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Localization 101 for Startups: Going Global in Six Easy Steps

six key steps to go global with your start up

Congratulations, you and your team worked their hearts out and now it’s paid off: Your startup just closed a successful C round. After a few victory laps and maybe a nice party, you are back to work, trying to figure out how to get your company to the next level. Your runway is short, after all, and there is no time to waste.

Part of how to reach your growth goals is going global, which opens up a whole box of questions about your translation and localization strategy. Which markets do you want to reach, which are the ones promising the best return of your investment? How far ahead are you looking and how much effort are you putting into establishing and automating your translation workflow and building your Translation Memory (TM)?

At Venga, we have 25 years of experience helping software and technology companies taking the next step. Here are six key aspects you should look into when going global:

1 Market Strategy

Before you settle on which markets you target and into which languages you localize, you need a thorough market analysis. You want to look into market research data to understand your target audience, research legal restrictions, calculate the ease of doing business, size up your competition, and estimate your ROI. Your business plan should spell out how you reach local success while maintaining your global brand image.

2 Localization Strategy

After you understand your markets, you want to come up with a localization strategy. With limited resources, you won’t be able to tackle the whole world all at once. So you need to decide on the languages that will help you to achieve your goals. According to a recent study, 90% of the world’s online market can be reached with 14 languages — but even that may be too much to master at this stage of your growth. Which language you prioritize depends a lot on the type of business you are in.  

3 Global Content Strategy

To better understand what content you want to localize, it is helpful to take a look at your content matrix. Most of your content should fit into seven buckets: branding and identity, UI and UA, website, marketing material, brand communication, support docs, blog and social media. Not everything might be required to attract customers and drive your ROI. Other documents could be obligatory for legal reasons.

4 Translation & Localization

After you decided on your strategy, it’s time to execute on it. The process is often broken down into five steps, starting with selecting a suitable partner. You want to establish standard operating procedures, implement tools and automation as far as possible, and define and assure language quality. Finally, reporting and business intelligence needs to be in place in order to measure your success.

5 Measure Success

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are crucial to determine whether your investment yields the desired results. Some often-used KPIs would be the number of new customers acquired, the percentage of conversions on the international website, volume of traffic, or percentage of your market share in target markets.

6 Evaluation

Once you set a strategy, executed on it, and measure the impact of your localization and translation efforts, it’s time to take a step back and think of what should be next. Is your current strategy working and do you want to continue going down that path? Or maybe it’s time for another round of funding, or to look for an exit strategy?

Whatever the answers to these questions might be, Venga can help you achieve your goals. Don’t hesitate to send us your questions or get a free quote for your translation and localization project.

6 Key steps to go global