4 Best Practices for Startup Localization

Lucy Xu
March 19, 2019
4 min read

Contrary to what some may believe, localization is not just for large corporations with big budgets but is equally – if not more – important for startups and early-stage businesses. With 90% of buyers conducting product research online before making purchases (especially in the B2B and software technology realms), it is imperative that your business and product not only speaks the local languages but does so in an engaging and familiar way for your international prospects.

While founders may argue that two of the major roadblocks are budget and need, the truth is that localization can be easily and effectively done on a startup budget… and there are often opportunities that lie beyond the current market. For the globally minded ventures that are looking to efficiently invest in localization to reach new international markets and audiences, here are four best practices that are essential for startups and can be applied to businesses of all sizes.

1. Maintain your agile processes for product and content.

Startups and fast-moving businesses prioritize agility above all, to be able to keep up with the evolving needs of their consumers and the changing tides of markets and new innovations. To remain agile, startups build in proper processes to make sure that their process of shipping new products is fast and efficient.

The great news here is that localization will not slow fast-moving businesses down. To do so, simply make sure that you maintain the same agile processes and mindset when you implement your localization strategy. Startups that have the proper processes in place will ensure that their product and content is being localized, published, and shipped as quickly as it is being built and created. To do so,

2. Get creative with your translation methods.

While localization may seem like a big undertaking and financial investment, it really doesn’t have to break the bank for startups. In fact, many startups are innovating and getting creative with the way they produce localized content and leveraging crowdsourced translation. For those less familiar with the process, crowdsourced translations engages your active users from global markets to contribute translations.

In using crowdsourced translations, startups are not only utilizing a cost-conscious approach, but also an approach that is a fun way to engage and activate their passionate users from abroad. And outside of the cost and community implications, crowdsourced translations can also be much more accurate as they are coming directly from local users who are familiar with both your product as well as the respective local languages of your target markets.

3. Keep an eye on your global traffic.

Leads and prospects come from everywhere. For startups, critical KPIs include traffic, new prospects, and new leads — all of which can come from all markets (even ones that you did not expect). To make sure you are meeting your customers where they are, keep an eye on your global traffic to understand which international markets are driving some traffic that may turn into greater opportunities in the long run.

To do so, leverage your basic tools like Google Analytics and also start to get a feel for international SEO so you can keep in mind when you start to formally invest in your startup localization efforts. Also keep in mind to expect the unexpected – you never know which international markets will catch you by surprise!

4. Start investing in global expansion early.

As with all ventures and worthwhile investments, it’s important to start early to start building a sturdy foundation. Even if it means starting small and going bit by bit, if you keep international expansion and localization in mind early on, it will save you more trouble in the long-run and you won’t need to reinvent the product and content wheel when fully taking your businesses to new markets.

To do so, build targeted and scalable content – scalable in the sense that it could easily be expanded and adapted for new markets if localized and translated. Regardless of your company stage or industry, there are fundamentals and best practices that can be applied across multiple markets. This is the type of content you want to produce and eventually localize your startup to scale and reach your international audiences.

Then, get educated on the localization market and explore which translation management solutions are best for your agile team and can keep up with the speed and pace at which you are producing content.

To learn more about how agile startups and businesses leverage localization to go global, download our Localization for Agile Teams guide today. Ready to try out localization for your startup? Sign up for free 15-day trial of Transifex to give localization a try.

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Lucy Xu
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