Years ago, I managed documentation projects for a group within a major multinational corporation. All of our documents (and web content) were localized into Chinese, Portuguese, and Russian.
We had the Russian and Chinese done by an agency, but the Portuguese was done by a team member in Brazil: a person who I found to be very articulate, intelligent, and talented. Many months into the project, a user from Brazil contacted us to point out several serious issues with the Portuguese content. I sent a few of our Portuguese docs to our agency to have it checked, and they said that the localization had been very poorly done — that the writing seemed very stilted and poorly translated. Of course I would never have known if nobody had alerted us!
Moral of the story
I learned two things from this experience:
1. Just because a person is articulate, it doesn’t mean they automatically possess the skill to be good at localizing content.
2. No matter who does your localization (even a professional agency), you should periodically have it checked out by a different person just to be sure.
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