SaaS Localization – What, Why & How To Do It

Kristina Temelkova

I am born and raised in Bulgaria, but I'm currently living in Vienna, Austria. Besides content writing, I work as a translator, video editor, and caption writer. At present, I’m also finishing my master’s degree in applied linguistics at the University of Vienna. I speak four languages: Bulgarian, English, German, and Russian.

Mar 16, 2022 | Business, Localization

Software as a service, also known as SaaS, refers to any software or application which can be accessed via the cloud. So, instead of installing and maintaining an application, you can access the service over the cloud.

SaaS is just one name for this type of service – web-based software, hosted or on-demand software – all of these terms refer to the same thing.

The way SaaS products operate is pretty simple: the SaaS software runs on a SaaS provider’s servers while the provider manages the application itself, including access, availability, security, and performance.

SaaS Industry & Its Growth

The economic, societal, and organizational impact of the pandemic has served as a catalyst for innovation, especially in this sector. Gartner forecasts that the SaaS industry will reach $482 billion in 2022, experiencing an astonishing growth of nearly 22%, compared to 2021 when it had reached $396 billion. 

SaaS Localization - What, Why & How To Do It

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Although the graph fails to present the growth of these companies in the past year, all of these companies have increased their worth significantly in the last 12 to 20 months.

 Salesforce has almost doubled its worth in less than two years – from $161 billion in January 2020 to $251 billion in September 2021.

Shopify has undergone a 225% growth in 20 months. Today, the platform is worth $185 billion. At the beginning of 2020, however, Shopify was worth only $52.1 billion.

But what made these platforms so successful?

Indeed, all these companies used to be startups that became global conglomerates due to adapting their products for new, international users.

What is SaaS Localization?

Localization is the service that can help your business go global and reach a diverse international audience. With the right tools, preparation, and partners, you can be among the top SaaS companies in the world!

In this blog, we will dive deep into SaaS localization and everything you need to know about this service.

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Why Should You Localize Your SaaS?

Yes, English is the most widely used language on the Internet. However, its popularity has been declining steadily since the turn of the century.

Today, 55% of all the content on the Internet is in English. Two decades ago, it was over 80%.

What’s more, 75% of the world population does not speak English.

SaaS Localization - What, Why & How To Do It

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So, by only offering your services in English, you cannot fulfill your full potential. Even customers, who are fluent in English, claim that they are more likely to use a product in their native language rather than in English.

Statistics support this view. According to a report, 68% of consumers are willing to switch to a different brand if it offers support in their native language. What’s more, 57% of consumers state that a brand is biased if it does not provide an end-to-end multilingual experience.

These statistics apply to websites, mobile apps, and generally any product or service. In other words, SaaS is no exception.

Indeed, localizing your SaaS product to the native languages of your target audiences will help you enter the global market and reap all its benefits.

Also Read: Translation, Transcreation, and Transliteration: What’s the difference?

How Beneficial is SaaS Localization?

SaaS localization can help your business in many aspects, here are a few:

benefits of saas localization

Effective communication

Localization is the best way to eliminate any language or cultural barrier between you and your international customers.

Localization not only includes the translation of your content, so that it is easily communicated to your customers, but also the adaptation of the content to the cultural norms of your target audience.

It means that your customers will be able to enjoy your product in their native language while granting them a seamless user experience catered specifically to their needs.

Competitive Advantage

Localizing your product shows your competitors that you take your customers’ needs and wishes seriously.

It also shows that you understand how the market works – to attract new customers, you have to ensure that their needs are satisfied.

By localizing your product, you offer your customers one incredible experience adapted to their culture and language. Indeed, this is the biggest competitive advantage you can possibly have!

Improved Customers Experience & Brand Awareness

Offering your product in the local language would significantly improve your customers’ experience!

Offering your product in the local language would significantly improve your customers’ experience! In addition, providing an end-to-end service and customer support in the language of your users, including a second phone number for local inquiries, will inevitably increase your customers’ trust in your services.

Users will be more than happy to use your services since they will be confident in your trustworthiness. And as you know, a satisfied customer is the best way to increase brand awareness.

Happy customers always share their positive experiences with their friends and family. Many are also willing to take the time to write a positive review or a comment, which will eventually reach other potential customers.

All these seemingly insignificant acts will further consolidate your good reputation both in the local and the global market.

SaaS Localization - What, Why & How To Do It

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Increase In Revenue

By localizing your product, you will increase the quality of your services and inevitably reach more international customers. With each market that you enter, your customer base will grow accordingly.

Eventually, you will enjoy an exponential increase in revenue!

SaaS Localization can bring your services to the next level while increasing your market share & profits. However, to reap all the benefits, localization should be done appropriately. Otherwise, you are likely to spend enormous amounts of money on editing and reworking the product.

 

Are YOU LOOKING FOR PROFESSIONAL SAAS LOCALIZATION SERVICES?

