//We’d like an order of two localizations with cream & sugar…

I cannot count how many localization orders or quote requests have been received with just two questions: “how much is the cost?”, and “when can you deliver?”.

Why do many clients and providers deal with localization as if it is a Coke and should have the same specifications, taste, look, and color everywhere? Why is the service of adaptation and customization being treated as a packaged product when it most certainly is not?

Localization involves more than translation. Localization is a more involved process that conveys a similar meaning of the content in the target culture.

Files cannot be the only inputs for a localization process, localization value cannot be the quotation amount, and outputs are not just translated files.

By stepping back and thinking what happened and how can we re-shape/re-position the localization service, it becomes obvious that collaborative efforts and mutual understandings have to be worked out by all stakeholders including buyers, providers, technology, organizations, and standards.

A healthy productive relationship between supply and demand starts very early during the marketing and sales process; it involves communicating the right messages, asking the right questions, learning about client’s pains as well as their required gains, a mutual education process, and setting the expectations. A second step would be defining inputs, outputs, and the measurable aspects for the localization process. A continuous nurturing for the relationship, through transparent objective discussions, will result into more understanding of both parties’ needs and build trust between the parties involved.

In our book, localization requires a consultative selling process, a detail oriented agile project management, an integral customer centric CRM function, clear quality measures, and an adequate technological platform to manage all of these aspects.

We believe that a successful localization process requires deep integration into the content development process. A process where information about messages to be communicated, target audience, source text authoring guidelines, final output format, and communication media is available to localization professionals before the localization process starts.

Localization is not as simple as making an espresso, cheese burger, or a Coke.  Content is created by humans, localized by humans, and used by humans; localization is ALIVE.