Shifting left: A localization best practice


Taking localization into consideration earlier produces resultslocalization

The race to the finish line—it can be stressful, for any kind of project. Hiccups at the last minute can lead to stress for anyone, so preventing errors and misunderstandings early on in the project timeline is quite important.

Imagine the content-creation process as a straight line, running from left to right. In normal situations, localization (the translation part of a project) comes near the end, when all of the content has been created. Why not get your localization project manager involved during the project planning process—before content is even written or edited? Together, you’ll be able to talk about the type of words to use to make translation most efficient. You’ll also be able to pinpoint any possible issues that may arise in translation, based on subject matter, terminology or sentence construction.

This concept of shifting localization to the left, treating it as an earlier step in the content-creation process, was strongly encouraged at the Localization and Internationalization Conference I attended this spring, and I couldn’t agree more with the idea behind it! By making localization a part of the planning process, you may be able to avoid issues throughout the translation process.

Predicting the Future

Finding and fixing errors near the end of a project is a normal practice, but predicting and preventing errors before a project even begins should be a best practice! All localization projects, at least at Dynamic Language, go through a final editing phase. It’s called Quality Control. We know it as the phase where final design glitches and human errors are caught. That’s my job! But there are certain projects that should have an additional step to ensure quality — a step before translation even begins.

Websites, large manuals and software are all projects in which a separate Quality Assurance step should be dedicated early on to reduce possible glitches down the road. For the average project, information gathering is as simple as a single conversation between the project manager and the client. But for projects that are more complex, that can last from two weeks to six months, time should be set aside to discuss how to make the process more efficient and error-proof.

Taking steps for error prevention is an invaluable practice that I strongly recommend, and shifting localization to an earlier point in the process in key in this concept!


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