Things Developers Must Know about Agile Localization

Nowadays, it’s risky to do globalization through a “final version,” followed by a “one time” translation, and an additional “after-sale” service. This is especially true for game and software localization, as developers or publishers need the updated content translated as soon as possible in their overseas target markets, which demonstrates the need for “agile” localization.

While, as customers, before choosing any service, it is important to be clear on what you hope to get from agile localization. This article will provide reference from three aspects: process automation, centralized management, and continuous delivery. ECI-Localization Process Automation can provide the above solutions, click to learn how.

Process Automation for Agile Localization

Process automation solutions rely on the LSP’s development team to summarize the pain points of customers and combine them with customized development for the client’s new localization needs.

The principle is to integrate the source file library based on predefined rules, using end-to-end automation processes to reduce manual intervention and duplication in the localization process. This leads to less of a workload and more time saved.

In conventional translation processes like T-E-P (translation, editing, proofreading), testing and engineering, QA etc., both sides must constantly send and receive files, manually extract translated content, change formats, and so on. Indeed, this is not very “agile.”

Process automation can speed up completion of customer projects without reducing the quality of the work by reducing the duplicated effort and time wasted in handling documents. The benefit goes both ways:

>> For the client:

  1. Automated process management can link the customer with the LSP file system to generate quotes, feedback, and quality reports automatically, making project management easier to handle for the customer.
  2. It can automatically handle the translation of constantly updated content to meet the demands of quick updates and short cycles in games and software iteration.

>> For the LSP, it can automatically collect project files and extract text content, do automatic file analysis, and preprocessing. It can effectively reduce or eliminate manual intervention and reduce the rate of human error.

Centralized Management in Agile Localization

No company, including LSPs, can guarantee that they will have the resources to solve every possible problem. Therefore, the LSP needs to examine and select external resources. Except for language experts, these resources include translation management systems (TMS), CAT tools, MT engines, analysis tools, QA tools, etc. Centralized management refers to integrating people, tools, and processes into a complete system to achieve better results.

For example, when the in-game text, UI, website, and marketing materials of a large game project need to be translated into 20 languages, both the project management and the resource allocation will face big challenges. The LSP needs to discuss the localization process for each category of content with the customer, match the appropriate linguists, translation tools, translation memory resources, etc.

Centralized management automatically connects the source file management system with project management, translation, quality inspection, engineering, translation memory, and CAT tools — according to a process that has been discussed with the customer in advance — getting the whole system up and running to complete the project with more efficiency. The primary benefits are:

>> Improved efficiency while improving local consistency

>> Improved project management flexibility

  1. The LSP project manager filters the most suitable translators and corpus resources, and the system automatically receives, and sends files from clients and translators, making it easier to control all aspects of the process.
  2. Customers can use the client interface to see their linguists’ qualifications, completed translation, localization work product, QA reports, etc. to facilitate unified cost and time tracking.

Continuous Delivery – the Core Characteristic of Agile Localization

For game and software developers or publishers, the LSP’s continuous delivery capability is the most significant part in the agile localization process for achieving quality assurance, efficiency, and cost reductions.

Why?

Currently, many regulated translation projects still follow the “waterfall” model in the translation and localization process. The risks are obvious — delayed product releases, not conducive to bug fixes, difficult product updates, high costs, and so on. Continuous delivery avoids these problems. However, for the LSP to achieve continuous delivery, they need full support and cooperation from the customer.

So how can continuous delivery be achieved?

  1. Do market research to streamline localized content

Streamlining content reduces unnecessary localization costs and lets you do more with less. For the localization of games or software products, publishers should conduct market research to understand target group preferences and develop a precise localization strategy.

The GALA 2017 gaming report polled Chinese and Russian gamers to study and compare degrees of localization of English language games. According to the survey, 74% of Chinese players prefer the original English voicing to Chinese dubbing. For the publisher looking to enter the Chinese market, this means there is no need to waste money on dubbing. It would be better to move quickly to seize market share.

  1. Make the localization plan part of game development

“The most appropriate solution is often born in close cooperation; the most agile team is often the one with the most mutual understanding and teamwork.”

The localization of games and software requires joint participation by the development team, the localization project managers, and localization engineers. If the three sides are not aware of each other’s goals, plans, and processes, it will damage cooperation and lengthen the localization cycle.

Therefore, the product department may wish to invite the project manager from time to time to participate in product discussions and to let them understand the product design plans and milestones. Localization project managers who participate in the product development can also let the development team better understand the localization process to ensure that the localization will not impact user experience.

Furthermore, the product team should let the localization engineers get an idea of the product design plan as early as possible, so that the localization engineers can improve the design before functions are developed and promptly discover and solve potential localization problems to avoid wasted efforts and financial resources.

  1. First release, then perfect

For the publisher of a new product time means market share, and most current game and app publishers have adopted the practice of issuing products quickly to then continuously update and improve them according to user feedbacks. Everyone has probably had this experience playing mobile games, as, almost every day, there will be an update notice requiring you to re-download a patch or the installation package to upgrade the product. This means that the supplier must often deal with translating a constant flow of data for the client.

Compared to the previous waterfall method of publishing the final version, which is sequential and difficult to go back and change according to user needs — not without scratching the whole project and starting from the beginning. Agile localization effectively solves this problem by providing continuous delivery without any added cost or time.


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