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 or partnership agreement. . 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 or a combination of legal and business or medical translation.

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 the differences between translation and localization are. 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

With remote learning continuously gaining popularity, more people are taking online courses. But if you want to reach international students, you should localize your content.

By translating and localizing your online courses, you can help more learners gain access to your content. Particularly those who don’t speak the same language as you. This lets you enter new markets and allows you to tap into the increasing demand for education across diverse cultures.

When you’re localizing online courses, you’re adapting their materials, like images, videos, and assessments. 

Localization services work for both the online course platform and the course content. It ensures it’s easy to use for international learners. So, the localization process should include translating menus, instructions, and user interfaces. 

By doing so, you ensure your online courses suit the cultural context of the audience you’re targeting. For example, if your course includes case studies or examples, they need to be relevant to the target audience’s culture and industry.

  • Video game localization

The gaming world connects players from different countries and cultures. To make sure people from all over the world enjoy video games in their own language, developers opt for localization services.

The video game localization process involves translating game scripts, dialogues, and instructions into various languages.

Going beyond language translation, the process also involves adapting the game content to match the cultural nuances and preferences of the target audience. This means adjusting gameplay features like character names, cultural references, and humor.

Using video game localization services ensures quality assurance testing. This means your localized video game is free from language or cultural errors.

  • Website localization

If you’re running a business online and want to expand, consider website localization. It’s your key to reaching people worldwide.

Customers feel more at ease when they browse and purchase products in their native language. This boosts their trust in your brand. 

Localizing websites covers landing pages, blog posts, and contact information, among others. You’ll need to adapt the original website’s design and features to match the preferences of your target audience.

For e-commerce websites, localization services cover everything from product descriptions, and testimonials, to customer support information.

Website localization services cover search engine optimization (SEO) translation and best practices, ensuring your site appears in search engine result pages (SERPs). In other words, it’s not just translation or even localization. 

By implementing effective SEO strategies, you can drive organic traffic to your website and increase visibility in international markets. This applies to any multilingual website project, be it e-commerce, finance or fintech, or anything else.  

  • Mobile app localization

Research shows there are over 5.61 billion mobile phone users worldwide. So, it’s no surprise mobile apps are on the rise. To reach global audiences, mobile developers turn to localization agencies like TranslationPartner. This helps them ensure their apps are easy to use for all users around the world.

Localizing your mobile app makes it more understandable and user-friendly for international users. 

Because even within the same language, there can be some linguistic differences. For example, Google Play supports 7 versions of the English language.

Localization also means ensuring payment options differ based on the country you’re serving and match those used by the target audience. 

For example, popular payment services like Mastercard, Visa, or Paypal aren’t available in certain countries. In this case, mobile app localization guarantees looking for local alternatives to replace them.

  • Marketing localization

Marketing is one of the domains that usually requires a combination of localization and transcreation. Tailoring your marketing messages to suit the language and culture of your target audience promotes your products or services.

Marketing localization effectively connects you with potential customers and drives your brand recognition and sales. 

This form of localization deals with ads, brochures, and social media posts, adapting to the cultural nuances of the target market. It can involve using local references, celebrities, and humor relatable to the target audience.

For example, Lay’s potato chips, originally from the United States, are sold under different brand names in various parts of the world. It’s known as “Walkers” in the UK and “Chipsy” in Egypt.

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 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 in 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 research 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 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.