So, You Think You’re Ready to Support Continuous Localization?
Your language service providers might ask you to think again. Localization teams frequently jump – or are pushed – headfirst into implementing or optimizing their continuous localization models. They are often in such a hurry that they don’t realize that their language service and technology providers are a rich source of guidance. That’s because these partners work with clients that run the gamut from “Frankenstein-esque” frameworks based on half-manual/half-automated processes to fully automated models that hum along.
As part of our research stream on continuous localization, we interviewed LSPs and technology providers. We uncovered useful insights and advice for firms that aspire to implement or optimize continuous localization models to be more successful from the beginning.
Support Language Partners to Operate a Continuous Model on Their Side
Don't require partners to be continuous on your behalf if you can’t be, but do treat them as integral components of your team. Commit to answering linguist queries within an agreed upon time, and document the actions that language partners must take when there is no timely response
Compensate Suppliers Fairly
Operate on a regular cadence when you can with reasonable deadlines. When velocity increases, collaborate with partners to determine what works for all players. Make it a goal to help ensure their financial health for the future. Replacing linguists or LSPs that can’t scale – or worse yet, go out of business – will only slow you down.
Upgrade Contracts to Incorporate Connectors, Open APIs, and Fair Compensation Clauses
Interviewees for this research recommend that contracts for continuous localization services include coverage for connectors, open APIs, scalability requirements, fair compensation, and access to linguists. Above all, do not lock your organization into any long-term contract, no matter how favorable the terms since technology continues to evolve very quickly.
Don't Let External Factors Block the Process
Make sure that purchase orders are in place and set reminders to extend or renew them in advance of expiry dates. Validate that you have allocated sufficient budget early in the funding process. And – especially if working directly with freelancers – make sure that your company’s financial process allows for timely invoice payment.
Validate Supply Chain Strength
If you require 24/7 coverage, verify the people and processes in place to deliver it. Make sure that all linguists have access to the right tools to deliver continuously. If you work with more than one supplier, foster a unified team culture to ensure that everyone has access to the information, query responses, and resources they need when they need them. Don’t ignore security – it’s up to you to vet and monitor which sets of eyes will see your code and content, and whose machines will host copies.
Foster Successful Freelancers
If your model depends on direct engagement of freelance linguists, tightly integrate them (with backups) into your workflows. They’re not robots, so staff up to manage and support them appropriately or hire the right LSP to do it for you.
Your dealings with companies that provide services, technology, and consulting to support continuous localization cannot be transactional. We advise that you make the effort to understand especially how LSPs make money under this model. You may need to support them to evolve as your own velocity increases. Make sure that contracts for language technology and service providers cover all of the categories that you view as critical to their being able to adequately support continuous localization. You may also need to expand beyond account and project managers to develop direct relationships with individual linguists. Learn how to verify the strength of your supply chain and prepare to support freelancers to succeed under your continuous model.
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