The best localization tool

How to choose the right localization tool?

The best localization tool doesn’t exist.

But you can easily find the tool that works best for you.

With so many options available on the market, making the right decision may feel like a daunting task. So, before you embark on the quest for your ideal tool, consider the steps below.


1. Understand your needs

To find the tool that works best for you, you need to know what you’re looking for. What features are non-negotiable in your localization tool? Consider the file formats you currently work with and those you might localize in the future. Are you searching for a solution that will handle localization formats only or are you planning to use your tool for traditional documents such as Word or PDF as well?

Your workflow preferences play a key role here. For example, you might prefer a cloud-based environment accessible from any device, or perhaps you’d rather work on a desktop application.

Your needs and work scenarios are unique, so take them into account before you hit that magic “Buy” button.


2. See beyond the hype

Don’t be misled by marketing, promotions, or trends among your colleagues. With so many tools popping like mushrooms after a rain, it’s easy to lose sight of what truly matters—your requirements. Do not let discounts and peer recommendations dictate your choice.

Before picking a tool that is deemed to be “industry standard” explore other solutions as well. Analyze software such as Lokalise, Crowdin, Phrase, Smartcat, Transifex, Localazy, Memoq, SDL Trados Studio, or Matecat. Test both mainstream and those less popular solutions.

In this way, you’ll be able to see beyond the hype and focus on tools that align with your working style, requirements, and preferences.


3. Test before you invest

Almost every localization tool offers a demo or trial version. Take advantage of the free access to fully discover the tool’s potential. Test the waters before diving in.

Experiment with various scenarios to make sure the tool will support your current and future needs. Watch tutorials, if available, to decide whether the tool is easy to use and meets your requirements.

Remember to consider the financial aspects as well. Compare different pricing models from one-time payments to annual subscriptions and choose a tool that suits your budget.


4. Consider your clients

Your choice may also be influenced by the preferences of those you serve. The way your clients work on localization projects will affect your workflow and your selection of tools.

Localization agencies often have predefined tool requirements, while direct clients may offer more flexibility. This does not limit your choice to one tool only.

In my twelve years as an independent translator and localizer, I’ve had the privilege of exploring nearly every localization tool the market has to offer. Although I have my personal Top Three, I regularly use seven additional tools to meet the varied needs of my clients.

You can create your versatile tool repertoire as well. In this way, you’ll be ready to mix and match tools based on both your preferences and those of your clients.


Final thoughts

The journey to finding the right localization tool doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

All you need is to analyze your work style, your needs, preferences, and your client’s requirements to make the right choice.

Plus, once you familiarize yourself with several tools, you’ll be always prepared for different work scenarios, no matter what your next project or your next client will throw at you.


P.S. Are you ready to explore the world of handy localization tools? Join my online course on localization tools to sharpen your skills and unlock new opportunities. Sign up now and discover your perfect localization tool.


Dorota helps digital brands infuse their content with a local touch. She is a localization consultant, translator specialized in IT, prompt engineer, and a book author. Dorota teaches online courses on localization, writes for her blog and a Medium publication. She also runs a Small Biz AI, a Substack newsletter for freelancers and small business owners ready to discover handy AI tools.