top of page
  • Writer's pictureJaney Wong

Leveraging Localization in Product Discovery and Delivery

Our latest blog post showcases the invaluable insights of Morana Perić, currently leading the charge as Head of Localization at DeepL. 

With a rich tapestry of experiences from digital marketplace giants such as GetYourGuide and to exploring the mobility sector at Free Now, Morana is no stranger to the challenges and triumphs of multilingual content deployment.

Blog Banner

In a candid conversation on the Multilingual Content Podcast, she unveils the critical importance of incorporating localization right from the get-go – in the product discovery phase, not just delivery. 

"Localization is so famously placed and intertwined in product delivery, and people don't even consider it… this is a missed opportunity." - says Morana Perić, Head of Localization at DeepL.

The Multilingual Content Podcast

The localization process is often an afterthought in product development. However, as Morana explains in a recent Multilingual Content Podcast episode, involving localization from the earliest stages - particularly during product discovery - can provide invaluable insights. 

Localization experts are uniquely positioned to help define product-market fit and growth strategies for international expansion.

What you will learn…

Distinguishing Discovery and Delivery

When discussing localization's role, Morana differentiates between two key phases: product discovery and delivery. 

  • Discovery involves determining what to build based on customer needs through activities like market research and usability testing. 

  • Delivery refers to the actual development, design, coding, and localization of the product.

Traditionally, localization has been relegated to the delivery phase, where it is seen as simply translating text. But Morana argues this misses crucial opportunities in discovery to understand different international markets. Localization should inform decisions about which features and functionality will resonate in each region from the start.

"It sounds really basic, but I'm sometimes surprised how little research companies do when they enter new markets," says Morana Perić, Head of Localization at DeepL.

people talking with a tablet in their hand

Leveraging Localization in Product Discovery

There are several ways localization can enhance the discovery process, according to Morana. 

First, user research and testing scenarios should involve local subject matter experts to provide cultural context. For example, having linguists review prototypes and provide feedback on usability from their perspective.

Secondly, insights can be gained from local sales, support, and customer success teams already interacting with clients. They may highlight requirements or pain points not obvious to those developing the core product.

Bringing stakeholders into the process early on helps prevent the need for last-minute changes and difficult conversations.

Existing products can also be audited from the perspective of new target markets before expansion. A localization specialist can evaluate how the user experience and messaging may need adapting based on cultural norms.

Finally, discovery aids in prioritizing features as "must-haves" versus "nice-to-haves" per location. Not all features successful at home will resonate abroad. Localization helps decide the essentials for initial entry versus long-term aspirations. 

"The right moment to start thinking about localization is at the ideation phase... The added value [of localization] is left because it’s where you can get feedback,” Miguel Sepulveda, Globalization Director at King.

The Multilingual Content Podcast

Balancing Local Needs with Scalability

When expanding internationally, products must balance localized customization with maintaining scalability. Fully customizing for each market is unrealistic, as outlined by Morana. In-depth qualitative and quantitative research is needed to identify the most important adjustments required.

Customers have baseline expectations around functionality, branding, and payment options that cannot be ignored if seeking success in a new region. However, "nice-to-have" customizations could be postponed in favor of global features if scalability is a concern.

Quantitative metrics like conversion rates and churn provide insight but may require large sample sizes in some markets. Qualitative methods like interviews with local experts can quickly uncover "must-have" changes even with a small audience. Combining both approaches mitigates their limitations.

people in a meeting

Conducting a Localization Audit

To evaluate a product's localization readiness, Morana recommends a comprehensive audit. This goes beyond functional testing to assess the overall user experience from the perspective of local customers. Collaboration between researchers, linguists, and local users is key.

Usability studies are enhanced by having native speakers attempt common tasks and share candid feedback. Cultural norms and expectations are uncovered that may not be obvious to those developing the core experience. For example, different approaches to checkout flows or privacy policies.

"If they can and have the capacity, they should rely on their localization peers and get them to also help you brainstorm… there are so many talented people in the industry that can really help you," says Morana Perić, Head of Localization at DeepL.

Linguists can also review materials and flag any issues in localization best practices, terminology, or conventions. Their domain of expertise reveals problems overlooked by non-native English testing alone. Together, these insights better equip product teams to localize successfully for new audiences.

people in an startup enviroment

Tips for Product Managers

Product managers play a pivotal role in bringing localization into the discovery process, according to Morana. She advises leveraging localization peers as valuable sparring partners and experts in internationalization.

"Think about how this impacts your product decisions and reach out to your localization peers and get them to also help you brainstorm - be your sparring partner," says Morana Perić, Head of Localization at DeepL.

The Multilingual Content Podcast banner

Collaborating across functions provides different angles to consider and avoids missed opportunities overseas. Localization specialists should be involved in brainstorming expansion strategies from the concept phase. Their diverse perspective can spot issues others may miss and generate new ideas.

Involving localization early in discovery prevents last-minute adjustments during delivery that risk disappointing customers. It becomes a natural part of the development cycle, maximizing the chances of product-market fit in new regions. With localization integrated into discovery, the entire product journey benefits.

people in a meeting

Integrating Localization for Global Success

By following Morana's guidance, localization can truly be woven through the entire product development lifecycle. Starting in discovery phases like market evaluation and feature prioritization sets the stage for smoother international launches.

Localization professionals are a rich resource that too often goes untapped until delivery. But by collaborating with researchers, linguists, and local subject matter experts upfront, product teams gain a cultural lens. This helps align products with customer needs globally from concept to launch and beyond.

With localization integrated as a strategic partner in discovery, scalable solutions emerge that satisfy customers wherever they are. International growth becomes achievable through a user-centered mindset accounting for local nuances early in the process. When discovery and delivery collaborate hand in hand, the rewards multiply across all markets served.

woman with a tablen

Strategic Partnership for Global Expansion

At Undertow, we specialize in leveraging localization to enhance both product discovery and delivery. Our unique blend of digital marketing and localization expertise positions us as the ideal partner for SaaS companies aiming to make an impact on a global scale. 

By integrating localization early in the product development process through our Minimum Viable Experience (MVE) approach, we help define and refine product-market fit and strategy for international markets.

Localization blueprint

With Undertow, you'll find a straightforward, approachable team committed to solving problems without overcomplicating them. We offer tailored solutions, emphasizing the human factor and building personal relationships to ensure your product resonates with customers worldwide. 

Trust us to guide you through the complexities of localization, making global expansion a seamless part of your journey from concept to launch. Get in touch.


bottom of page