World Cup diary – Localizing the product to BetRegal’s target markets, a new sportsbook created to provide its customers with the “highest possible value” in prices, is on the road to Russia for this summer’s FIFA World Cup.

In the third diary of this World Cup series, Aly Lalani is talking about overcoming an unexpected hurdle, as addressing localization based issues threatens to dominate the operator’s build up to Russia 2018.

“Isn’t localization just translating some sentences?” Would you believe I actually uttered those words to my Localization Manager? In my defence that was probably seven years ago, and I have learned a lot since then. Wherever you are Alessandra, I am sorry I didn’t get what you were trying to drum into my thick skull.

It’s kind of hard to overstate the importance of localization, quite simply because it touches (or it should touch) almost every facet of the customer facing experience. Contrary to my brilliant analysis of seven years ago, localization is far from just translating words.

In fact, the actual translation is probably the simplest part of the localization process. Now I am not going to sit here and pretend to be an expert, but I can say with certainty that there are some localization-based issues that are turning into the hurdle that I never anticipated. Addressing those issues have turned into a big priority for us.

As evidenced by last month’s ICE/LAC shows, when an operator is discussing partnerships with either vendors or potential partners, the conversation invariably comes to compliance. It’s then I can stick my chest out proudly and say is licensed through our software provider and holds licences in Curacao, Malta, UK and Denmark.

The problem is although we technically have a Denmark licence (or at least have a nice easy path to get there through our software providers licensing model), doesn’t offer a Danish language version of the site yet.

The process of localization involves so much more than just presenting a Danish translated version of the site. It would be easy for us to get a proper contextual translated version of the site. That’s a very simple process and could probably be done in a few days.

The problem is what happens when a Danish customer contacts us to ask for help? We don’t offer any Danish support. How do we promote the brand for Danish customers? Do we have any idea what competitors are doing in Denmark and the Scandinavian region? Are we even sure we know who the big players in that market are? Who are the fastest growers in terms of active players in that market? What is the mobile penetration % like in that market? Do we offer the necessary products required to convert these customers? So many questions.

Speaking of products, we are also experiencing localization challenges in our most popular market, the UK. prides itself on being a quality, localized book for our valued UK customers. In most cases, I think we do a fairly good job of that.

However, with one of the biggest racing weekends coming up, the Cheltenham Festival, we don’t feel as though our horse racing product is quite up to satisfying the needs of our UK customers. We realize that horses are a very important product to the UK market and we need to ensure we are providing a high quality, regal-type horse product.

As begins to expand our market focus, it’s becoming obvious that we need to have our European offices sorted out quickly. Establishing a European base of operations will allow us to source the required support roles necessary to say with confidence that we are ‘targeting a market’.

Localization challenges are especially problematic because most times there are no easy fixes. Some elements are surely easier than others but localization isn’t an either/or game. It’s more all or nothing. All customer touchpoints must work in unison to provide an engaging, localized customer experience or else it becomes a pointless exercise.

We have defined a ‘localization priority’ list of tasks and will now look to tackle them with some level of urgency. Why the urgency you ask? Well, I just looked at my calendar (who we kidding, I asked Siri) and realized that we are just 100 days from the start of the World Cup!

Is it just me, or is that coming awfully fast.

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