When you're in two minds:
Which tool will help you deliver the best results?
Which tool is the best? How many tools do you need to be able to localize websites?
The search for the ultimate software seems to have no end.
Maybe your first idea was to pick one of the mainstream desktop tools, hoping that it will be the right fit for your all localization purposes.
Then, just before you decided to give yourself a pat on the back for the smart move, you noticed that your dream customers actually prefer online tools. Or they would work with you only if you have the other desktop tool that you blissfully ignored.
Does it have to be so complicated?
Is there a way to avoid confusion, disappointment and unnecessary costs when choosing your perfect localization tool?
Before you decide on any purchase or subscribe to any tool, consider these handy tips:
1. Don’t be a fool when choosing a tool
With so many tools on the market, it’s easy to get confused. Should you go for Memoq or SDL Trados Studio? Is it better to subscribe to Crowdin, Transifex or Lokalise? Or maybe the best idea is to stick to free tools such as Smartcat?
Don’t be misled by marketing, promotions or trends among other translators. Your requirements and your work style might be different.
What you really need is a tool that supports the most common file formats used in localization such as html, xml, php, strings, json or xliff. Easy user-interface and many handy features such as quick live preview, efficient concordance search or great project configuration options are only bonuses that may or may not decide about your final choice.
That’s why you need to start your decision process from defining your needs and requirements.
2. Ask and you’ll be given
When in doubt, don’t be afraid to fire a simple question. Talk to your colleagues who also localize websites, read tool reviews on social media or other platforms, and try to find out what are the pros and cons.
Don’t forget that you can test nearly every localization tool available on the market: as a trial version for a limited period or as a demo version with limited features. Take advantage of this free access. Analyze the potential of the tool and find out if it suits your needs.
3. Prioritize how they localize
Although you’re choosing a tool for yourself and for your own purposes, you can’t ignore your clients’ needs. After all, you’ll be localizing their content.
If you work (or plan to work) mainly with direct customers, you’ll have more freedom. In most cases, you’ll be able to decide about your workflow and tools. Your customers probably won’t care how you localize as long as the end product is perfect.
If you work (or plan to work) with localization agencies as well, you’ll need to find out what are their preferences. Some localization and translation companies use Memoq to collaborate with translators, some will send you a Trados package to work on, and some will assign you to a localization project on Lokalise, Crowdin or XML.
In the case of online tools, you don’t have to worry about the license – you’ll simply work in a tool selected by your client who purchased the product. Your main headache will be probably related to desktop applications, because you’ll need to invest in the tool first (and in the future upgrades).
That’s why it’s wise to talk to your current or potential clients to find out how they collaborate with translators. The way they carry out their website localization projects will affect your work and tool choice as well.
Now, next time you feel like adding a new tool to your repository, you’ll know where to start!
P.S. If you want to see all these tools in action and find out how to use them, have a look at my online localization courses.