As a marketer going global, one of the worst surprises is learning your website is not yet ready for localization. This revelation is particularly devastating when it comes on the heels of a long, expensive content management system (CMS) implementation that was, at least partially, justified by the ability to support a multi-lingual marketing program. To avoid these blunders that hide until you try to localize, you need to work closely with partners that have extensive experience in multi-lingual publishing. Following are three of the best resources (and teams) to employ:
Choose a CMS that has localization built into the core
There is a big difference between a CMS that has been designed for localization and one that can achieve localization through clever adaptation. When you go with the latter you tend to work against core assumptions of the platform and run into unanticipated challenges.
Choose an integrator that has extensive experience in multi-lingual publishing
Content management systems are flexible and give inexperienced integrators plenty of opportunities to make bad choices. Designers and developers can take shortcuts that are not problematic unless you try to localize the site. For example, designers can produce layouts that do not support text expansion or extended character sets; designers and developers can hard code text into places that are hard to translate.
Involve your localization partner early in the process
A good localization agency will be able to advise you against design choices that will make the site difficult to localize. They can also give you feedback on content samples to make sure that the localization process runs smoothly.
I touch briefly on these topics during a short interview with Lionbridge’s Chief Marketing Officer, Clint Poole. Watch my talk at the Global Marketing Symposium and stay tuned here to learn more. In the meantime, a good place to start is Deane Barker’s excellent guest post about partial localization.