When beginning a localization project, it can often be intimidating, overwhelming, and daunting. To break down and organize your project there are a few steps that are essential to dissecting a localization project into its component parts and processes. This will require you to have a clear understanding of the parameters and scope of the project you are beginning. Localization projects often tend to creep and can easily exceed your original idea without having a clearly defined vision, scope, target audience or language, buy in from the stakeholders, the right tools for the job, and a well-organized budget.
To help you map out the parameters of your localization project plan, here are 6 things to consider in order to help you create a successful localization project plan.
Step 1: Establish your Vision
Why am I localizing this content?
Step 2: Understand the scope
What is the breadth and depth of the content that I need to localize?
Knowing what the content to be localized is, will allow you to manage the scope and gather all pertinent materials for the localization project. If you have been asked to translate your training materials, make sure you consider what this would include. You could have user manuals, online product guides, e-learning materials, instructor lead materials, just to list a few. Figure out what the word count is for all your material, as this is the accounting basis for most localization projects. It will give you a good idea as to the volume and associated costs. Making sure you know what you must localize will help you establish and set a budget for the project.
Step 3: Identify Your Target Audience
Who is the material for, and what languages do I need to localize the content into?
Understanding who you are targeting, is a key aspect of any localization project plan. It is important to identify and know what language you will be targeting. Understanding if you are targeting a very specific language and community, for example, Argentinian Spanish, or maybe it is a more generalized regional version of the language like Latin-American Spanish. Understanding who you are targeting could make a difference in how your content is translated, the cost of translations, and the overall success of your localization project.
Step 4: Establish a Schedule
When do you need the content localized?
Step 5: Pick the Right Tools
How do I identify and find the correct resources for my localization project?
This is where your research and preparation answering all the above questions come together. There are multiple options in the Localization tool box. You can hire your own translators, you can submit a RFP or RFI to multiple LSP’s (Language Service Providers), you can buy your own TMS (Translation Management System), you can use MT (Machine Translation) and NMT (Neural Machine Translation), you can use google cookie add-ins, and many other options. So how do you choose what will be best for your localization project? You have to decide what is most important to the success of the localization project and prioritize those needs first. Localization projects, like other projects, revolve around Time > Quality > Costs. You need to identify the most important parts to the localization project and then choose the tools that work the best to help you accomplish your goals.
Step 6: Create your budget
How do you establish a budget for your localization project?
To better understand how to plan for your localization project the following diagram explains the relationship between Cost-Time-Quality.
Now that you have an outline and an idea of the factors for establishing a localization project you can set your goals and work towards your success. As you build out your localization project plan you will have gained a vision, measured the scope of work before you, identified your target language and audience, established a schedule with realistic timelines, identified the costs and established a budget, and picked the right resources and tools to help you succeed.