Co-Localizing Content to Enrich Local Experiences

Sharing a car, an apartment, or content is now the norm. Whether for free or paid, sharing goods and services has become more than just another trend. The same is true for the globalization of digital content. The business processes underlying content globalization are subject to efforts to increase cost- and time-effectiveness, and deliver faster results. However, this poses challenges that must be framed to avoid turning distributed engagement and empowerment into fragmentation and dilution.

Similar to content co-creation, collaborative localization (aka co-localization) has to make digital globalization leaders more agile and keep them focused on getting the balance right between velocity and control. The ultimate objective should be to accelerate content deployment internationally, while maintaining accuracy and relevance locally. Therefore, co-localization should not create (more) silos and should strengthen the overall digital globalization framework. It must also be clearly defined and outlined to work around pitfalls that often come up with uncontrolled approaches, leveraging crowdsourcing as a full-scope substitute rather than a case-by-case accelerator.

Profiling co-localizers—They may be colleagues, associates, contractors, users, customers, suppliers, partners, and even influencers. Regardless of their role or background, selected co-localizers should be detail-oriented and embrace the value of local experiences through customer centricity. This implies living in the target market and speaking to local customers linguistically, culturally, and functionally—but without having to be language experts or culture gurus. Most importantly, they must participate in the localization supply chain in a natural way. Co-localizers should be able to localize content on their own or to contribute to existing projects objectively, as well as help ideate local content adaptation. Their contribution may also be focused on local content provisioning and seeding across international markets by tapping into their invaluable perspective on local relevance. The closer they are to content consumers, the better.

Co-localizing within globalizing organizations—If localization is resourced and managed mostly in-house, globalization leaders should organize co-localization based on business roles, responsibilities, and skills, as well as according to global, regional, and local levels. For example, product marketing content may be initially localized by local marketing associates prior to being refined by dedicated localization teams. Similarly, such content may be localized by these teams and subsequently go to local marketing leaders for testing and enrichment. Localization rules and guidelines are crucial to avoid conflicting views and compromised quality. Similar to content co-creation, effective co-localization must be subject to alignment and control to minimize subjectivity and preferential dependencies. Only customer preferences and aspirations matter.

Co-localizing with third parties—A number of globalizing organizations rely on external suppliers or partners to help plan, manage, and execute digital globalization and localization. It may be justified to address staffing constraints or to be more dedicated to core business priorities. It also might make sense to involve “neutral” localization resources in the process as they can share their perspectives and concentrate on objectivity. Third parties with strong local expertise and roots can make a real difference. To make co-localization happen safely, it should be well-targeted, specifically when it comes to creative and narrative content in which terms, tones, and thoughts play out. At least two collaborative steps should be incorporated in the process, first to localize the source content and then to screen localized content after internal reviews are completed. This should replace any unnecessary back and forth. The final screening should be a value-adding final touch to maintain content integrity.

In any case, co-localization requires a careful and innovative selection of resources. 

Related Articles

An announcement made the headlines just a few days ago that could help recalibrate and accelerate globalization in a sustainable way. China announced it was going to invest $124 billion in order to strengthen the new Silk Road (also know as One Belt, One Road) aiming to boost global development, trade, and cooperation.
Diversity is a key value in digital globalization. Regardless of industry--or globalization maturity stage--diversity cannot live and thrive without holistic inclusion (a major enabler of content globalization). When it comes to the mind of global leaders and performers, holistic inclusion fuels a number of aspects of global content operations ranging from processes to standards and from planning to execution. As a matter of fact, inclusion underlies success all along the way--provided it is embraced from the outset of global expansion and growth.
Like most buzzwords, "agility" has taken over during discussions regarding time, cost, and process effectiveness. It covers flexibility, scalability, capacity, and speed among other expectations. At the very least, it is useful to pinpoint characteristics that content must contain to be effective anywhere in the digital age. Agility fits nicely in any expansion plan and in any effort to shape processes to handle large amounts of content.
By employing appropriate talent in these specific roles and equipping them with the latest multilingual and translation capabilities, multinationals can actually use the digital revolution to their advantage.