Traditional localization process

Design and localization have traditionally been at opposite ends of the product development process. Product teams often start with a mockup, then create a UI that is sent to development. The Product is launched in one market and finally, translated and launched in new markets one by one.

Benefits: 

  • Fast time to market in your source language. Localization starts after the product is launched in your core market 

Downside: 

  • Rollout to all markets can take long
  • Risk of design breaks when product is translated into other languages
  • Design might not be suitable for other markets for cultural reasons
  • Potentially high costs for identifying and fixing localization errors and adapting the product to individual markets after launch
  • Risk of bad user experience and low adoption

We recommend this flow if: 

  • Your priority is quickly launching a mvp 
  • You operate in one core market and only few other markets
  • Your markets are rather similar in terms of culture 
  • You did not struggle with design breaks and localization errors in the past

Design localization process

Benefits: 

  • Catch design breaks at an early stage of your product development process
  • Get product feedback at an early stage of your development process from linguists and/or user tests in multiple languages
  • Immediate launch in all markets is possible
  • Low risk of localization errors in your product 
  • Low risk of a bad product-market fit

Downside: 

  • Longer time to launch as localization is integrated in the product development phase

We recommend this flow if: 

  • Your priority is delivering a great UX in all markets 
  • You want to launch in multiple markets at once
  • Your markets are diverse in terms of culture 
  • You struggled with localization design breaks in the past

For more information:
Download the Cheatsheet for Designers
Learn how to set up the Sketch Plugin
Read about best practices for localizing your UI in our blog

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