A CFOs View to Localization
This article has been updated and moved
to a new location.
Localization from a CFOs point of view is a product development
investment that allows you to sell a product to the global markets.
The question whether or not to localize a product is determined
by the ROI (or the NPV) of the investment.
There are several key factors influencing the ROI equation:
- Initial investment
- Time to market
- Acceptance at the target markets and
- Recurring costs
- Transaction costs
The initial investment typically includes the initial translation
of the software, user manuals and online-help. It also includes
the cost of adapting the products software architecture. Please
see the FAQ
for more details.
Options to reduce the initial investment include the partial translation
of product documentation and the translation with lower quality.
Time to Market
Sometimes time is a more critical variable then cost, because of
oportunities that may get lost to competitors. The most important
factor that determines the project durantion is the amount of text
to be translated. Also, the integration of marketing and sales with
product development can consume time, because I18N projects include
important learning processes of all participants.
Options to improve the time to market include the use of large
teams of translators equiped with Translation
Acceptance at the Target Markets
Some target markets are extremely demanding in terms of the adaptation
of jargon and cultural conventions. I have heard from several projects
with acceptance issues in Japan and Germany.
In general it is necessary to present a consitent and flawless appearance
to the clients in each country, synchronizing the activities in:
- Marketing material
This may include the identification and adaptation to culture
specific needs different from the US.
- Product packaging translation
- Product localization
- Product documentation translation
There are several optimization techniques to reduce the recurring
costs of localization and related services during the lifetime of
your product. Please see the CTOs
View to Localization article for details.