When and how to request localisation services


The first question is the definition of “localisation”. Localisation arises when a service or product needs to be adapted so that it can be sold in a town, region or country that is different from the original. We can illustrate this definition with a typical Spanish slogan; “Hablando se entiende la gente” (“people understand each other by speaking”). The message of this slogan is understood perfectly in Spain but would, in all likelihood, need to be adapted to the target culture to be understood abroad. In English, for example, we could decide to translate it as “it’s good to talk”.
There are two types of localisation: website localisation and software localisation.

Localisation in the current market

As long as globalisation and the Internet exist, there will always be a need for localisation. Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, a company can be everywhere; there are no limits, and size hardly matters any more.

The company itself often takes charge of localising its website, since there is nobody with a better understanding of its products. However, that is not always the best decision; translators do not always have an in-depth knowledge of the product, but they do have technical knowledge of how to localise.  Therefore, the best solution is often a joint effort between localisation professionals and the interested company.

Localisation should not be confused with translation. Localisation is very complicated and many aspects, cultural and psychological as well as technical, have to be taken into account. For certain texts, sometimes all that is required is translation into a particular language. Clearly, that is not localisation. In those cases, we have a simple translation of texts from a website or the messages and interface that appear in an application, which always entails a loss of context and often creates comprehension problems for the client.


When should I request a localisation service?

The first question a client should ask before opting for localisation is: what is my objective? Do I really want to sell my product abroad, bringing security and confidence to my clients? If the answer is yes, then localisation is the service you are looking for. Neither automatic machine translation, which often changes the meaning of texts, nor simple translation, which never gets close enough to the client, is sufficient in these cases. However, if you are selling your product in your own country and you just want to help clients who do not speak your language to access texts about your products or services in their own language, simple translation may suffice (although clearly it will not allow you to stand out from the competition).

After that, the next question the client should ask is whether they will recoup the costs of localising their website. This is a question that each client must answer themselves, but there are several questions that can help you to arrive at an answer: Who do I want to sell to? Am I capable of selling to people from other countries or regions? Can I sell my products in other places; what’s the market like there? Can I meet the increased demand that will arise from expanding into new markets? Do I have people who can take charge of that?
Generally, the investment is only worth it if the company demonstrates a serious and reliable attitude towards the new markets, since otherwise it will not be able to sell, even if the price is very attractive (well, if it’s REALLY attractive, it sometimes works). Therefore, if you really want to expand into new markets, professional software or website localisation should be the least of your problems and is, in our opinion, indispensable.

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Localisation at Mondo Agit

Mondo Agit has been offering this service since its creation in 2005. Our first job was software and website localisation for StepOver, a company we continue to work with that is dedicated to handwritten e-signature products.

Currently, however, the agency receives mostly website localisation work. This is because Mondo Agit has specialised more in website localisation than software localisation.

The localisation process at Mondo Agit from the client’s point of view

Once the client has sent the form with all the necessary information, our specialists start by revising all of the website’s components, speaking to the client to find out what things are important to them and what exactly they need and finding the best solution to every problem.

After that, a detailed final quote is created, which includes all the services necessary to carry out the localisation. Once the client has accepted it, our team, made up of specialists in the sector, start work, remaining in constant contact with the client.

When the work is finished, it is returned to the client, who is always offered a full quality guarantee and the chance to assess both collaboration with the agency and the work produced. This is because we are always interested in learning about the client’s experience of the process; in other words, their assessment of the service.

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The quote

You should firstly do a search of the translation agencies in your area.

The first thing to look out for, through the agency’s website, is its credibility and whether it offers localisation. It is also interesting to know which companies the agency has already done translations for. After that, ask for quotes from all the agencies who meet those criteria. Then comes the important bit: which quote should I choose?

In many cases, you should be guided more by word of mouth than by the quote. However, the key to choosing the right quote is the following:

  • Check that the final price does not vary much between the different quotes (if it does, ask why).
  • Check the quote and if there’s anything you don’t understand, ask.
  • If you’re struggling to choose between two quotes, ask the agencies in question for references from other clients (especially for large projects that cost a lot of money).
  • The presentation and organisation of the quote is always important, since often the quote reflects the work that will be carried out.

A quote often reflects the company’s knowledge of the work to be carried out, so you should look at key points that differentiate one quote from the other.