In June of last year at LocWorld28 Berlin, I sat in on a presentation given by Karen Loughrey that I particularly enjoyed. The session dealt with structuring localization at a tech startup, and Loughrey described her experience building a new localization program for her company, Optimizely.
Optimizely had created a tool used for A/B testing, looking at two versions of a webpage and measuring the effect each version has on its visitors. Loughrey talked about how this kind of testing took the guesswork out of marketing choices, including localization choices. Otherwise, as she pointed out, you are guided by the highest-paid person’s decision, which may be right or may be wrong.
Overseeing the localization of a company that has barely even heard of the term is fraught with challenges. Particularly if you’ve never worked in localization yourself. Recently, in Sandpoint, Idaho, where I live, I was chatting with a local guy who had been put in charge of localization for our town’s most prominent startup, and he assured me that they did in fact have some employees who spoke Chinese, which they were translating some of their content into. I ended up writing him several emails with questions to consider and hinting that his company might want to hire a localization consultant (or read our magazine) before getting too far into anything. He thanked me, said he’d talk to his boss, and as far as I know, that’s where it ended.
The risk of writing about how to localize for startups in a localization magazine is that the startups may not even know where to find the information. So we’ll be offering an article from this issue online for free, as a public service, and publicizing the issue in other ways as well.