ULG's Language Services Blog

The 7 Things You Need in Your Localization Toolkit


What do all successful localization projects have in common? Proper planning.

One way to start your project off correctly is by defining your expectations with the help of a “localization kit” or checklist. Utilizing a checklist is an easy, effective way to ensure your LSP understands and carries out your vision for a project.

Localization kits aren’t quite as complicated as they might sound initially. A localization kit is simply a checklist of items that helps your LSP prioritize and make quicker decisions when turning around projects. But, without a focus on the localization side of a project, you might end up with some noteworthy failures.

What should you put on your checklist? Here are a few recommendations.

Inside the Localization Kit

Understand that this is a list that can change depending on the complexity of a given project. But, once you’ve made a localization kit, you’ll get the hang of making edits to it before you send projects off. Here are the seven basic items that should be in every localization kit.

1. Requested languages.

Define the languages and regions needed. For example: Portuguese-Brazil or Spanish-Latin America. For Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian, specify whether you prefer Latin or Cyrillic script.

2. End User Information.

Letting your LSP know who will be using the translated files will help them determine the appropriate tone for the translation. This is especially important for translations into English, where the scope can be ambiguous.

3. In-Country Review (ICR) Guidelines.

If ICR is required for your project, communicate the deadline for the review and let your LSP know who will manage the process. Make sure the person facilitating the ICR has the current contact information for each of the reviewers.

4. Desktop Publishing Requirements.

Indicate the software version and platform necessary for your project. Make sure that the software you use supports the languages you’re requesting. Communicate whether the deliverables should be multilingual or single language files.

5. Localization Basics.

Document any company- or project-specific localization requirements. There may be number, address and measurement guidelines to adhere to – conversion of measurements to metric, matching the English imperial measurements, or localizing decimal periods. Note how the LSP should treat non-trademarked acronyms and product names.

6. Software Treatment.

If your project involves software, advise if the software is already translated. If so, provide your LSP with the translated software or screenshots. If not, work with your Project Manager to determine the best software reference strategy for the translations (ex: English [Translation]).

7. Timeline Expectations.

If you have a tough deadline, be sure to specify it. As a general rule, you can note that translators can output approximately 2,500 words per business day. However, if your project is very complex, the amount of time it will take a translator to process it will be longer.

Organized Projects Are Better Projects

If you’re organized up front, the localization process will be much easier to manage. This checklist of items makes your localization kit an essential piece of the project planning puzzle. It eliminates much of the back-and-forth communication that stalls projects and raises costs when submitting a project for translation & localization. Time and money saved? That’s good for business.

For sample checklists or help creating your own checklist, contact your Account or Project Manager. ULG is more than happy to work with you to create a checklist that is functional for your specific needs.