Evaluate your documentation translation and localization processes for atrophy caused by the continuous execution of "this is how we have always done it" practices. Working closely (onsite) with many companies with global strategies of various levels, I notice that globalization professionals often focus on their own headlights and not down the road.
I suggest that all globalization professionals, teams and companies evaluate their processes and consider newer ones that incorporate improved technologies and practices that can lead to cost savings, faster international product launches and improved quality.
The following are three fundamental issues to consider when going global:
- Prior to creating documentation, the technical writer's understanding of the globalization strategy is extremely helpful in establishing style guidelines for future translations. If the technical writer is aware that their documentation will be translated into a dozen different languages at a later time, they may simplify the translation process, reduce costs, and improve quality.
- Have a leveraging strategy that includes implementation of translation memory for the reuse of translations of previously localized texts and graphics. Make sure that the strategy accommodates both new product releases as well as updates during the localization process.
- Establish a relationship based on clear communication and understanding of objectives and timelines with the project manager handling your documentation project. Remember this person is essentially your partner and the communication port between you and the assembled team of linguistic and technology resources. Do you have project milestone communications through e-mail or conference calls? Do you have post-project follow-up meetings to discuss successes and challenges? Remember, the more communication you have with your translation and localization team, the less likely you will be to experience a surprise or ripple in your global strategy.