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Graduate from Your Current Phase in the Localization Maturity Model

Resolutions in Translation Series

Resolution #10 (October) — Move Up

Graduate from Your Current Phase in the Localization Maturity Model

What is the LMM?

The Localization Maturity Model (LMM) allows companies to assess their current use of available localization resources and identify the most pressing areas for improvement. The LMM was based on four years of research at Common Sense Advisory with the goal of identifying “the metrics and key process areas (KPA) for graduating from one phase [of localization] to the next” (CSA 2006). The study identified five phases in the localization maturity process of companies, namely:

·         Level 1: Reactive Localization – The Ad Hocracy of International Support

·         Level 2: Repeatable Localization – The Discovery Phase

·         Level 3: Managed Localization – Stabilizing and Formalizing Process

·         Level 4: Optimized Localization – Automating Processes and Practices

·         Level 5: Transparent Localization – By Now It’s Everyone’s Job

Some companies can also have “immature” localization practices that result from ignorance or indifference to the industry. LMM identifies these levels as:

·         Level 0: Negligent

·         Level -1: Obstructive

·         Level -2: Contemptuous or Scornful

·         Level -3: Undermining or Discouraging

Why Should My Company Implement the LMM?

By using the LMM to analyze your company’s current phase in the localization process you can efficiently identify your organization’s KPAs. This will allow you to maximize ROI by incorporating the necessary attributes to streamline your localization and translation processes. No matter what level you are currently performing at, there is always room for improvement. The benefits of localization not only apply to vendors but also LSP’s, clients, and any international or cross-cultural company. Whether your business is currently at Level 1 and simply needs to start proactively initiating localization projects, or if it is already at Level 4 and is in the process of creating a localization mindset in all the employees, the LMM will provide you with tailored guidance for your specific situation.

What Are the Steps to Implementing the LMM?

1. Governance: Make sure that everything you do is recorded, tracked, and in-line with your company’s policies.

2. Strategy: Set budgets and long term goals for your company’s implementation of localization. See where your biggest and smallest markets are, what content you can leverage, and how you will do it.

3. Process: Create a specific defined localization process that your company will follow. Make sure to make copies of this process available to all of your employees.  

4. Organization: Making the information available to your employees isn’t enough. It is so important that as you implement localization processes that all employees are trained and educated on what this means for them. For example, this could include trainings on best practices, providing style guides and glossaries, and explaining this information to your employees.

5. Automation: Many Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools provide opportunities to automate the process and should be taken advantage of within your company. Management tools can also help in automation. Determine what aspects can be automated in your company at the specific time and take advantage of this resource.

What Next?

Reading this article was an excellent first step in educating yourself on the LMM. Next, research the LMM further and begin plans for its implementation in your company’s model. Every international company can be improved no matter where it is at currently. Assess your current level and begin taking the prescribed steps towards the ideal localization business model today.