How to Improve Cloud-Based Services with Localization
Given that cloud-based computing services and localization are geared toward making content more accessible to a variety of users, it’s surprising that these two sectors don’t converge more. So, how can localization help improve cloud-based services, and what’s the connection between the two?
Many characteristics connect cloud-based services and localization services. First, accessibility makes these natural allies since both can be accessed from anywhere in the world with connectivity. The ability to reach anyone anywhere makes cloud-based computing ideal for delivering localized content and services to non-English-speaking regions.
Secondly, both sectors are fundamentally dependent on scalability to operate successfully. Cloud-based and localization services require agility and the ability to respond quickly to increased demand, either with technology or additional multilingual resources located in different geographies.
Additionally, cloud-based services and localization have a healthy relationship with security. Regulatory requirements for different regions — the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy standard is a well-known example — can benefit from the security protocols implemented to help organizations comply with these legal mandates while maintaining operational agility.
Cloud-Based Services: A Primer
Before we explore how localization improves cloud-based services, let’s examine how these services work. Cloud-based services range from complete applications and development platforms to virtual desktops, services, and storage, among other applications.
The industry is commonly divided into three categories:
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): Most people are familiar with this model, where software runs on computers or networks owned and managed by the SaaS company. Users access software using the Internet and typically pay by subscription, like Microsoft Office 365.
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): IaaS provides users with virtual computing resources such as storage, networking, and cloud security over the Internet. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a leading example of this model.
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): PaaS allows developers to build, deploy, and manage applications, operating systems, and other structures without the burden of managing the underlying backend. Google App Engine and Windows Azure are examples of PaaS.
Cloud-based services tend to share some common features, including:
- Virtualization: The practice of engaging multiple virtual machines (VMs) or distributed virtual networks within the cloud. This enables resources to be allocated quickly, which is essential when working with machine translation.
- Multi-tenancy: As referenced above, resources are shared to achieve operational efficiencies and economies of scale.
- Network-accessed and On Demand: Software, content, or other resources are accessed via a networked device like a computer or smartphone, and users self-select services from pre-defined configurations.
What Happens During Localization?
Localization involves a lot more than just translation. In localization, products, content, or services are adapted with nuance beyond word choices and can encompass design, functionality, and cultural relevancy. The goal is for the localized content to feel like it was created especially for each market in that language – not translated.
It’s a complex process, but localization generally includes:
- Translating content into local languages, ensuring accuracy and cultural fit
- Identifying content that needs to be localized, including text, images, and videos
- Adapting user experience elements to meet local expectations
- Adjusting numerical data such as date/time formats and currencies to reflect local conventions
- Ensuring that products comply with local regulations, including data protection and privacy requirements
How much a cloud-based service needs to be altered, adapted, or redesigned depends on each target market’s language, cultural norms, and regulations. These factors can be addressed by strategically researching and preparing a localization strategy.
How to Improve Cloud-Based Services with Localization
Now that we have a better understanding of the relationship between cloud-based services and localization, we can explore how localization ensures that these services are tailored to users’ specific needs and preferences in different regions and languages. There are multiple ways localization services can help.
Expand Reach with Multilingual User Interfaces
The numbers don’t lie. According to CSA Research:
- 40% of consumers will not buy products or services presented in other languages
- 65% of consumers prefer content in their native language, even if it’s poor quality
- 74% want product reviews in their language even when additional content isn’t localized
Cloud-based service providers who only offer their products, services, or content in a single language are missing out on potential buyers.
A common thread is that cloud-based services have user interfaces that can be complex to adapt. Localization providers are professionals at translating, adapting, and redesigning as necessary, making these interfaces easier for global users to navigate, understand, and use. A broader user base leads to increased adoption and, eventually, a bigger bottom line.
Improve User Experience, Brand Trust, and Engagement
A strategy to expand into a new region can pay enormous dividends if the effort is planned and appropriately resourced. Remember that adequately serving global audiences isn’t just about localizing a single product, service, or piece of content. Localizing your cloud-based service should also include adapting your website, support content, and marketing campaigns.
As your offering becomes more familiar, it will be easier to educate potential customers about its features and benefits and introduce your brand. A fully localized customer journey from discovery through user engagement and conversion can give a well-resourced company a competitive advantage. Users are more likely to buy a product or service that speaks their language, respects their culture, and complies with local regulations.
Remember, differentiation itself is a competitive advantage. Localization not only broadens your customer base but also changes the way you present your cloud-based services to customers. This can lead to an increase in web traffic and engagement, improved search engine results, and higher sales conversions.
Stay on the Right Side of Local Laws and Compliance Regulations
Companies accustomed to the relative ease of selling in their home country quickly learn that global regulations and legal requirements for data storage, privacy, and security can be quite complex.
The practice of data residency is worth noting — the storage of personal information within a particular region where that data is processed in adherence to the laws, customs, and regulations of that country or region.
Security and the storage of personal information combined with cultural differences between acceptable use of that information can quickly become problematic. Localization services are the most trustworthy and direct way to ensure that a cloud-based computing service complies with local laws and regulations in each target market, reducing the risk of legal issues.
One result of adhering to local norms is the need to tailor your product, service, or content to specific regional preferences. In addition to complying with laws, adaptations such as currencies, payment methods, date formats, communication methods, and units of measurement can all improve the user experience.
When users feel that cloud-based services are tailored to their needs, trust grows, and they are more likely to use it. This tailoring can lead to better user retention, higher satisfaction, and better word-of-mouth, referrals, and reviews.
Multilingual Support Improves Customer Satisfaction and Reduces Costs
Providing customer support in the time zone and language that your organization is selling in can provide multiple benefits. Resolving user issues and inquiries promptly and efficiently and in a manner where customers feel comfortable can boost brands in ways marketing can’t reach.
Localization of support materials not only leads to more efficient customer support and problem resolution, but chatbots, FAQs, and web demos in multiple languages can lead to lower costs for customer support.
How Vistatec Can Help
The complexity of managing cloud-based services, combined with the nuances of localization, can make it challenging to know how to get started. Now that you know about the benefits that integrated localization solutions can provide to cloud-based service companies, finding a trustworthy partner is essential.
While there are many advantages to adopting localization at the strategic level, investing in localization is a critical way to support the growth of cloud-based services. Achieving global scalability while gaining a competitive advantage through unique user data insights and improved user engagement is a sensible and achievable way for your company to grow.
Want to learn more about how Vistatec can improve your cloud-based services with localization? Contact us today.