How International Startups Approach Localization

How International Startups Approach Localization

How International Startups Approach Localization 6000 4000 Sergio Guillén

Going Global is an Important Part of a Startup’s Success

As it once happened with all of the top international startups of today, yours is starting to become successful, and it feels like all your hard work is beginning to pay off. You are all ready to run your victory lap around the office, but at the same time, you feel like the job is not quite done yet and are thinking about what comes next.

There is no time to waste and the next step is going global, becoming an international startup, and improving your presence in markets across the world through localization.

How Will Localization Help You Achieve Business Goals?

You’re aware that you need localization to help to expand into global markets, but your colleagues might not have the time to be thinking about that. Startups can have limited resources meaning staff often wear multiple hats and have to think about strategies for more than one area of the business so don’t want even more put on their plate.

To approach your team about localization, the first thing you need to do is think about how it could help your colleagues achieve some of the goals they have. Users want to see content relating to your product in their own language. In fact, according to Common Sense Advisory, 72 percent of customers abroad would rather buy products that provide information in their own language so think about how this can be leveraged by various teams.

For example, your startups’ product development team may be trying to improve user engagement on your product. Show them how localization is just the tool to help them boost those numbers. Your users in international markets could use your product more frequently if it were in their language and this would help your product development team achieve their goal.

Read More: How Translation Technology Can Help You Scale Your Startup Internationally

Developing Your Localization Strategy

Once you’ve got your team on board with your plan to incorporate localization to help you become an international startup, the next step is to develop a localization strategy.

While the world does speak over 7,000 languages, 90 percent of the online population can be reached with 14 languages alone. You need to decide what languages will best help you achieve your goals.

You won’t be able to take on the whole world at once so look at where customers are already coming from outside of your national user base. Then begin to develop a localization strategy for the locations that you have established as the best ones to start with.

Remember that localization goes beyond merely translating for a language and to really be a successful international startup you need to understand the problems you are trying to solve for the members of the community you are targeting.

For example, Airbnb is one of the of the most successful international startups we have seen come out of Silicon Valley because they don’t just think global—they think local. For their U.S. users, they allow sign up from Facebook and Google, but these are not international norms.

To localize their platform for the Chinese market, Airbnb allowed users to sign up with login credentials from Weibo or WeChat, which are much more commonly used in China than Google or Facebook. This improved user experience, and their localization strategy helped them to see a 700 percent growth in the Chinese market in just one year.

Establishing Localization as a Regular Practice in Your International Startup

Localization cannot only help you achieve your goals in international markets, it can also be incorporated into your company culture and bring teams together that otherwise might not work together.

Once you have set up your localization strategy, from there you can start to embed it into the general practice of your startup. For example, if your startup is app based, you can add a process into your workflow that allows for agile localization by having automated processes running in the background while your developer’s code.

This sort of automated solution makes everyone motivated to include localization within your development process.

Measuring Your Localization Success

The final step in incorporating localization into your soon-to-be international startup is measuring the results to show the value of your hard work to the various teams involved.

For example, your designer may have included localization into their workflow so they can see how designs will look when translated. Due to the large difference in character count between languages, some translations can dramatically increase the amount of text on a page which has a knock-on effect on designs.

You can show this to them by demonstrating how including localization in their process, and creating designs for each international market has improved user experience and show them the boost in user engagement metrics to improve team morale.

You could even try to get various teams to take part in localization competitions to see who improves their metrics most over time, which will create excitement around the new process and fuel innovation.

Sergio Guillén

As the CEO of Accelingo, I believe in a globalized world where businesses flawlessly share their message across different cultures. I strive to empower startups to scale up globally and take over the world by providing compelling multilingual content that preserves their brand’s message and identity while increasing their reputation and visibility among global clients and partners. If you’re an ambitious startup hungry for international success, get in touch with me today and let’s find out how your startup can benefit from my expertise!

All stories by: Sergio Guillén