What is Continuous Localization and Its Benefits

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Launching a software, video game, mobile or PC app is just the beginning of the work. The next steps of a successful business strategy include launching into new markets and promoting your product internationally. 

To grow your business, you must continuously improve and update the product to fix bugs, add new features, and meet changing market demand. This means you’ll have to create and localize new content repeatedly.

At Crowdin, we believe that localization should happen in parallel with development, or even better at the design stage, so once the new feature is ready to be released, there’s no delay, and it can be released in multiple languages at once. 

Keep reading to find out how continuous localization works, its benefits for different teams within a company, and how to make localization a part of your product development process.

What Is Continuous Localization and How Does It Work

Just like any project, you can approach localization in different ways. Straight up, the traditional waterfall project management model is highly inefficient for the ongoing localization of digital products.  

With this approach, the translation team works on the product of a finished sprint. After they complete the translation, the developers have to revisit the code of a previous sprint, find the strings and incorporate the translated content.

Then, the localization team would review and request updates on content in the first sprint as the development team works on the third or fourth sprint. Or the localization team will need additional context or clarifications. With the described approach, it’s really difficult to obtain them, and it’s time-consuming. Developers have to go back to clarify the context, make updates, and go through another round of testing. This type of activity works against the goals of agile localization and delays product shipping.

To sum, up localization after development is no longer an option. Development time has shortened, and translation time should be reduced too. You need another solution – continuous localization. 

The main objective of this approach is to automate tasks that require little manual intervention or 

involvement from developers, automate content delivery to translators, and provide quicker release cycles. Having an integrated localization tool like Crowdin is a crucial part of this workflow.

Here is how continuous localization works and enables development and localization to run in parallel:

  • The developers push new code with new content to their repo
  • The integration with the repository (GitLab, GitHub, Bitbucket, or Azure Repos) automatically identifies changes and pushes content to the localization platform
  • The localization team translates new content on the localization platform
  • The translated content is merged back into the code repository

Some benefits of using a localization platform include:

  • Automation of the repetitive tasks
  • The ability to use previous translations and past work to speed up the localization
  • Built-in quality control with QA checks
  • Multiple ways to provide translation context
  • Ability to generate reports and monitor your project status within a few clicks
  • A seamless collaboration of teams (translators, developers, designers, marketers, and more)
  • Plugins, connectors (apps from Crowdin Store)  and APIs: seamless integrations that streamline processes, minimize errors, and enable ongoing monitoring of new content

The Benefits of Continuous Localization

The streamlined workflows between your localization and development teams can result in less frustration among team members, fewer mistakes, better quality, and on-time product delivery.

Simultaneous Release on Each Market

The continuous approach allows development teams to work on products for various locales and in different languages in parallel. The multilingual development process will shorten time to market, especially if you plan to launch a product or release an update simultaneously in multiple countries.

Seamless Collaboration Between Teams

The localization team can work with developers, designers, and marketers closely and in one place. Localization plugins for design tools like Figma, Sketch, and Adobe XD for example, helps translators understand the constraints of the user interface and the context, so they can create accurate and high-quality translations.

Shorter Development Cycles

Developers benefit from continuous localization thanks to fewer manual content exchanges with the localization team. They can focus on the tasks at hand and get products and new features shipped on time. 

Streamlined Workflows

The “old-school” as we call it in our e-book about the continuous localization model often results in multiple revision cycles. This can become a manager’s nightmare. Continuous localization reduces the complexity of a translation project, while localization management software eliminates tedious work. 

Continuous Localization for Each Team 

Developers Team

As mentioned, earlier, continuous localization helps the engineering team focus on their tasks. The key challenge engineers face during the process of software localization is a lack of automation. 

Integrate localization in the development process: choose a tool that has built-in integrations with GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, and Azure Repos, and offers API, CLI, and webhooks. This way, you can avoid almost any manual file transfer between developers and translators. All you need is to set up the integration that will download sources to the tool. 

The localization management platform guarantees you:

  • translators won’t crash the code during the localizing process
  • translators could start localization of the features that are still in development 
  • you can keep sources in the localization projects and translations on the repo instantly up-to-date

Design Team

Most people pay attention to a visually appealing product with a user-friendly UI. The goal of localization is to maintain the look of your product and adapt it to other markets. The sooner, the better. The most innovative way to achieve this is to include the design team in the continuous localization workflow as well. 

Use plugins for design tools (Figma, Adobe XD or Sketch), include the prototyping stage and avoid dependence of each team on one another. Designers don’t need to wait until the developers finish the needed adjustments to the code, thus developers don’t need to wait until designers finish all their edits. 

Marketing Team

Marketing plays a significant role in ensuring customers can find your product. Imagine sending emails about a new product or feature in 10 languages simultaneously. Thus, the process of continuous localization is crucial for marketers. 

Staying agile will be easier with favorite marketing tools integrated with the localization platform and having translated templates for emails or notifications, for example. You can sync content (source texts and translations) instantly between your localization projects and the applications your team uses. Read more about some of the apps that can help you localize your marketing content.

Customer Success Team 

Frequently, customers contact companies through their help centers. Continuous localization of your help articles, FAQs and other content will satisfy your international customers. Through the continuous localization workflow, your team will translate important articles or responses in time and help the customer success team ensure your growth. 

In case you need to translate your help articles fast and have large amounts of content, you can pre-translate it using machine translation engines (e.g. Microsoft Translator, Google Translate, DeepL Translator). And improve them at the post-editing stage. To automate the process of receiving translations, you can use integration with the solution your team is using.

Read articles on how to integrate Crowdin with Intercom, Document360, Zendesk or Wix Answers and make your help content multilingual.

Final Thoughts

Streamline localization management for your team with Crowdin localization software. We offer an all-in-one localization solution that streamlines continuous localization. Besides all the necessary technologies (translation memory, machine translations, workflow automation, string context, and more than 100 apps-connectors with your favorite tools) you can also access dedicated translation vendors and professional translators to get your localization project done on time every time.

Try Crowdin for free to make your product global faster and easier.

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