We live in a truly connected world, and technology has allowed businesses to connect with customers from across the globe. While this unrivalled level of connectivity undoubtedly has its benefits, it has also created several new challenges for companies, especially those who’ve become agile.
As these organisations expand overseas, a new demand on translation services has emerged, and the language industry has had to adapt to new processes to meet the fast-paced lifestyle of modern business. While traditional translation services are still an essential tool for businesses, there is a growing requirement for localising services, and in recent years an increasing number of companies are opting for agile localisation.
What Is Agile Localisation?
Before looking at what agile localisation is, it’s important to clarify (or recall) the meaning of three concepts:
Localisation (as Opposed to Simple Translation)
Localisation is the process of ensuring that your content is adapted to meet the culture and nuances of your target market. This means that localisation takes your translations that step further by guaranteeing it feels like it was written by a native speaker specifically for the target locale.
Localisation considers every element that needs to be adapted to the culture of the target market. From local payment methods and idioms to local festivities, colours, places, and holidays, localisation involves everything that can affect the user experience. In other words, a localiser adapts the content for local consumption so it has a global reach with a local feel and resonates with the target audience. Localisation is the frequent choice for evocative content aimed at eliciting an emotional response in the reader. It is the case, for example, of websites and apps.
For a long time, software development saw developers following the waterfall approach, which meant that each stage needed to be completed before starting the next phase. While successful, this was a slow process and involved more work when changes were required.
The waterfall model involves a linear timeline composed of sequential phases, where each stage generally needs to finish before the next one can begin. Customer requirements are gathered at the beginning, then a plan is devised, then come development and testing, and a finished piece of software is delivered. Localisation, naturally, follows as an add-on process.
The waterfall approach gradually evolved into agile development, which allows businesses to deliver a more user-focused product. Utilising an agile approach ensures that localisation and development occur concurrently while the software under work.
Nowadays, agile development is the norm. This methodology is iterative and team-based and emphasises rapid deliverables prioritised by business value as determined by the customer. It’s more user-focused because users can provide more feedback as they use each of the new features. In agile, internationalisation and localisation happen while the software is still under development, and they are also ongoing and continuous.
Agile localisation extends the agile approach by ensuring localisation teams are working on the content as soon as developers create it, ensuring everyone is aware of what is happening and can quickly discuss any issues with translation.
As clearly explained in this article by Phrase, agile localisation means that “Instead of adding a separate localisation workflow to an existing agile software development process, localisation teams work with content as soon as developers make it available. Translators and translation or localization managers are aware of what developers are working on at all times and can discuss translation issues with them in a timely manner.”
What Software Development Model Is Best?
When it comes to determining which software development methodology is best, as a translator’s favourite reply goes… ‘It depends on the context.’ For projects with a fixed timeline and where the result has to be right the first time, waterfall offers a more predictable outcome. It gives developers more control and more certainty. For projects where time-to-market and faster release cycles are more important, agile is the way to go.
At a recent Agile vs. Waterfall Debate, the conclusion of the four technology experts pitting one approach against the other was unanimous: the chosen process needs to work for the organisation and for the situation at hand.
Benefits of Agile Localisation
Adopting a continuous or agile localisation approach can provide businesses with a number of benefits, including:
While agile localisation ensures any issues are rapidly spotted and resolved, utilising agile localisation helps to contribute to the smoothness by replicating these benefits in all markets and languages. This helps to ensure a faster time-to-market for companies in every language.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
As the product is released to the target market quicker, users can enjoy the full functionality far faster, which helps to increase their overall satisfaction. There is also greater satisfaction for businesses, allowing them to unveil localised products in their targets far quicker.
Implementing agile localisation also ensures that all team members, from developers to managers, will be able to enjoy complete transparency. This not only helps to support a smoother process, but it also encourages collaboration. The nature of the process requires translators to regularly discuss linguistic choices with developers, leading to a continued exchange of viewpoints and information, helping to create a more harmonious working environment and more complete final product.
The Implication for Translators
A professional localiser will have the capacity to adapt to whatever the client requires, be it traditional or agile localisation. For the latter, their communication skills and availability to deliver quickly play a very important role (as they do for anything involving agile).
How We Can Help
Agile localisation can help you to transform your business, and at Crisol Translation Services, our dedicated team is here to help you. We are not a faceless translation agency; our boutique team ensures our clients can enjoy the highest level of attention and care.
We believe in providing that personal and friendly touch that your brand deserves, and we pride ourselves on helping you to communicate your messaging in a powerful, localised fashion that speaks directly to consumers.
So no matter whether you are seeking traditional translation or are looking to adopt an agile localisation approach, our highly experienced team is here to help you – get in touch today!