Agile Localization: Best Practices and Advantages

When a person is called “agile,” it often implies he or she is quick and flexible or athletic and active. Did you know that it means something similar in the translation world?

What is agile?

Over the past decade, “agile” has become a popular and effective methodology for software development. Essentially, it’s a workflow system that involves the continuous delivery of new software and regular updates.

Program requirements are not always clearly defined up front. They can be constantly changing and being adapted as the software is developed. Decisions and execution must happen quickly. This means developers work in “sprints,” or short periods of time (often two-week cycles) and then release updated versions of the software.

With an agile workflow, there is continuous and ongoing development, testing, and evaluation. The result is a more flexible and team-oriented development process.

Agile localization and best practices

We live in a global age. More than ever before, software is needed in different languages to reach international audiences. The traditional software localization process does not keep up with agile release sprints, so “agile localization” is a methodology we often use. In fact, it’s a valuable process that can be applied to translation projects that go beyond software. It works well for websites too.

Traditional localization typically occurs when the source product (the English version) is complete. With agile localization, the process must be adapted to fit with the development sprints since updates are always being released. With experience we’ve learned several ways to optimize the agile localization process.

A few best practices include:

  • Establishing a consistent team of translators that will be involved in the localization process. The goal is to save time and money, so working with a professional and experienced translation company like InterPro, you can feel confident that your translators are familiar with the project and can identify/fix any problems before it’s too late.
  • Training and equipping the translation/localization team of translators with the purpose and principles of agile workflow. In order to achieve the best and fastest results, collaboration will be key.
  • Adjusting any localization process and tools as needed to handle and support the rapid release of content.
  • Using the first few work cycles for collecting key terms, creating definitions, and recommending improvements to the source content and style.
  • Making language consistency a priority. This will increase opportunities to reuse content and can reduce localization costs.
  • Testing the content after it’s translated. Tests help find any translation and/or functional errors.

Agile Localization Advantages

world in coffee

When implemented well, agile localization has significant advantages. It provides a more consistent and predictable flow of work, efficient and healthy collaboration between team members, faster fixing of localization issues, freedom for requirements to emerge and evolve, and increased speed-to-market.

In order to maximize these benefits, all stakeholders must work together as a unified team. Some projects are more agile than others, but we’re committed to acting as an extension of our clients’ development teams and adapting our processes to fit with any existing work cycles. Our ability to work in tandem with our client’s workflow is a key reason why many companies enjoy partnering with Interpro.

Agile localization may be a good option for global organizations that are tech-driven with quick-turn, dynamic needs for an international audience. Consider giving it a try!