What is continuous localization?

continuous localization

Traditionally, localization was a separate and often time-consuming phase in the development process. Content or software would be developed in a source language, and only after completion would it be translated and adapted for different target languages and regions.

However, if you’re looking to improve your localization process and reach a wider global audience, you may want to consider the continuous localization approach.

Overview

What is continuous localization?

Continuous localization is an approach to the translation and adaptation of content that aligns with the principles of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD). It is a process that aims to keep software or content continuously updated and available in multiple languages to support global users.

This means:

  • Real-time localization, because new and updated content is translated as soon as it is available.
  • Automated workflows, as localization tasks are automated to streamline the process and reduce manual effort.
  • Integration with development tools; they are integrated with development tools to facilitate seamless collaboration.
  • Early feedback, because translations are reviewed and feedback is provided early in the development cycle.
  • Continuous delivery; translated content is integrated into the product as part of the regular development cycle.

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Benefits of continuous localization

So, what can continuous localization offer and how can it help you achieve your business goals? Some of the key benefits of using this methodology include:

Faster time to market

Continuous localization enables you to release their products in multiple languages more quickly. By translating new content as soon as it is created, you can avoid the long lead times associated with traditional localization methods. This provides a significant competitive advantage, as it allows you to reach new markets sooner.

Reduced localization costs

By automating tasks and catching errors early, you can avoid costly rework later in the development process. Additionally, continuous localization can help your business to leverage economies of scale, as you can translate larger volumes of content at once.

Improved product quality

By providing feedback on translations early in the development process, you can identify and fix any issues before they are released to users. This can help to ensure that your localized products or services are accurate, culturally sensitive, and user-friendly.

Enhanced user experience

Because new and updated content is translated as soon as it is available, users always have access to the latest translated information. By translating content in a continuous manner, you can also ensure that terminology is consistent across all languages, avoiding confusion and enhancing clarity for users. Furthermore, continuous localization can be used to create adaptive interfaces that adjust to the preferences and needs of individual users.

Challenges of continuous localization

No methodology comes without its challenges, and continuous localization is no exception. Some of the aspects businesses typically struggle with include:

Technical difficulties

Continuous localization often requires integration with development tools and workflows, which can be complex and time-consuming to implement. Additionally, you may need to invest in specialized software and tools to support continuous translation and workflow management.

Version control

Managing version control in a continuously evolving development environment can be complex. Keeping track of changes, ensuring that translators work on the correct versions, and preventing conflicts can pose difficulties.

Changes to the workflow

Embedding localization into the development process can require significant changes to existing workflows and processes. Developers and localization teams need to collaborate closely to ensure that translations are integrated seamlessly into the product development lifecycle. This can be challenging, especially if teams are used to working in silos.

Resource allocation

Continuous localization can put a strain on localization resources, especially if there is a high volume of content to be translated. You need to carefully manage your resources and ensure that you have the necessary translators, reviewers, and quality assurance professionals in place to support the continuous localization process.

Management change

Transitioning from traditional localization to continuous localization can be a significant change for businesses, requiring a shift in mindset and a willingness to embrace new processes and workflows. You need to effectively communicate the benefits of continuous localization to your team and provide training and support to ensure a smooth transition.

Tools for continuous localization

Several tools and platforms are available to support continuous localization. Localization management platforms are among the key tools. These web-based platforms designed to manage the localization workflow. They provide features like version control integration, collaboration tools for translators, and project management capabilities.

Version control systems play a crucial role in continuous localization by providing a centralized repository for managing and tracking changes made to localized content throughout the localization process.

Translation memory and glossary tools help maintain consistency across translations by storing previously translated segments (translation memory) and providing a glossary of approved terms. Note that localization management platforms typically offer integration with these tools.

Automation APIs play a crucial role in automating the software localization process. They allow for seamless communication between the source code repository and the localization platform, automating tasks such as content extraction and translation updates.

Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) tools automate the building, testing, and deployment of applications. In the context of continuous localization, these tools can be configured to trigger localization processes whenever changes are made to the source code, ensuring that localized content stays up-to-date.

For websites or applications that use a content management system (CMS), localization can be integrated directly into the content creation and management process. CMS tools with localization support enable easy management of translated content.

Continuous localization with POEditor

POEditor is a localization management platform that can be used to achieve continuous localization. You can connect POEditor to your development tools, such as GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, or Azure DevOps to automate the localization process. This will ensure that your translations are always up-to-date with your latest code changes.

Once connected, you can proceed to associate the languages in your POEditor project with the localization files in your repositories. Import both the terms and translations from the source file, and from this point onward, you can begin customization.

When it comes to translation, you have various options to choose from, such as inviting translators/team members to collaborate on the project, order professional translation services from one of our providers, or use machine translation. You can then review the translated strings and merge the translations into your project files.

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