As BLEND’s Enterprise Marketing Lead, Matt brings 13 years in the audio and video production industries to help businesses execute successful voice and video localization campaigns.
Investing in content localization is an essential part of expanding beyond home markets. But how can you understand whether localization efforts have been successful, and how to improve localization campaigns in the future? That’s where localization quality assurance (LQA) enters the picture.
LQA is the method we use to assess whether content really serves targeted audiences. It’s a process of analysis that dives deep into how content is received and consumed. The output is a detailed picture of how well that content has been localized, and how to make improvements that are needed.
In this blog, we’ll look at how LQA works, and suggest some tips to make it accessible for all of BLEND’s clients. It’s not overly complicated, but carrying out a thorough audit of all localization projects is absolutely essential. Let’s find out more.
Before clients audit anything, it’s vital to know what localization means. Without that basic understanding, we can’t tell whether projects have met their goals, or what to look for when assessing content performance.
Put simply, localization is the conversion of content to make it suitable for a different audience. This generally entails linguistic translation into target languages, but there’s more to localizing content than this.
Localization also transcreates content – turning it into a form that makes sense to consumers elsewhere in the world. It takes into account cultural variations, the needs and desires of local customers, and more mundane issues like choosing the right metrics for distances or time formats.
The aim is to create content that answers the questions of local customers. This delivers an SEO boost, encourages greater brand engagement, and also serves customers with better information – all big wins for expanding companies.
LQA measures whether key localization goals have been achieved, and it needs to be approached strategically via a quality assurance action plan. This plan will vary from business to business, but most share several elements in common:
It’s important to stress that localization quality assurance plans vary. For instance, game localization quality assurance plans will probably place more weight on customer experience testing than refining website content. Find a mix that suits each project.
Almost every localization project has a strong translation element. Translations matter, even if companies are expanding between English language markets. They are even more important as linguistic barriers become higher and more challenging.
Several factors come into play when assessing the quality of translations:
Translation isn’t just about converting meanings between cultures and nations. Every language has its own grammar and spelling rules. Getting them wrong can instantly alienate potential customers and damage brand credibility, and they are almost always easy to avoid. Here are some key issues to check for across all content types:
Cultural translation is probably the most difficult part of localization projects, and it’s also where quality assurance audits can make the most impact.
Every nation has its own forms of address, sense of humor, pop culture references, social taboos, and colloquialisms. Web searchers, gamers and app users are steeped in those cultural elements, which in turn heavily influence how they interact with brands.
Here are some cultural factors to take into account when carrying out a full LQA assessment:
All of these cultural factors can be picked up during quality assurance testing for localization, whether audits deal with product descriptions for eCommerce sites, or playing through adventure games.
The way content looks and feels can also change when large amounts of text are translated. This can make website front ends more cumbersome to use, and even obscure important information on app interfaces or during games.
Those problems can be avoided by auditing layouts and formatting for all web pages and gameplay elements.
When you’ve covered cultural factors, formatting, layouts, spelling and grammar, make any necessary changes and move on to the final testing stage: customer experience.
This part of LQA provides a window into how customers use websites, apps, or games. It functions as an extra layer of quality assurance, detecting additional issues and verifying that the changes made by LQA teams haven’t created new problems.
There is no single way to audit customer experience. eCommerce companies will need to cover searching for products, purchasing, customer support, and terms and conditions. Game localization quality assurance projects will need playtesters who understand both game mechanics and local culture.
The exact mix depends on what is being localized. But the process has to be guided by native speakers and their reports must be acted upon.
LQA finishes with a quality assurance report. This brings together the findings of translators, cultural analysts, play testers, coders, and user experience experts and tends to follow a series of meetings where team members discuss issues arising from the process.
Make the report comprehensive but clear. Detail any changes that have been made or need to be made, along with evidence to back them up. Remember, this report isn’t just useful for the short term. It’s also a learning document to support localization efforts in the future. So make it accurate, easy to read, and accessible to future LQA teams.
LQA doesn’t have to be carried out in-house. In fact, enlisting third-party quality assurance services can often be a better option.
Bringing in a third party like BLEND adds an extra benefit – the ability to see with the eyes of an outsider. External perspectives provide an objective analysis of how content performs. Outsiders can analyze language without worrying about offending writers or managers. They can just deliver assessments that get to the heart of the matter.
Every localization project should incorporate LQA. Whether companies are selling soft drinks, designer sneakers, or immersive smartphone games, products should never reach new markets without a full localization analysis.
The benefits of LQA far exceed the costs, and include:
BLEND provides high-quality QA testing for localization in all business sectors. Our experts can analyze and content to remove even the smallest mistakes, leaving no stone unturned.
In a world where minor cultural or linguistic errors can ruin localization campaigns, LQA is not an optional extra. Get in touch with us, and create content that succeeds anywhere in the world.