7 Best Practices for Your Higher Ed Localization Strategy

In today’s interconnected, tech-enabled world, content localization is a critical undertaking for colleges and universities. And because there are so many facets of higher education, these localization projects are also incredibly complex.

Whether your institution requires localization for your website, eLearning content, or a mixture of many different content types, following these best practices can help you ensure success:

1. Remember that each project is unique

Don’t think of localization at your institution as one gigantic project. Instead, break it down into smaller projects based on type of content, department, priority, etc. 

By splitting your localization to-do list into bite-sized mini projects, you’ll be able to tailor your approach based on the goals, priority, timeline, and budget for each action item. 

2. Consider multiple types of content

If your institution needs to localize many different types of content (e.g. website, eLearning content, announcements, course documentation, marketing content, print materials), each type will call for different approaches and might require input from various stakeholders. 

At the same time, you’ll probably want to maintain a consistent voice across multiple pieces of content. For example, your printed marketing materials and the marketing content on your website should use a similar tone and vocabulary. One way to achieve this is to partner with a provider who will handle localization for all of your content types. By creating a style guide and glossary for frequently used terms, they can ensure your materials stay consistent across similar types of content. 

3. Set clear goals

Establishing clear objectives and desired outcomes for higher education localization is crucial, as you’ll have different goals for different projects depending on the type of content, what department it’s for, who the audience is, etc. 

One effective approach for setting goals is to leverage the SMART framework. By setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, you can set clear, well-defined goals that align with your strategy and help you assess the outcomes and impacts of your localization projects.

For example, you might set this SMART goal as part of your eLearning localization strategy: 

“By the start date of the fall semester, we aim to localize two eLearning courses for the Biology Department to make them accessible and effective for Spanish-speaking English language learner (ELL) students. We will measure success by comparing course enrollment and completion rates for these students to those from the original course, as well as surveying the students to measure their satisfaction with the localized course. This aligns with our mission to make education more accessible for all students.”

4. Communicate with stakeholders

Effective communication and collaboration with the appropriate stakeholders are crucial throughout the entire localization process. Depending on the type of content, these stakeholders may include professors, department heads, administrators, marketing staff, and most importantly, students who will be using the localized content. For example, part of your eLearning localization process might include a meeting with all professors in a department to review learning objectives and required course material. 

With input from relevant stakeholders, colleges and universities can develop a tailored approach to localization projects, ensuring that localized course content meets educational standards and student expectations, and other localized content is consistent with the school’s brand voice, mission, and values.

5. Consider technology

While there should always be a human component to localization projects, technology can also play a crucial role.

First, consider the eLearning software you use for course content and/or the content management system (CMS) you use for website content. Do they support content in other languages? For example, if you intend to localize content into Arabic, you’ll need systems that support Arabic characters and right-to-left language.

Technology can also work in tandem with human translators during the localization process itself. Some localization providers leverage machine translation (MT) and other tools to expedite the localization process in combination with human post-editors to refine the content by improving accuracy and cultural relevance. 

6. Always perform QA

Quality assurance (QA) is the process of reviewing and testing localized content to ensure the accuracy and usability of localized content. 

If you work with a localization provider, they’ll have their own QA process, but sometimes stakeholders in your organization can also assist with QA. For example, with web- and software-based projects, you can have stakeholders check for broken links, pages that didn’t get translated, and other issues.

7. Work with a reliable localization provider

Given the complexity of localization projects, higher education institutions should partner with trusted, reliable localization providers for the best results. When evaluating your provider options, look for the following traits:

  • Meets your needs in terms of services offered (e.g. website localization and eLearning localization services)
  • Understands the higher education market
  • Has extensive experience with higher education localization projects
  • Is highly responsive and flexible
  • Uses a combination of humans and technology to perform localization
  • Understands how to make content accessible for all (including 508 compliance for government-funded institutions)

Dynamic Language checks all the above boxes and more. We have 25+ years of experience working with higher education institutions, exceptional project management processes, the latest cutting-edge technology, and highly knowledgeable translators and subject-matter experts — and we’ll work closely with you every step of the way to ensure the best possible outcomes for your localization projects.