How to Create a Localization KPI Ecosystem

5 May 2021

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Today, we take a look at KPI ecosystem importance and KPI examples for localization
how-to-create-localization-KPI-ecosystem

Key performance indicators (KPIs) for localization have been a topic of endless debate for a long time. Localization teams the world over have not only struggled to create such metrics but to measure and track them consistently. One difficulty in the day-to-day life of many language industry professionals is the all-too-familiar "this translation sounds weird" feedback. The truth is that such feedback does not give a clear indication of the quality of a piece of translated content since it is neither actionable feedback nor a valid metric. It’s vital, then, that we as language professionals create a better set of indicators to more clearly assess the linguistic quality of localized content and the efficiency of an organization's localization program.

KPIs are a set of data points, used to indicate whether goals are being met or progress is being made toward an objective.

Despite a number of attempts over the years to standardize metrics — Lisa, TAUS, DQF to name but a few — the truth is that the KPIs used in the localization industry do have room for improvement.

Why KPIs are important

Here are just a few of the reasons why KPIs are necessary to efficiently manage localization activities: 

  1. They allow for predictability. You can use that predictability to work on future budgets. Localization KPIs can help you close the gap between goals and results. 
  2. They help you identify weak points in your localization strategy. 
  3. They help you uncover new opportunities. For example, if you track language revenue and track different countries, you can eventually identify untapped markets or markets where you might want to consider discontinuing localization support.

So why do so many teams suffer when it comes to creating a functioning KPI ecosystem given that KPIs are such an essential as part of the localization strategy, especially when it comes to determining the value-add of localization?

Quite often the hemming and hawing around developing such metrics stems from not having a very clear understanding of how to approach the task at hand.

The infographic below, along with the list of recommendations that follows, are a great first step toward developing a full-fledged KPI-driven strategy.

creating-localization-KPI-ecosystem

10 KPI examples to kick off your localization program

There are a great number of metrics and factors you can measure within your localization program. The truth is, however, that there is no standard set of metrics that consistently works for all localization teams, as these vary depending on the objectives of each organization. Nonetheless, the following metrics are a good starting point to help guide you in creating your localization KPIs:

  1. Percentage of on-time deliveries
  2. Speed and throughput of translation
  3. Total localization costs relative to revenue
  4. Customer acquisition cost
  5. Number of deadline extension request from your vendors
  6. Customer satisfaction (Net Promoter Score)
  7. Project management satisfaction
  8. Number of translation errors and/or LQA bugs
  9. Number of customer complaints
  10. Revenue per translation project per project manager

Never stop improving your strategy! Localization metrics and KPIs help you identify ways to improve your process, reduce time to market, and improve quality! Following the recommendations shared in this post will eventually result in clear, actionable data points you can leverage to promote the critical role localization teams have in reaching your organization's overall (and global) goals.

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