top of page
  • Writer's pictureJaney Wong

The Art of Product Localization: Insights from a Localization Specialist

Welcome to our latest blog post where we explore the deep layers of adapting products for global markets. We're thrilled to draw on the expertise of Aglaia Pavlerou, a seasoned Localization Manager at DICE in an interview with her on The Multilingual Content Podcast.


With over 14 years in the localization field, Aglaia has a rich background in translation and linguistics, and extensive experience with language service providers, travel, and advertising industries.


Now focusing on product localization, she plays a crucial role in ensuring that every product released by DICE feels native to users around the world. Her journey from a third-party supplier to an integral team member gives her a unique vantage point on ensuring every product feels right at home in any market.


Blog banner

Here, Aglaia shares her invaluable insights into how localization is more than just translation—it's about culturally adapting a product to meet and exceed local expectations.


The Multilingual Content Podcast Banner

Join us as we dive into the strategies and personal experiences that help transform a standard product into a globally embraced brand. Whether you are a product manager, content creator, or localization professional, Aglaia's journey and expertise will provide a fresh perspective on making products resonate across diverse markets



Localization: More Than Just Translation


Localization is often misconceived as merely translating content into another language. However, Aglaia illustrates that it's much more—it's about adaptation to meet and exceed local expectations, and ensuring that every user feels the product was crafted just for them.


An Example of Impactful Localization


Aglaia shared a compelling campaign example for a major partner in Spain. Initially briefed as a straightforward translation task, she saw the potential to truly localize the campaign to resonate with the local culture and festivities. 


By working closely with creative teams and incorporating local insights, DICE not only translated but transformed the content, making a significant impact during a prominent Spanish festival.


"We completely reimagined the campaign visuals and copy to align with a major local festival. This resonated deeply with users and drove impressive campaign results and engagement." - Aglaia Pavlerou, Localization Manager at DICE.


group of people having a meeting talking about UX

This example demonstrates how effective localization goes beyond translation to deliver content that feels locally relevant. To create a meaningful connection with users, it's essential to understand the local context. This involves identifying significant cultural events (e.g. a festival, in this case) that resonate deeply with the community. By aligning with these important events, brands can connect emotionally with their audience, fostering a sense of familiarity and relevance. Recognizing and celebrating these events shows respect for local traditions and helps to build a stronger bond with users.


Collaboration across various teams is crucial in transforming this understanding into impactful content. Creative teams can bring these cultural insights to life with compelling visuals and narratives. The marketing team ensures that these stories reach the right audience through effective channels, while the insights team provides valuable data on user preferences and behaviors. By working together, these teams can create cohesive and engaging campaigns that are culturally informed and strategically sound.


Tailoring content to the local context involves more than just translation; it requires a deep integration of visual and written elements that resonate with local sensibilities. This might include using traditional symbols, color schemes, or linguistic nuances that hold particular significance within the culture. The goal is to create content that feels authentic and respectful, enhancing the user's experience and engagement with the brand.


Delivering impactful results hinges on meeting local users' needs and expectations. When content is thoughtfully tailored and strategically distributed, it has the power to achieve strong campaign results. Users are more likely to respond positively to campaigns that reflect their cultural identity and values. This approach not only drives engagement but also builds trust and loyalty, ultimately contributing to the success of the brand in the local market.


Essential Strategies for Successful Product Localization


Our discussion also covered various strategies and insights on integrating localization seamlessly into product development:


Early Involvement


Localization should be incorporated as early as possible. Being part of the product team allows localization managers to influence decisions, ensuring the product is globally adaptable from the start.


"By participating in initial planning and design, we can guide critical decisions to set up seamless localization from day one." - Aglaia Pavlerou, Localization Manager at DICE.


The Multilingual Content Podcast Banner

Engaging in product development conversations from the earliest stages, starting with the blueprint and wireframing, is crucial for ensuring that localization is seamlessly integrated into the process. By being involved from the beginning, localization experts can provide valuable insights that shape the product’s foundational design, making it more adaptable to various markets from the outset. Early participation helps to identify and address potential issues that could arise when adapting the product for different languages and cultures, ensuring a smoother development process.


