An agile approach to localisation for better website performance

Friday January 5, 2018 - Posted by:

These past few years, the term ‘Agile’ has become as predominant as obscure. Agile is not a tool per se, but a set of practices defined by common principles: team collaboration, quick adaptation and continual testing and learning. This approach can be applied to different industries, projects and environments. Yes, you could even live an Agile life.

 1. What’s the fuss about Agile?

The Agile method rejects rigid structures to allow more flexibility throughout different project phases.

It reduces costs and delays: using shorter cycles diminishes the risk of failure. Product owners can identify flaws early enough to avoid long-term impact and adjust to make the end-product viable. Customer satisfaction also becomes a priority, with instant feedback being at heart.

For all the above reasons, Agile proves to be very helpful to tackle website localisation and quickly adapt and react to constantly evolving languages, translation technologies and content channels. Localisation tasks can be managed as Agile tasks on an Agile board, moving through ‘to do’, ‘in progress’ and ‘done’ stages and being reprioritised in a continuous fashion.


2. Are you globally ready?

There are a couple of initial steps to take to allow an Agile approach to website localisation and avoid common pitfalls:

  • Make sure your proprietary or third-party technology allows scalability into multiple languages
  • Schedule post functional and language testing to make sure the site structure will cater for new languages, from a UX but also cultural perspective
  • Reduce time spent on exporting/importing content, by automating workflows. The time saved on BAU tasks and resources will make it up for the time invested in development


3. The SLAs are dead, long live the SLAs

At Locaria, we developed our own Agile project management tool, to give the client total visibility. This means SLAs for day-to-day work is a moot point, because projects can easily be prioritised or put on hold. There are a range of off-the-shelves technologies available, Trello and Asana being some of the most well-known project management tools on the market, so you can easily implement this process in your workflow.

The main benefits:

  • Central view on global activity
  • Transparency given on progress
  • Manages deadlines & ETAs
  • Encourages flexibility & change


4. Fail fast, learn fast

Can you avoid launching a poorly performing website after months of preparation – a website that does not allow the user to perform essential tasks, with little search engine visibility and a lack of cultural understanding?

  • Prioritise markets, languages and pages. Some languages are widely used on the Internet; however, we see stronger conversion rates in smaller, though English-proficient, markets
  • Forget about perfection, define second-best. Do not wait to launch and lose conversions, list the minimum and essential requirements – features, payments options, high traffic pages localised – your website should meet before going live
  • Define how stakeholders’ feedback will be integrated at an early stage. Ask for feedback too late and you might need to re-translate the content from scratch. Not a happy thought
  • Schedule content performance tests to integrate learnings and identify quick wins: A/B testing of CTAs, homepages designs, customer emails, etc.


5. Time to breathe

Not everything needs to go fast. Putting enough time in certain aspects of the localisation workflow is essential:

  • Work with service providers who developed strong connections with their linguists. A pool of dedicated and trained linguists will help you to get the brand tone of voice right across the different channels
  • Plan and provide visibility on high activity periods to your service providers. For instance, retailers in EMEA markets experience a higher volume of work during the three months preceding Christmas.


Applying the Agile principles to website localisation allows scalability, from a technical and linguistic perspective, but also fluidity between a global view on brand identity and local content strategies.

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