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How to reduce localization costs in six steps

Localization Basics

Does your company need localization at all? Well, back in 2014, research put together by OneSkyApp revealed that 56.2% of consumers prefer the ability to receive information in their native language to the price of the product. Even then, more than half of consumers already agreed that the cost of the product doesn’t matter as much as accessible information about it in their native language.

Today, the situation hasn’t changed. Localization remains crucial for every business entering the global arena. According to an infographic by Shutterstock,

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  • 60% of global consumers rarely or never buy from English-only websites
  • 86% of localized content has more click-throughs and conversions than English-only content
  • 80% of consumers say they will be more likely to buy from a business that provides personalized customer experience, including content in their native language

Yet, according to Shutterstock, 71% of marketers say about half of their content is currently not being consumed because it’s ineffective for local audiences. So if the necessity for localization hasn’t gone anywhere for the past six years, why are companies still ignoring it?

For many businesses, the price of localization is the pain point. Prices can start from as low as $1,000, but this rarely happens since many localization projects are, in reality, very voluminous and labor-intensive. The price of localization also depends on several key factors, including:

  • Market research
  • The availability of appropriate software
  • Difficulty assessment
  • Testing

As a result, the costs may hit the mark of tens of hundreds of dollars, and companies may be reluctant even to consider such expenses. Because of this, localization specialists are often asked to reduce localization costs, with no negative effect on the quality, of course.

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Is it possible? Let’s take a look.

1. Write a detailed localization plan

Before the localization process starts, localization specialists usually evaluate the situation first, estimating all the components that will be involved in this process. These components usually include:

  • Number of words for localization
  • Technical specifics of the content (jargon, professionalisms, terms and so on)
  • Content placement (how the text and images will be organized in the target text, depending on the specifics of the target language)
  • The availability of localization software (CAT tools, for instance)

These components are estimated in regard to the timelines (when it is absolutely vital to complete the projects), and then you can blueprint a cost reduction plan. You may, for instance, cut expenses using CAT tools — or, depending on the project, by working with source-text native files only.

2. Edit all source text to minimize translation edits

Companies pay localization specialists for the time they spend working on the document. By cutting this time, you can also cut localization costs. One of the ways to do it is to prep the source text before you start localizing it. Before you start working on localization, study the source text to detect:

  • Lengthy sentences
  • Jargon
  • Visuals that require localization
  • Messages intended for the domestic audience only

Nothing slows down the localization process more than content inconsistencies detected after you already localized a big part of the source text. By prepping your text beforehand, you establish the flow of your future work, eliminating distractions that will steal your time.

3. Explore your choice of CAT tools

With some localization projects, investing in CAT tools is unavoidable. Having a good CAT tool at hand can, however, save you a lot of time and money. Here’s a couple of reasons why:

  • CAT tools have translation memory. This means that you can reuse many previously-translated texts, which builds cost savings into your long-term localization plan.
  • CAT tools provide you with terminology management. All the terminology saved in the documents remains in the CAT tool database, which you can extract at any time.

This is especially beneficial for long-term localization projects, where you need to return to the target text after a while to make updates. If you have a limited budget for CAT tools, explore the ratings of the tools within your price range.

4. Avoid text in images

Translating the text in images is one of the most time-consuming and expensive tasks in the localization process. This task involves a specialist changing the image itself in order to localize it.

To avoid image rendering and cut localization costs, the best way out is to replace the text in images with a simple localized description or caption. This is especially useful for the localization of e-commerce listings, which often have hundreds of images of products.

5. Write concisely in the target file

Localization specialists usually charge for the number of words in the target text. The number of words may differ due to language specificity (Russian words and sentences are often lengthier than English words and sentences, for instance). So, if you have an agreement with a company to keep within a certain budget, you may consider writing more concisely in the target file. For example, use simple sentence structure, and edit out anything repetitive. This can help eliminate unnecessary costs.

6. Plan ahead and hire translators on time

With product or content localization, nothing can cost you more than putting it on the shelf until you run out of time and it becomes urgent. Urgent localization projects can cost you a fortune. “Our observations have shown that the prices for localization increase dramatically if the project is urgent and takes less than one week,” says Claire Atkins, a localization specialist at Live Lingua.

If you’re localizing content from English to German, a regular cost per word is around $0.09 (if the estimated timeline for this project is around 4-6 weeks).

If this project is urgent, the price can go up to $0.135 with additional expenses for last-minute editing.

Urgent localization projects put immense pressure on translators, so it’s natural that the prices will increase. Especially for companies that have budget constraints, it is advisable to plan ahead and hire localization specialists on time.

Localization doesn’t have to be expensive

Yes, localization can be pricey.

However, localization is all about the efficient use of resources. And if you allocate them correctly, you will be able to not only save money but also deliver a high-quality end result.

Hopefully, our tips will help you do it right and reduce content localization costs with no negative effect on the quality.

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Daniela McVicker is an editor for TopWritersReview. She has a master's degree in English literature, and she is passionate about learning foreign languages and teaching.

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