5 Things You Need To Share with Your Translation Provider When Localizing a Product

Martina Ljubičić 3 years ago Comment

As a follow-up to our article 10 Questions Good Translation Companies Will Ask You, we bring you an article on information you should share with your LSP before your translation project starts.

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As a follow-up to our article 10 Questions Good Translation Companies Will Ask You, we bring you an article on information you should share with your LSP before your translation project starts.

Preparation is everything. If you are rolling out a product onto a new market, there are several pieces of information you should share with your translation provider to keep your project on track and make sure no unexpected delays or costs arise.

If you are rolling out a product onto a new market, there are several pieces of information you should share with your translation provider to keep your project on track and make sure no unexpected delays or costs arise.

1. What will be translated?

Devices and appliances usually have a range of buttons, some marked with symbols and some with words, and many of them have user interfaces as well. When introducing a product onto a new market, you will have to decide whether or not these will be translated into the local language. Of course, the best decision is to localize and make the product more accessible to customers in the new market, but sometimes there simply is not enough time or resources, or the market is simply too small to warrant complete localization, so you might decide to leave the interface and buttons in English. Whatever the decision, it is one of the crucial decisions you need to share with your translation team before starting any translation projects, no matter how small the project might be.

Otherwise, you might end up with a customer not being able to match the instructions in the user manual to what they see on their user interface. Or with a real-life user interface with commands, warnings, or prompts translated differently than the user interface printed in your user manual.

2. Is there a product naming policy?

Gone are the times when Shakespeare wondered what was in a name – marketing experts have been aware of the value of product names for a long time now. Even if you have made sure that your product has a name that works in the local language and has no unwanted resemblance to any other words or phrases which might make your product the butt of a joke in the new market (like the notorious “Pee Cola” drink), you still have to consider several other issues – does the local language have inflections and do you want the name of your product to appear with different word endings? Or would you rather add a modifier before the name so you can conform to the rules of the local language and keep your product name intact? If the local language uses a different script, do you want to keep the name in Latin script?

3. Are dialogue boxes expandable and are there any character limits for translation?

Although it is quite a technical issue, a timely response to this question might save you and your technicians a lot of time later on in the project. What is more, it might spare them and your customers from the frustration of seeing only half of the command on a screen or trying to understand what a string of words abbreviated to only a couple of letters really stands for.

4. What date, time, and currency formats are supported, and which measurement system do you use?

Keep in mind that dates and times are written differently in various parts of the world. Some will write the year first, some the month, some the day. Some will use the 12-hour scale, some will use the 24-hour scale. Also, although widely used, the metric system is not the only system of measurement in the world. You might want to add some inches, feet, or elbows to your meters when localizing your product to save the locals the frustration of picking up a calculator. Or you might do away with them to avoid confusion in markets using the metric system.

5. Does your font support various character sets?

The perfect font for your user interface, operating instructions, or user manual might not be the best choice for all local markets. Languages that use Latin script use a range of letters that might not be supported by every font. It is good to check this before you start a translation project so you do not end up spending hours adding lost diacritics to your documents.

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