Most companies performing product localization rely on in-country partners or staffs to test and proof the localized product before it is released. It is a prudent measure to take that not only ensures end-user satisfaction, but also provides valuable information and feedback to your localization team that will help them improve long-term quality and better meet users’ evolving needs.
Companies go about assigning in-country help in many ways. The following are some alternatives, along with important matters to consider before the project starts.
Paid vs. volunteered
In-country staffs, which are often sales professionals, are frequently asked to volunteer their time to perform the localization proof. The logic is that their input will help improve quality and hence, sales. Sales staffs’ primary function, however, is to sell. They are hired and compensated accordingly. This priority always takes precedence over proofing products, causing unwanted delays in schedules and releases during their busy times, such as end of quarter or end of year.
When working with volunteers, recognize that you have limited control over them and schedule plenty of time to allow for other priorities to surface while the localization proof is taking place. Also, plan for in-country vacation schedules, which may be very different from local schedules. If you want full control over the project, do not recruit volunteers – hire professionals. The extra cost is well justified by quicker time-to-market.
Language vs. product proficiency
When hiring in-country reviewers to proof the localized product, identify up front the added value you expect them to bring to the table. Often the expertise needed during the proof stage is not necessarily language-related but rather, product-related. This can complement the language expertise of the technical translation staffs.
Your in-country reviewers should have the product knowledge to ensure that the localized product is well understood by local users. But if the reviewers lack language expertise, continue to give your localization staffs the authority to correct any typos or other language errors introduced during the proof process.
Your in-country staffs have a purpose and are expected to add value. Do not fault your localization team if that added value does take place. Look at the changes as enhancements, not corrections to mistakes introduced due to incompetence. Encourage the localization team to review the changes, learn from them, and adapt to better meet future needs. Updating style guides, glossaries and the translation databases with this information clears a path to perfection.
Tool and process proficiency
Often the process in which the proof stage is implemented is not defined until after the team is assembled and the project begins. Avoid doing this. Before the project starts, make sure that the localization and in-country review teams agree how they will interface, including the file formats they will use and interchange. Also, ensure that the process works in an efficient, repetitive, and constructive manner.
An infrastructure will need to be put in place to achieve that. Special tools and techniques may need to be acquired by the in-country reviewers. If they are not properly used, the translation database may become inaccurate or the files that are being reviewed may become corrupted, creating more work on the back end for the localization team.
Always iron out all the process and tool details before the project starts, and make sure everyone is trained in using them. Pilot runs are ideal in this situation.
Integration of the requirements and the team
In-country reviewers are often the final judges of the quality of the localized product. Gaps in the quality always occur when the requirements are not properly communicated by them or to them. Make sure that your localization team and your in-country reviewers agree on the requirements and quality standards from the beginning of a project. This way, everyone works for a common goal. When in-country reviewers are treated as an afterthought to the entire process—as is often the case—glossaries, translation memories (databases), style guides and other requirements are not communicated to them until it may be too late.
In-country reviewers should be an integral part of the localization team and project from the start that is, if you want complete and timely success of your projects. By using an online Translation Management System (TMS), like gvAccess.com, you can not only facilitate collaboration and communication between your in-country reviewers and the localization team, but also ensure that the correct workflow, process and quality is maintained throughout and that all stakeholders contribute effectively when and as needed in the entire project cycle.