With video localization, translating the script is often the smallest part of the project because scripts are generally quite short. It’s the other tasks that can prove complicated. Your LSP needs a clear idea of the project schedule to ensure that voice samples can be recorded and provided on the correct dates. If your LSP is creating videos, they need the source videos and should know the software that these were created in; they’ll also need information around output formats, video quality and screen resolution to ensure you get the correct deliverables back.
Here are a few questions you should be asking:
- Do I have the source video?
- Do I want a voice-over for this video? If so, what sort of voice?
- Do I need subtitles?
- What should the subtitles look like?
- Are subtitles already used in English?
- Is there on-screen text which requires localization or will this remain in English?
- Who is going to create the videos for the target markets?
With website localization, it’s important to involve your web team early to plan effectively.
Often the translation of web content is the simplest part of the process, but planning how that content will be exported/imported can take a lot longer. Discuss with your web team and your LSP how best to export content for translation. For smaller projects, you can copy and paste from Word or Excel. However, this probably won’t work for larger scale projects.
A few website localization questions to consider:
- Which pages need to be localized?
- Is there localized content already on your website?
- How will you set up the local pages?
- Will people access these pages via the main site or will there be country-specific URLs?
- How will you map the local content within your CMS?
- Are there graphics which require localization?
- How am I going to keep localized content in sync with US content going forward?
- Will content be regularly updated?
- Who will be responsible for getting the content back into the CMS?
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