How to Choose a Localization Service Provider? 9 Tips to Follow

how to choose a localization service provider

There are many reasons small, medium, and large-sized businesses, including startups, turn to translation.

Sometimes, it’s because they need to translate a legal document like a contract with another company. It could even be a hiring contract to recruit a foreigner or to operate in a foreign country.

Sometimes, it’s to expand into a new country or region. Businesses operating online often have to transform their websites into multilingual sites to reach new customers. They have to translate products and need to combine SEO translation with e-commerce translation.

Other businesses require business or financial translation services.

But then, there are certain areas where the translation isn’t enough. Where a deeper form of translation is required. These areas, like translating video games, video scripts, and online courses, require localization.

Not every translator can localize a text. But the other way around works just fine.

The important thing to know is what are the differences between translation and localization. When do you need localization? And once you know all that, how do you choose a localization service provider?

Keep reading to get your answers!

Translation vs localization vs transcreation

The first step is to know the different types of translation so you know which suits your project or business more.

There are 3 main areas of translation. These are:

Translation, which involves rendering text from one language into another.

Localization is a deeper form of translation, where the text or content is given a local feel. Localization, for example, is often used with video content, specifically video games.

Transcreation, which combines creative writing and translation. It’s usually used when translating marketing materials such as ads, advertorials, websites…etc.

Translating Google ad campaigns for example requires transcreation or a combination of transcreation and localization.

When do you need localization?

This is an important question to ask yourself: When do you need localization services?

Your project will likely require localization services if:

–       It includes a video (usually)

–       You are delivering it or presenting it before people from multiple countries and cultures.

–       You want to build loyalty by offering readers, customers, clients… etc. a local feel and make them feel like you’re part of their community.

–       Building a brand identity in a new country and culture.

The top areas or content formats where localization services are required are:

–       Translating online courses

–       Video game localization

–       Translating websites, including e-commerce website translation

–       Mobile app localization

How to choose a localization service provider

Now that we’ve covered the basics of localization, it’s time we show you how to choose a localization service provider.

Before you get to the point of hiring a localization partner, there are a few steps to follow. These will ensure you find a localization company that provides quality work and that’s easy to work with.

1) Determine your needs

The first step in finding a localization service partner is to figure out what your needs are. This includes knowing that you want localization over translation.

You may choose to write down your needs using a translation brief.

2) Decide on the languages you need

Before hiring a localization company, determine the language or languages you want to localize to.

Do you want one language? One dialect? Or do you need one language with several dialects in that language?

For example, if you want to translate an online course into Arabic, you may decide to stick to Modern Standard Arabic, which is the standard formal Arabic used by all Arab countries.

However, it’s also more difficult to understand for many because it’s different from their local dialects.

If you want your course to reach many people, you may choose to hire an Arabic translation company and localize to several Arabic dialects. These can include Emirati Arabic for the UAE, Saudi Arabic for Saudi Arabia, and Egyptian Arabic for Egypt.

3) Do your research

The next step is to start conducting your research by looking up language localization service providers. This includes an online search and reviewing testimonials focusing on localization.

4) Make sure they offer localization services

You may be surprised by this step but not all translation companies offer localization. The same applies to working with freelancers. A translator may or may not have localization experience.

So, make sure the translation company you’re reaching out to offers localization services. Better yet, if the company offers translation, localization, and transcreation services.

5) Ask for referrals

The best way to find a great language service provider fast is to ask for referrals. Ask your friends, family, work colleagues, and maybe even LinkedIn connections.

When someone sends you a referral, it usually means they’ve worked with this company and liked the experience.

If they didn’t like the process or the way things turned out, your connections won’t refer them. In fact, they’re more likely to dissuade you from working with a particular company you may have had on your list.

6) Ask about their process

Every translation and localization company should have a process. One that doesn’t is one to run away from.

An important part of the localization process is the review process or reviewing stage.

7) Check reviews and testimonials

Another important step in finding the best localization service provider is to check out the testimonials they’ve received from other companies.

A second step would be to reach out to one or more of the people who left positive reviews and ask them about their experience with the translation company.

While this isn’t a mandatory step and it does take time, it offers proof that the localization company is who they say they are.

8) Make sure you’re compatible

You may think this is an unnecessary step. It’s certainly an underrated one.

It’s important that in your initial calls and meetings with the localization company you’re both compatible.

Working with a company you’re not compatible with or one that doesn’t make you feel comfortable, at ease, or satisfied, is one you’re not likely to enjoy your experience with.

Compatibility is also important because some translation and localization projects take longer to finish than others.

It takes much longer to localize a video game than to translate a legal document or a brochure for instance.

9) Sign an agreement

Last but certainly not least, sign a localization service contract with the company you decide to work with.

If the company balks at signing a contract or if the contract has strange clauses, take a step back and go over it with your legal department or even a lawyer friend.

Wrapping it up

When you’re out looking for localization services, you may want to consider hiring a translation company, because they usually have a strong localization team.

Localization companies are faster and can offer more professional translations compared to freelancers. They can also offer multiple languages and additional services like transcription, dubbing, and voice-over for some projects like video games, movies, and series.

However, when choosing a localization service provider, you must ensure they have positive reviews and that you’re compatible.

Finally, you should review translation project costs and compare quotes, timelines, and services offered.

Follow the above 9 steps and you won’t be disappointed by the results. Need help with a localization project? Looking for a localization service partner? Then get in touch with TranslationPartner. We help businesses with translation, localization, and transcreation services in multiple areas of business and across various languages.