Milestone helps you seamlessly translate content & localize your SaaS, website, products, and services for more reach, better conversions, and greater sales.

How Can You Prepare Your SaaS Product For Localization?

SaaS localization is a costly and time-consuming process. Due to its complexity, anything could go wrong!

If you, however, are well acquainted with the most common stumbling rocks, you will save yourself plenty of time, energy, and money.

Here are some tips on overcoming some of the biggest challenges of SaaS localization that you might face on your way to the global market.

Internationalization

 Many companies rush into localization without going through the process of internationalization. It is a mistake.

Internationalization is the process whereby developers prepare a software product that can be easily adapted during localization.

This procedure does not only involve enabling different languages, but it adheres the product to different forms of data, settings, and local customs so that they are processed correctly during the localization phase.

Internationalization is essential for successful localization! Thus, make sure to plan enough time for this process before moving on to the next step – localization.

Also Read: Localization, Globalization, Internationalization: What’s the difference?

Completeness of reference materials

 Before moving on to localization, you need to ensure that your content is complete. It means that there are no missing or unfinished parts.

Otherwise, translators and linguists cannot do their job well since there won’t be enough reference materials. 

Also Read: How To Recruit The Right Translator

Text-expansion

 One of the fundamental steps of internationalization is adapting your software layout in a way that there is plenty of space for text expansion.

When translating text from English, for instance, to Russian, the text could expand up to 400%. If you have not taken this into consideration, you might have to redesign your whole design. Needless to say, this will cost you more time and money. 

SaaS Localization - What, Why & How To Do It

Also Read: Common Russian Translation Mistakes To Avoid

Right-to-left languages

 Most of the languages we know are written from left to right. However, if you want to localize your software in any right to left languages, such as Hebrew, Urdu, or Arabic, and you haven’t internationalized your layout properly, you will be facing some serious issues. 

Have a look at the Facebook website. How it changes its layout for the left-to-right language and right-to-left language 

SaaS Localization - What, Why & How To Do It

SaaS Localization - What, Why & How To Do It

Color scheme

Different colors might have divergent meanings in different cultures. For instance, red symbolizes luck and happiness in China, while in the Middle East, it is associated with caution and danger.

When designing your product, be careful what colors you use for your UI. Do your research well because redesigning your entire product for each new locale is too much work!

Also Read: Localizing Colors For Different Cultures

Images and Videos

 Localization covers every single element of your software. It includes images and video files.

Both of these are great ways to communicate information. However, video and graphic files that contain text are a no-go for localization.

Instead, you can create a layer of texts so that the content is more localization-friendly. Leaving any content, especially text, in a foreign language shows your customers that this content was not intended for them.

Adapting your images to your target audience is key. The same image may convey different messages in different cultures, so you need to localize your visuals.

Full-on localization

 Localization is a complex process, and as such, it covers every little detail of your product. This includes git-ops, chat-ops, webhooks, etc. Other aspects such as currency, date formats, and measurements are equally important and thus, should be localized.

Each of these features can significantly improve your products. So it is crucial to localize them correctly when it comes to granting your international customers an unforgettable UX.

Communication and context

 You cannot expect to receive a quality end product if you do not provide enough context for the translators to do their job well.

Introducing your product to them and expecting a localized version after a while is not realistic. . You also need to prepare style guides and glossaries that will assist translators and linguists during the localization process.

Automated processes

Save yourself the trouble of manual localization! Manual localization involves dividing the text manually into strings, which are then arranged into spreadsheets and sent to translators. After the end translations are sent back and approved, each string should be entered by developers manually into the code or the CMS.

Undoubtedly, this is a clumsy procedure, and several things could go wrong along the way. For instance, the strings might contain source codes, which in turn might confuse and mislead translators.

Automated processes, on the other hand, are more time-effective, and there is a much smaller margin of error. While machines cannot replace humans when it comes to creative tasks, such as translation and transcreation, computers are much more efficient for tedious and repetitive tasks. So, always opt for automated processes when possible.

Organization

 Plan and prepare for these challenges in advance. Ensure there is plenty of time to assess the localized product in case of any errors. Don’t rush into launching your product without testing it and being absolutely sure that there will be no problems.

To Conclude

Overall, SaaS localization is a complex process since it consists of a number of procedures operated by experts in various fields such as linguists, software vendor, developers, graphic designers, etc. Localization cannot be done by a single person – a team of experts is essential for a quality end product. Therefore, you have to find the right localization partner who will turn all your wishes into reality!

If you are a SaaS company and looking for Localization & Translation Services, Fill out the form to know more about our services, process, samples & more.  

Are YOU LOOKING FOR PROFESSIONAL SAAS LOCALIZATION SERVICES?

Milestone helps you seamlessly translate content & localize your SaaS, website, products, and services for more reach, better conversions, and greater sales.

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