Hitting deadlines is a crucial part of any business, but when it comes to content creation, there are many obstacles that can slow you down. We explain how to optimize the process for maximum efficiency – without compromising quality.
An alarming number of products miss their launch date. Improving on meeting or even beating market deadlines opens up a huge opportunity to increase sales and profitability, as well as be more competitive.
In terms of the localization process, there is a lot you can do to avoid the productivity slump and stress of missing deadlines. By taking these considerations in mind, you’ll be able to more efficiently and effectively improve product development without compromising the accuracy and quality of your content.
GUIDELINES AND PEOPLE
Whether undertaken internally, or with external support, we recommend outlining the core tenets of your brand message and voice. This guideline must be referred to and internalized by everyone working on your content. Content audits, brand workshops and Tone of Voice and Style Guides are all great ways to set the scene for effective, high-quality content creation.
A simple yet powerful tool for mitigating localization delays is a thorough and consistent briefing template. Detailed briefs are key to providing context for any creative process.
Particularly for creative pieces, we aim to refine the content’s most important narrative, as well as uncover audience psychographics and the action the content intends to drive. Much of this refining takes place with a thorough, initial brand immersion.
An effective brief enables a dedicated team of linguists to maximize optimization and streamline the content creation process.
Pick the Right Team
How do you select your copywriters and linguists? What is the selection criteria used by you or your partner agency?
Selecting the right language team is a nuanced process, but there are three core elements we look at: industry experience, tone and the nature of the content. Our ‘How to capture brand personality overseas’ blog details our method for selecting effective linguist teams for the brands we work with.
Content is subjective, so workflow delays often stem from dissatisfaction over the content’s accuracy, consistency and tone. Using teams that are already immersed in your brand voice and are compatible with the content will drastically improve timeliness, while maintaining desired quality.
Define the Scope
We offer a selection of quality stages, differentiated by the number of linguists involved. For example, our standard offering includes a translator, along with another linguist to edit and proofread the initial translation. Alternatively, we could split the edit and proofread stages between two linguists for increased accuracy, or even add an internal quality check stage.
Deciding how many quality stages to apply depends on the nature of the content. The more linguists involved, the longer the copywriting or localization process will be. This is why we map service to content. By making upfront considerations and analysis, we’ll choose an appropriate quality level based on the value of the content.
Ultimately, a clearly defined scope optimizes a process’ time and price. It sets expectations for quality and deadlines from the beginning in order to minimize the possibility of delay.
TECHNOLOGY AND TOOLS
There are a series of actions you can take in order to create a solid foundation for fast content turnarounds.
Write for Localization
Take time from the start of the copywriting stage to localize your content. This will not only avoid time spent re-adapting your content to be more culturally appropriate, but also avoid using language and tones that may be inappropriate in other markets. Writing creative, localized content, however, does not necessarily require adding culture specific language (i.e. fish and chips). Take these considerations into account, and you can increase both the accuracy and consistency of your translations.
Glossary & Translation Memory Updates
Implementing and maintaining up-to-date glossaries and translation memories will speed up the workflow. These tools store approved terms and segments, which allow linguists to leverage technology to aid the translation process.
You can learn more in detail how this process works by reading our blog post, ‘A Case For Maintenance’.
Automated File Handling
Process automation is key for any translation strategy to achieve significant scale. By using an Application Programming Interface (API), you can automate the retrieval of content from websites, CRM and CMS systems based on the date/time stamp for each item. Once the API has retrieved the content, it can be translated using computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools and then transferred back into the CMS via the API. This eliminates the need for users to manually export/import content and helps identify updated content with high precision.
QA Testing Tools
QA testing tools identify which pages have been updated at every stage of testing. This automated process reduces QA testing time so that only updated pages are tested, thus, also lowering costs.
You can also use visual regression testing tools to compare multiple pages from various environments. For example, if you have a live website that contains current content and a staging website with updated content, the tool can compare the pages from each site to identify changes from a visual perspective. This adds another level of testing, which helps to eliminate unnecessary QA tests, further reducing costs.
A TRANSPARENT WORKFLOW
Owning the ability to visualize and report on the current stage of production at any point alleviates the uncertainty and manual effort of chasing for project updates. More importantly, it allows you to evaluate the data and trends of how efficiently, or inefficiently, each stage is performing, and, therefore, identify and address bottlenecks in the system.
Our proprietary software, WordXtra, provides this capability. It not only automates file handling, but gives full access and transparency to our partners. Given this transparency, we can set KPIs and discuss areas for improvement, which allow project teams to accurately forecast turnaround times for high-volume jobs.
We have a common saying here that tools are only as good as the people using them. Guidelines and technology are invaluable for hitting important deadlines, but ultimately, it’s the people involved who make the difference. Having a dedicated Project Management team that can harness all the tools available and use their experience to foresee potential challenges will help you deliver high-quality content on time.