During the core planning phase, it’s important to highlight potential localization issues or opportunities. By bringing these considerations to the forefront, teams can proactively address challenges such as cultural nuances, language-specific constraints, and regional regulatory requirements. This foresight can also reveal unique opportunities to enhance user engagement through culturally relevant features and content. Ensuring that localization is a key component of the planning process helps create a product that is not only globally viable but also locally appealing.


Guiding design and copy decisions to maximize translatability is another critical aspect of early involvement in product development. Localization experts can advise on best practices for creating content that can be easily translated without losing its original meaning or impact. This includes selecting flexible design layouts, avoiding idiomatic expressions that are difficult to translate, and considering text expansion or contraction in different languages. By making informed decisions at this stage, the team can avoid costly and time-consuming redesigns later on, ensuring a more efficient path to market.


Maintaining open channels for ongoing input as the product develops is essential for addressing new localization challenges that may arise. Continuous communication between development, design, and localization teams allows for real-time feedback and adjustments, ensuring that the final product meets the needs of diverse user bases. This iterative approach helps refine the product to deliver a consistent and high-quality user experience across all target markets, ultimately contributing to the product's global success.


Understanding Design and Copy


Direct collaboration with designers and UX writers is crucial. This helps anticipate potential localization issues and allows for preemptive adjustments, saving time and resources in later stages.


"When design and copy work hand-in-hand with localization experts, you can avoid issues down the line and even unlock localization opportunities." - Aglaia Pavlerou, Localization Manager at DICE.


A successful localization strategy begins with closely partnering with both design and written content teams. This collaboration ensures that localization considerations are integrated into the project from the outset. By working hand-in-hand with these teams, localization experts can help shape the creative process to be more inclusive and adaptable to different cultural contexts. This partnership fosters a shared understanding of the goals and challenges of localization, enabling the creation of content that resonates globally while maintaining local relevance.


One of the key steps in this collaborative process is providing localization guidelines for visuals and copy upfront. These guidelines serve as a roadmap for designers and writers, outlining best practices for creating content that can be easily and effectively localized. For visuals, this might include recommendations on color schemes, imagery, and iconography that are culturally neutral or adaptable. For copy, guidelines might suggest avoiding idiomatic expressions, using clear and simple language, and considering text expansion and contraction in different languages. By setting these expectations early, teams can ensure that their work aligns with the requirements for localization, reducing the need for extensive revisions later on.


As the content creation progresses, it is crucial to flag any content or layouts that could potentially lead to translation troubles. This proactive approach helps identify problematic elements that might not translate well across different languages and cultures. For example, certain phrases might lose their meaning once translated, or specific design elements might not be culturally appropriate in all regions. By highlighting these issues early, localization experts can work with the design and content teams to address them before they become larger problems.


In cases where content or layouts are identified as problematic, offering alternative localization-friendly options is essential. Providing these alternatives not only helps avoid potential issues but also demonstrates a commitment to creating content that is accessible and relevant to a global audience. For example, suggesting different imagery that is culturally neutral or proposing wording that maintains the intended message across languages can significantly enhance the localization process. These alternatives ensure that the final product is both high-quality and culturally sensitive, ultimately leading to a better user experience for all audiences.


By integrating these practices into the content development process, teams can create products that are more effectively localized, ensuring a seamless experience for users worldwide. This approach enhances the product’s global reach and reinforces the brand’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, fostering greater trust and loyalty among users in different markets.


person writing in a computer

Platform Considerations


Though the approach remains consistent across different platforms like iOS and Android, nuances like integration capabilities and character space can influence localization strategies.


"We tailor localization based on technical and functional constraints across platforms. The process is similar but tactics adjust for each codebase, device, and usage context." - Aglaia Pavlerou, Localization Manager at DICE.


The Multilingual Content Podcast Banner

Considerations include:


iOS:

  • Apps localized through Apple's online platform.

  • Character limitation for translations.

  • Specific app review policies.


Android:

  • Direct software development kit (SDK) localization.

  • Flexibility for phrasing and formatting.

  • Quality assurance testing complexity.


Web platforms:

  • Built-in internationalization capabilities.

  • Responsive design constraints.

  • Browser compatibility by market.


phone screen showing the app store

Handling Multiple Markets


Aglaia highlighted the continuous updates required by platforms like the App Store or Google Play, necessitating quick turnarounds in localization to keep the app available in multiple languages.


