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Software Localization 101: A Beginner’s Guide To Localization

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Building a successful software company takes a lot of courage and determination, and it usually entails a lot of effort as well. The possible payoff at the end of the procedure is what makes it worthwhile. However, software companies can reach clients all around the world, whether through the web or some of the most famous app stores. This means that future expansion is essentially unrestricted.

To fully capitalize on this potential, you’ll almost certainly need to adapt your software for a variety of regional markets, and the term for this is software localization. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the software localization procedure and all of its components, so let’s begin.

Why Is Localization Important?

Software localization is the process of modifying and optimizing your app for a specific language and geographical location. Although translation is an important component of this transition, you may also need to change your content to meet the needs of the target audience. Everything inside your program, as well as your support papers and marketing materials, falls under this category.

There are numerous advantages to successful software localization:

  • Users will have a higher-quality experience and post more positive reviews as a result of it.
  • More sales are driven by localized keywords and product descriptions, with 72% of customers choosing to buy in their native language.
  • Support requests will decrease as accessibility improves.

Because software development takes a lot of time and effort, it makes sense to maximize your product’s global potential.

How To Implement It?

Prepare a Plan 

Because software localization necessitates time and resources, carefully considering your options is critical. Background research can help determine which markets to concentrate on, and your tech staff should develop a roadmap for implementation.

Selecting a good platform or supplier, as well as determining which material has to be localized, should all be part of this process. Because they are knowledgeable about the process and any technical needs, using a software translating specialist is inclined to make the process go more smoothly.

Get Your Content Ready

The majority of software localization solutions require that you submit content from strings files. Some solutions can automatically detect strings, while others require you to highlight crucial passages. For that reason, you will probably need to prepare your files in any case.

Of course, strings aren’t the only thing that needs to be localized in your product. Time, dates, and currencies should all be adjusted, as should pictures, audio, and videos. For these elements, each localization service has its own workflow.

Deploy Localized Content

Which method you pick will determine how you integrate the localized material into your software. Some services will send you translated texts that your developers may need to manually insert, or you can rely on a TMS (translation management system) that lets you download a new strings file with your translated content or import your strings with its API.

QA Testing 

Testing is an important aspect of every localization project. Because professional translators aren’t infallible, it’s critical to provide some native speakers—preferably, professional QA experts—to double-check the translated information.

You must also verify that the translations are well-integrated into your existing interface. As a result, you should strive to include some on-device testing in your plan.

Common Challenges For Software Localization

There Are Lots Of Languages

Expert linguists estimate that around 7,000 languages are currently in use worldwide. When you factor in dialects and regional variations, the number quickly grows. Even for large corporations such as Microsoft and Oracle, translating software into each of these languages is unfeasible.

With these figures in mind, you should be very picky about the languages and locations you choose. Consider where you’ll receive the most bang for your buck and prioritize those areas. In general, it is preferable to cover the most common locations within a region rather than leaving half the population unattended.

Differences In Culture

Some linguistic issues are difficult to resolve, but cultural differences can also cause many issues. As you travel across borders, everything from pop culture allusions to common courtesy can shift. For that reason, a localization specialist can transform a direct translation into something that appears natural to native speakers.

Changing Your User Interface Design

Interfaces and translations do not always get along. For instance, the amount of characters in translated information is frequently different from the original. Changes like this have a propensity of disrupting specific portions of the user interface. The best way to avoid such problems is to build from the outset with localization in mind.

Final Thoughts

Localization is a highly technical field, and that’s why software localization engineers must undergo rigorous training to master the skill. The global market for software localization continues to grow, both in sheer numbers and in complexity. Software localization is about more than just translation; it’s about delivering the same service, features, and performance wherever your software is deployed.