The extended product experience: what it is and what it means for localization


In an increasingly connected and digitized world, the product experience has evolved. Our experience with physical products is now frequently influenced by a digital experience, delivered through a software interface or companion application. And parts of the customer journey that could previously be seen as separate from the product itself, such as post-purchase marketing and sales, as well as upstream support and training, are now often seen as doing. part of the extended product experience.

All of this can have implications for the localization process in terms of scope, volume and, most importantly, consistency.

Where does the product start and end?

In a connected world, products have blurred outlines. Where product localization once focused almost entirely on the product itself, its packaging and essential documentation, now there are rings of content radiating from this core product experience, which should ideally be localized in an offering. homogeneous.


This erosion of the traditional contours of products is largely due to digitization. For physical products, there is increasingly a convergence with the digital world through connected digital user interfaces or companion applications. As an integral part of the overall product experience, these should be localized with the same care and consistency as the traditional elements of the product experience.

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In addition, whether it is a physical or digital product, customers are increasingly looking for online content related to the product, from demos and how-to videos to online FAQs, knowledge bases, interactive wizards and modules. online learning.

This change in product-related content, from a physical to a digital format, is not new, but it goes beyond a simple change of format for user guides or a change in the providing help in software. In many cases, this signals a fundamental blurring of the lines between the product and what happens before and after its purchase.

When the research and purchase of a product takes place online, the product arguably “begins” with its online marketing presence. This is especially true for Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings. Likewise, if users of a product do not distinguish between “product documentation” and “support documentation” – and can expect to find them in the same place – then the support content is an integral part. product experience.

As software developers, we ourselves are experiencing this expansion of the product experience. Rares Vasilescu, vice president of software engineering at RWS, sees it in the expansion of his product development role: “My role has definitely evolved to reflect new customer expectations. Their experience with my product begins with what they come across online once they’re interested enough to understand how it works. So I now share the responsibility for this with marketing. Even if it wasn’t, I would like to make sure that customers see how their expectations match the product for which I am responsible.

How does this impact localization?

For LSPs and internal company localization teams, this means one of two things. Either you will be faced with new expectations for a wider range of content to localize. Or there is an opportunity to add value by raising awareness of the need for a more cohesive localization approach across different types of content, and how you can help your customers or internal customers deliver a better end customer experience as they go. that they go global with their products.

Either way, you should be able to handle this extension of the range. If you’re not ready for efficient localization of a variety of ‘non-traditional’ content types (video, voice assistants, or AR / VR content, for example), now is the time to think about expanding your skills or expanding your skills. partner with a language service provider. who has them. And if the translation management tools you use can’t give your project teams the scalability and versatility to handle larger volumes of documents as well as various types of content, now is the time to consider. invest in new technology or create a more automated ending. end-to-end workflows with what you have.

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One of the most important and familiar implications of the broader product experience is the growing need for more efficient management of language assets (TMs, termbases, TMs) to ensure consistency across the many content types and points of reference. contact that users of the product will encounter. However you organize these assets, it’s about time you could assign them to projects in a more sophisticated way than is possible with the standard “bundling” features of traditional TMS.

A useful emerging tool is the translation engine that we have integrated with our TMS project management and translation technologies. This allows you to bring together any number of TMs, termbases, and machine translation services into one persistent group of assets to be assigned to different translation projects and environments. It allows you to give each asset a different weight and determine the order of preference over each other. It allows you to specify that one TM should be reserved for search and another should be updated.

So, for example, if it makes sense to have a TM for support content separate from software TM, but you want to leverage the work done on software localization for support content, then this makes sense. easy to do via a translation engine – as well as ensuring that approved brand terms and other terminologies are followed and that your choice of MT engines is used. All through an easy-to-configure language resource management tool.

Take the chance

The extended product experience challenges localization teams to pull together to handle larger volumes and diversity of content, and to work smarter to maintain consistency. For those just getting started, this is a great opportunity – every business that wants to launch a product internationally will need to tackle its localization, and should do so throughout the extended product experience.

If you would like to explore this opportunity with product management or development teams, our ebook, Four principles for successful product globalization, will help you do that. It discusses the broader product experience among other localization challenges, and explains why product teams need to take localization seriously.

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