When is a correct translation the wrong translation?

Speak to any SaaS executive setting up a localization program and you’re almost certain to find yourself talking about terminology at some point.

Every sector and technology sub-sector has a diverse lexicon of terms, slang phrases, and acronyms that feature in every conversation, UI string and marketing document that circulates within it. Add to this the unique phraseology and style used within individual organizations and you have a perfect storm of potential misunderstanding and debate when it comes to localization.

At Iota we manage terminology on behalf of our clients in several different ways, as highlighted by my colleague Glyn in his post here.

An area that wasn’t covered in depth in this earlier piece is the importance of working closely with your internal teams and language reviewers in the early stages of any localization project.

Where a word or phrase can be translated ‘correctly’ in multiple ways, it pays off in the long term to agree in advance which specific translation will be used in each case. These pre-agreed translations can then be stored in our translation systems so that they are used correctly and consistently by all linguists working on your projects in the future.

If you’re just starting out on your localization journey you may not have local offices or QA teams who natively speak the language you are translating into. We often find that in these cases our client is working with in-country channel partners who will be happy to review any material that is localized for use in their market. These external reviewers can add significant value. We often work directly with our clients’ international channel partners to identify the most appropriate translations for specific words and phrases in advance of their localization program going fully live.

This approach provides multiple benefits, particularly if your channel partners will be involved in reviewing and approving your final localized materials. Where they’ve been involved in agreeing the preferred way of translating contentious words and phrases up-front, projects are far less likely to be stalled at review stage. This reduces the time required for QA processes significantly and ensures that your partners are fully ‘bought in’ to your localization strategy and approach. And while channel partners have an important role to play in the process, it is still controlled by you centrally, ensuring that you can maintain a consistent centralized message and eliminate any potential IP claims further down the line.

If you’d like to talk about how this approach might benefit your localization program, get in touch and we’ll be happy to walk through it with you.