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Understanding the Gap: Identifying “Should Be” vs. “Is” – Problems in SaaS Localization

Welcome to our first out of three Beluga blog series where we tackle the topic: SaaS Localization and its challenges. As localization managers in SaaS services, we play the critical role in ensuring a seamless user experience across different languages, regions, and platforms. To achieve this, it's essential to identify and address the gaps between what should be in the localization process and what actually is.

In this first article, we will delve into the importance of distinguishing between “Should Be” and “Is” problems in SaaS Localization, how this impacts your overall localization strategy and, most importantly, how to overcome these challenges.

Understanding the Gap: “Should Be” vs. “Is” Problems. When it comes to SaaS Localization, there is often a disparity between an ideal scenario (“Should Be”) and the actual situation (“Is”). “Should Be” refers to what the localization process and outcomes should ideally be like, while “Is” represents the current state of affairs. As a localization manager, identifying this gap is crucial because it allows you to pinpoint specific issues to later overcome with a plan of action.

Why Identifying the Gap Matters:

  • Enhancing User Experience: By identifying the “Should Be” vs “Is” gaps, we can improve the user experience for our global customer base. Addressing these gaps ensures that localized versions of SaaS services are as user-friendly, culturally appropriate, and intuitive as the original versions.

  • Mitigating Risks and Losses: Localization errors can lead to negative user experiences and misunderstandings and, in worst cases, potentially impact business reputation and revenue. Identifying and rectifying these gaps early helps us mitigate risks and potential losses associated with inadequate localization.

  • Optimizing Localization Efforts: Understanding these gaps allows us to optimize localization strategies and allocate resources more effectively. By identifying and addressing specific areas where the “Is” falls short of the "Should Be," we can prioritize improvements and streamline the localization process.

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Examples of “Should Be” vs. “Is” Problems:

  • Inadequate Language Support:
    • Should Be: The SaaS service should provide comprehensive language support to cater to a global user base. 
      • An example could be a SaaS company that sees a significant increase in international user adoption, with a diverse user base from various regions around the world.
    • Is: The SaaS service currently supports only a limited number of languages, hindering its usability for non-English-speaking users. 
      • Take as an example an eCommerce platform that only supports English and Spanish, making it challenging for non-English and non-Spanish speakers to use the platform effectively.
  • Inconsistent Translation Quality:
    • Should Be: The SaaS service must prioritize achieving uniform and precise translations across all the languages it supports. 
      • An eCommerce platform that uses “Add to Cart” across all English versions. This ensures that users in both the UK and the US understand the action they need to take without any confusion.
    • Is: The fluctuation in translation quality is causing confusion and misinterpretation among users from different regions.
      • A travel booking platform translates “Departure Time” as “Hora de Partida” in Spanish for users in Spain but uses “Hora de Salida” for users in Latin America. This inconsistency can lead to travelers booking flights at the wrong time.
  • Lack of Cultural Adaptation:
    • Should Be: The SaaS service should adapt its content and interface to align with cultural norms, preferences, and style in different regions.
      • For example in France, where formality matters, the platform adapts polite language and adheres to local etiquette.
    • Is: The SaaS service neglects cultural differences, resulting in content and design elements that are irrelevant or can be offensive to users from various cultural backgrounds.
      • A marketing campaign that doesn't incorporate localized emojis can lead to misunderstandings, as not all emojis hold the same meaning worldwide. 

Overcoming the Gap – Strategies for Improvement:

  • Conducting Comprehensive Localization Audits: Perform regular audits to identify gaps between “Should Be” and “Is” in your localization process. This includes evaluating language coverage, translation quality, cultural adaptation, and user feedback.
  • Engaging a Dedicated Language Service Provider (LSP): Collaborate with an experienced LSP that specializes in SaaS Localization. Their expertise can help identify and bridge the gaps effectively, leveraging their linguistic knowledge, cultural insights, and advanced localization technologies.
  • Implementing Robust Quality Assurance Processes: Establish strict quality assurance processes, including linguistic and functional testing. This ensures that the localized versions meet the highest standards of accuracy, consistency, and usability.
  • Soliciting User Feedback: Actively engage your users to gather feedback and insights on their experience with the localized SaaS service. This feedback can help identify areas for improvement and shorten the gap between “Should Be” and "Is."

In conclusion, keeping a proactive strategy to recognize and address the “Should Be” vs. the “Is” challenges in SaaS Localization, can be the crucial turning point for providing a top-notch user experience and avoiding any potential risks. By implementing or adapting the strategies outlined above, you can enhance your localization efforts and ensure your SaaS service resonates positively with a global audience. 

This article was co-created with the artificial intelligence of ChatGPT, demonstrating that harmony between human creativity and technology can produce spectacular content. At Beluga, we humanize technology and use it to empower us, not to replace us.

Continue reading the next article of the series: