7 Language Quality Pitfalls That Make Localization Harder
Wherever you’re heading on your localization journey, the right approach to language quality boosts your odds of a smooth arrival.
By ensuring your translations meet consistent linguistic standards, you can eliminate errors, reduce time to market, and improve your localization ROI.
However, the path to get there isn’t always clear. You can run into many obstacles, delays, and detours if you fail to keep your eyes on the road.
So, what are the most hazardous pitfalls on your way to language quality success? Let’s explore them one by one and see how to reduce their impact.
- Fragmented linguistic assets
Style guides, glossaries, and other assets are often scattered across various locations, especially in multi-language projects. Different versions may exist in multiple places, creating dangerous inconsistencies across different languages and between materials for the same language.
As a result, translators and language quality reviewers spend unnecessary time searching for information. Localization slows down. Inconsistencies and errors multiply.
How can you avoid such costly problems? Centralize and harmonize your assets.
House all linguistic tools and materials in one place, accessible to every team member. Ensure each asset has one definitive version and all updates are made there.
These steps guarantee that everyone reads from the same roadmap and follows the right directions. Translators and reviewers can quickly find answers, and your content stays consistent.
- Resistance to change
When you have a process to manage language quality, it’s easy to keep doing what you know. But the most familiar path isn’t always the fastest or safest.
For instance, you may miss opportunities to reduce errors and speed up quality control if you fail to keep up with the latest AI tools and automation. Likewise, outdated file formats could make collaboration harder for translators and language quality reviewers.
It isn’t just about technology, either. For example, sticking with an inefficient workflow could lead to extra costs for your organization.
The best route is to embrace change, not just accept it.
Review your technologies and methods regularly to ensure you’re up to date. Invest in training so your team can upgrade its knowledge.
Do you see a chance to improve your workflows or tools? Put in the work to communicate with stakeholders and get everyone on board.
Even better, get ahead of the curve by researching and developing what you need, assuming you have the means and the budget. For example, AI is full of unknown potential waiting to be tapped.
- Inflexible tools and technologies
When choosing language quality tools and technologies, it’s tempting to focus on immediate needs and neglect long-term requirements.
Unfortunately, that often leads to a dead end. If your tools only work with a narrow range of methods, you may struggle to adapt when your needs change later. Switching can be time-consuming and expensive once you’ve outgrown a technology.
The answer is to look ahead when choosing language quality tools.
Evaluate how customizable a product is and how your needs might grow beyond it. Can this tool accommodate new languages, markets, or methods? Or does it have limitations that may complicate your plans later?
Make a conscious decision to invest in flexible, scalable technologies so that your language quality program continues evolving. Prioritize tools that can easily integrate with other APIs and export your legacy content. Try to build your tech stack and assets with interchangeable components.
Above all, stay ready to adapt and change pace. Don’t get too attached to specific tools. They’re just a temporary means to an end.
- Leaving language quality out of your budget
Even when companies pour resources into translation, they may fail to set aside funds for vetting the end product.
For any projects where quality matters, this is a strategic mistake.
Language quality review and assessment require resources, just as content creation and translation do. If you haven’t explicitly budgeted for them, they won’t get done—which means more mistakes, more bottlenecks, and lower ROI for your localization projects.
To avert these problems, create a separate line item in your budget for language quality review and assessment. Always plan (and save) for failure. Mistakes will happen along the way, so expect the worst and hope for the best.
Different projects or tasks may require different levels of quality management. Assess your needs for each one and make a realistic allocation of resources.
For every critical language and locale, budget for in-country proofreaders and language leads. These resources will empower you to enforce quality standards with your LSP and guide your program to the right outcome.
- A one-size-fits-all approach
To simplify language quality management, localization managers may take a one-size-fits-all strategy, using the same methods and standards for every language, region, or project.
Unfortunately, this approach often backfires, saving effort upfront but causing more problems later.
The same linguistic strategy could work well for one language or region but not for others. Likewise, you’ll get subpar results if you apply the same metrics and quality standards to all projects or types of content.
What’s the answer? Standardize where it makes sense, but adjust your methods when the situation demands it.
For example, creating original content in the target language may be more effective than translation for some markets. If the same strategy works for several countries or regions, that’s fine—but always consider the needs of each locale independently if possible.
Similarly, different goals and content types may require different language quality metrics, even if you use the same overall framework for language quality assessment.
- Relying on your LSP for quality assurance
Most companies lack in-house resources to manage the linguistic quality of translations. Instead, they often rely on their language service provider (LSP) to vet the final product and fix any problems.
This approach, however, leaves you open to many quality issues.
Beyond some editing at the end, LSPs don’t necessarily have robust quality management, and their review process is rarely objective. Like anyone else, they have a bias against finding problems in their work. That means they may miss errors or nuances that an impartial reviewer would catch.
An outside assessment is often the best way to ensure the quality of translations. A third-party language quality management provider can review your LSP’s work without bias and help you maximize your investment in localization.
- Treating language quality as an afterthought
This is often the root cause of trouble. If you develop a localization program without language quality as its foundation, you pave the way for other preventable and costly problems.
Many organizations rush into localization without a systematic plan to ensure that translations meet linguistic standards—or they overlook the need for clear standards at all. They react to quality issues instead of anticipating and preventing them.
When you fall into this trap, more mistakes slip through, and you miss chances to improve localization quality. You only learn about errors when users complain. By then, the damage is done.
To avoid these problems, be proactive and build language quality management into your plans.
Make sure to define what counts as an acceptable level of language quality and specify how you’ll measure it. Above all, establish a consistent process to find and fix quality issues so you can stay on track to your destination.
Want a localization program that avoids these pitfalls and delivers the results you need? Contact Beyont to learn more about language quality management.