What Features should you Look for when Ordering a Localization?

Localization, understood as a discipline linked to translation, is the process of adapting a product or service to make it viable in a different market than the original. This means that in addition to the translation itself, cultural and technical aspects are taken into account.

We often talk about the localization of software, websites, video games, etc., though it is not exclusively for these types of projects. So, what features should you look for when ordering a localization? They can be classified in three big categories.

Knowledge

As I said before, you should ensure that the localizer you entrust your order to not only has an excellent command of the source and target languages, but also deep knowledge of the corresponding cultures and markets. Furthermore, it’s recommendable that they have a working knowledge of certain markup and programming languages and formats, such as HTML, XML, JSON, or POT. They don’t have to be experts on the topic, but they should know how to handle them without ruining your files.

Tools

Not all translations are localizations, but all localizations are translations. So, a professional who provides you with their services needs to be able to use computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools as well as some specific tools for localization, such as Alchemy CATALYST or OmegaT. They should also have a good grasp of the most common content management systems, such as WordPress.

Availability and communication

One characteristic of localization that isn’t spoken about too often is its changing nature. It’s not always the case, but on many occasions it’s necessary to implement (and localize) updates, bug fixes, etc. in your applications or websites. Other times, especially on big projects, the localizer begins to receive material before it’s finalized and has to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the developer. So it’s in your best interest to turn to a professional who makes communication easy and can guarantee both that they’ll meet your deadlines and the internal coherence of your localizations.

I hope this summary helps guide you before ordering a localization. If you have any questions or comments, I’d be happy to hear from you.