"Juggling localization for 150+ markets is intense. Our coordinated effort across software dev, QA, and translation ensures no disruptions in global availability." - Aglaia Pavlerou, Localization Manager at DICE.


Effective tactics for a successful localization strategy include several key practices. First, maintaining ready-to-go teams for each language and region ensures that localization efforts can be promptly initiated and managed. These dedicated teams are prepared to handle the specific linguistic and cultural nuances of their respective areas, leading to more accurate and effective translations.


To facilitate a smooth workflow, enabling automated hand-off mechanisms with development teams is essential. This automation streamlines the process of transferring content between developers and translators, reducing the potential for errors and speeding up the overall timeline. Additionally, streamlining review and refinement cycles helps maintain momentum and ensures that content is continuously improved and polished without unnecessary delays.


Providing translators with the necessary context quickly is another crucial tactic. By offering comprehensive background information and relevant resources upfront, translators can produce more accurate and contextually appropriate translations. This context might include details about the target audience, cultural references, and the intended tone of the content.


Finally, rigorous testing after every update is vital to ensure that the localized content functions correctly and meets quality standards. Regular testing helps identify and rectify issues promptly, ensuring a seamless user experience across all languages and regions. By implementing these tactics, organizations can achieve a more efficient and effective localization process, ultimately enhancing their global reach and user satisfaction.


The Power of Feedback in Localization


Collecting and implementing feedback is a cornerstone of effective localization. Aglaia emphasized having channels for every market to report issues, providing context for changes, and ensuring that all suggested improvements are both tracked and acted upon.


"Our localization feedback loops give us incredible qualitative insights. Analyzing these learnings enables data-driven localization refinement for maximizing relevancy per market over time." - Aglaia Pavlerou, Localization Manager at DICE.


two women talking in an office enviroment

Building feedback collection and handling into the localization workflow ensures that user insights are systematically gathered and addressed. Setting up localized focus group tests before launch allows for real-world evaluation of the content, helping to identify potential issues and areas for improvement specific to each region.


Enabling in-app feedback collection by region provides users with an easy way to share their experiences and suggestions directly within the app. Logging this feedback into a central database ensures that all comments and suggestions are organized and accessible. Sharing this database with translators allows them to understand user perspectives and refine their translations accordingly.


Regularly reviewing and addressing suggested changes is crucial for maintaining high-quality localized content. This ongoing process ensures that user feedback is continuously integrated, leading to improvements that enhance the user experience. Finally, closing the loop with users by informing them when their feedback has been implemented helps build trust and demonstrates a commitment to meeting their needs. These best practices collectively contribute to a more effective and user-centered localization process.


Final Thoughts on Localization


Before wrapping up, Aglaia shared some advice for anyone venturing into product localization:


  • Include Localization Early: Engage with your localization team during the initial stages of product development.

  • Provide Comprehensive Briefs: Ensure that all relevant information, including visual references, is available to the localization team.

  • Be Responsive to Queries: Addressing questions from the localization team promptly can significantly enhance the quality and relevance of localized content.


"Rather than treat localization as an afterthought, truly embrace it as an integral ongoing process that allows your product to speak to international users authentically." - Aglaia Pavlerou, Localization Manager at DICE.


The Multilingual Content Podcast Banner

Localization is not merely a step in the process—it's an ongoing, pivotal aspect of product development that deserves attention and investment. As Aglaia adeptly put it, it's about crafting an experience that feels tailor-made for every user, regardless of their language or location.


Partnering for Global Success: How Undertow Elevates Localization Beyond Translation


At Undertow, we understand that product localization is an art form that demands more than just translation—it requires a deep understanding of cultural nuances and a tailored approach to each market.

 

With our straightforward, approachable, and trustworthy team, we integrate seamlessly into your development cycles, ensuring your products resonate globally without complicating the process. 


Let us be your partner in not just translating, but truly localizing your content, ensuring every piece feels uniquely designed for its audience, just as Aglaia Pavlerou emphasizes. Partner with Undertow, where every localization task is treated with the precision and dedication it deserves. Get in touch.


Undertow UX banner

Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page