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Continuous Localization: Delivering Great CX Early Across All Your Markets

Delivering optimal software CX — whether for web, cloud or mobile — keeps your customers loyal. So naturally, any updates to the CX need to be delivered promptly and seamlessly to maintain their satisfaction.

Continuous integration and agile delivery have fundamentally impacted the way software is developed. Where once updates to code were a laborious, time-consuming process, continuous integration now provides a timely and efficient delivery of software development updates that customers can enjoy. But, what happens when you need to deliver agile updates across many languages and markets?

In many cases, the localization stage is out of sync with the technology and practices available in software development, simply because the tech teams involved aren’t aware there’s a way to make localization an integral part of the development process.

“In many cases, the localization stage is out of sync with the technology and practices available in software development, simply because the tech teams involved aren’t aware there’s a way to make localization an integral part of the development process.”

If you have a fully automated manner to deploy code updates and work across multiple languages and markets, you can automate your localization processes and align them with your software development. This is continuous localization. 

We unpack best practices on how to fold localization into your existing continuous integration for software development, to reduce the manual touchpoints and drain on your resources so your teams can experience faster turnaround time and translation quality.
 

1. Consider how localization fits in your process

When working across many languages, all teams involved in your software creation process need to be aware of how internationalization and localization fit within the localization process as an integrated part of their development practices.
 

Internationalization (i18n) – Making your software “localization-ready” so that it is easily adapted to different locales without the need of costly remedial engineering or redesign.

Localization (l10n) – The process of modifying products or services to adapt to your different target locales and markets e.g. A global dating app would probably change the ethnicity of the people shown in promotional images and graphics to resonate with different markets.

A solid internationalization stage will allow for smoother localization of your product into any market and locale.


Properly internationalizing your software, applying content authoring best practices, and considering UX decisions upstream in your software development life cycle are all critical. Address these factors for effective software localization, and to achieve a better UX (and thus a higher ROI) in your target markets. Fine-tuning these elements will also accelerate your process, save you time and money, and provide a solid foundation as the number and complexity of your target languages grow.

At Unbabel, we collaborate closely with our clients, to understand their organization and raise awareness of the importance of localization within their teams. This helps them take the relevant business and technical decisions that fit the context of their organization. We believe this is the best way to help global businesses define their own process for addressing the unique challenges of software localization. Once we've developed a process we can improve it through automation and continuous localization.
 

2. Automate your localization workflows

As with everything else these days, digital solutions are required to support your translation workflows. 

Translation processes that are supported by online tools and integrations accelerate your workflow, helping drive your global growth. These digital solutions let you easily select the required content, send it automatically for quoting and translation, then import it back. You can even add in a review stage by your native SMEs.

“Digital solutions let you easily select the required content, send it automatically for quoting and translation, then import it back.”

Deploying some manual steps may not seem like a big deal with the first drop of content and the first few languages. But, as the number of languages grows and new content is created in each iteration of your software, manual steps can sap your team’s time and risk the translation quality.
 

💡 Translation digital solutions

Bring Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and digital solutions into your translation process to align it to your development practices. This will come naturally to your development teams, once they realize that the technologies are there to support this level of automation.


3. Add localization to your development workflow

Today’s software development is run by agile practices, automation of tasks, and continuous integration, testing, and deployment. 

But, when it comes to translation, none of the benefits of these development practices are realized, as translation usually happens “offline” once the development of each feature is complete. By making translation part of your automated development cycle, you can avoid deploying expensive code changes after the development of the feature is finished.

“By making translation part of your automated development cycle, you can avoid deploying expensive code changes after the development of the feature is finished.”

Once you have the processes in place and automated, this is a simpler task than you’d expect and many translation companies will have the software ready to make the full end-to-end automation possible.
 

💡 Adding translation to your sprint

1. Prep content authors to create your content for translation before each sprint starts.

2. Coordinate your continuous integration software to pick up the content and send it to your translation partner.

3. Translated content is then ready by the time your sprint starts. 

4. Test all the languages as part of the sprint.


This method makes sure your software works to your required level of quality in all your target locales.

By enveloping these best practices into your continuous integration you can reduce some of the pain points related to software development and improve your customers’ experiences. Our localization experts can help you develop continuous localization practices for your specific needs, to help you deliver great UX early across all your languages. 

About the Author

Head of Localization Solutions Architecture at Unbabel, Juan has over 15 years of experience as an IT professional. He previously held positions as researcher, developer, architect, and CTO across different environments and industries in Germany, Spain, France, and the UK, before specializing in localization technologies and processes.

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