How to Set Up Your Content for Localization Success

by Drew Evans
3 Minute Read

Localization-friendly content can make the difference between spectacular and so-so results when your brand goes global. To create content that’s easy to localize, you’ll want to plan ahead. Your content team (or the teams in charge of creating content for localization) should be writing with localization in mind from day one.

This doesn’t mean your content has to be oversimplified or lack personality - simply put, localization-friendly content removes common stumbling blocks before they become a problem.

Here are some ways to set up your content for localization, so that you can successfully expand to new target locales.

 

1. Perfect the original text first

Before the localization process even begins, your content team should spend a good deal of time with the original text. You’ll want to ensure it’s in tip-top shape for localization. Keep it simple, proofread it, and get it approved by stakeholders before starting translation.

If you send content for localization too soon prior to the editing process, you'll likely need to have the content re-localized, taking at least twice as much time as is necessary. Keep your internal stakeholders happy by finalizing things before moving to localization. After all, editing translations downstream is much more time- and cost-intensive.

2. Be concise and precise

Your content should be as concise and precise as possible. Take out complicated phrasing, break up content into more legible sections, and avoid unnecessary details. By slimming down your content, you’ll be left with the essentials. This will prevent your linguists from getting tangled up in a lengthy or redundant text.

3. Opt for present tense and active voice

Make your content more readable, without reducing quality, by using simple verb tenses. Stick to the present tense, which gives your content a strong, steady voice. Your content creators should also rephrase for active voice whenever possible, as it boosts clarity.

Pro tip: Phrasal verbs and conditional statements can be sticking points for high-quality localization. Try replacing these verbs in English so that you prevent errors and inconsistencies in the translation.

4. Replace colloquial, humorous, and idiomatic phrasing

Idioms are a barrel of laughs - except when it comes to localization. In many cases, they simply don't translate - nor do emojis! You can set up your linguists for success by removing colloquial or idiomatic phrasing that can be tricky to translate and are likely to lead to errors. This goes for humorous or playful wording, too - as a general rule, ask your content creators to avoid leaning on colloquialisms to create brand voice.

5. Identify SEO before content creation begins

SEO is how potential users in new locales will find you. It’s vital that you identify SEO for every target locale so that your content is relevant and your brand searchable. Research international SEO for every language before getting started so you're able to incorporate these keywords from the get-go.

6. Give detailed context about the text

Your linguists should also understand the context behind every piece of content. Prepping context clues can go a long way toward getting relevant localized versions. With every text, include notes and screenshots of where the content will be laid out and what it might look like to give clues. If you know your content can only consist of a certain number of characters per line, for example, that information should be shared prior to translation.

7. Prepare a content toolkit for translators

You can boost consistency by creating a style guide and glossary. This will allow for a shared vocabulary within your content team and a consistent brand voice across all languages. This is also a good opportunity to define any industry terms or abbreviations that your linguists should know about.

8. Partner with the right Language Service Provider (LSP)

The best indicator for localization success is your Language Service Provider (LSP). Be sure to bring on the right partner that understands your needs and uses top localization tools. While the process can take some time, it's worth it to find the perfect long-term partner to help your team.

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Always create your content with localization in mind. By ensuring your content is localization-friendly, your linguists will be able to work efficiently and focus on the essentials. In turn, your efforts to prepare localization-friendly content will lead to the best possible global results.