Translation

What is Software Localization?

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Expand your software’s reach and attract countless new customers by localizing your software to suit new regions. The software market is expected to reach about $507.2 billion in 2021. So the ideal time to localize is now.

Software Localization Explained

Software localization is the process of adapting a software product to meet the cultural, linguistic, and technical needs of a target market. It is important to note that localization is different from translation. Think about it this way: Translation converts text from one language to another, while localization transforms the entire software product to fit the target region.

Localization addresses specific aspects of languages and regions, including:

  • Ensuring that all accounting and financial standards are met, including payment methods, currency conversion, and tax information.
  • Producing translations that are 100% accurate. There is no room for error in your software localization project.
  • Formatting the layout to accommodate for different languages.
  • Making certain that all design elements are culturally appropriate.
  • Confirming that additional elements are localized, including calendars, dates, times, address formats, and measuring units.
  • Paying attention to spelling and phrasing, such as the variations between Spanish words and phrases in Spain and Argentina.

The Software Localization Process

The software localization process includes several steps, which can be achieved by partnering with a language services provider (LSP). Top-notch software localizations begin with internationalization, which is the process of developing a software application so that it can be efficiently adapted to several regions and languages without significant modifications.

The overall process includes the following actions:

  • Analyze the software and supporting materials and evaluate the tools and resources that will be required for localization; in addition, assess the technical, linguistic, and cultural needs of the project.
  • Develop external resource files, instead of embedding text that will be visible to users in the software’s code. This involves designing your application to include individual files for each language, so they can be easily imported and exported without affecting the rest of the code.
  • Ensure that you have adequate space for various languages, since different languages have their own space requirements. For example, Hebrew requires 40% to 50% less space than English, whereas Finnish could need 60% more. Additionally, Chinese requires vertical space, while Arabic and Hebrew read from right to left.
  • Create an information library for each region you plan to target. This library would include a glossary of terms, as well as the region’s unique elements, including dates, times, currency, and numbers. Rather than hard-coding these features, you can store them in the library in an ISO format, which will help translators decide which format is related to a particular language.
  • Establish a style guide that includes product names and terminology, the tone that should be used, and other pertinent information that requires consistency.
  • Translate the software content to the target language and import your translated files into your application code structure. During the translation process, it is important to work with an LSP whose translators are native speakers of both the source and target languages.
  • Localize scripts, graphics, and other media where contain any symbols, icons or text. Numerous symbols do not resonate in other countries, so it is especially important to select icons that are identifiable in your target market.
  • Test, retest, and implement quality assurance measures. Software localization is detail-oriented, so regular testing will help guarantee that your software has a successful launch. Quality assurance includes checking for errors in functionality and coding, along with focusing on grammatical mistakes, inconsistencies, cultural insensitivities, and any other issues with the localization.

If your software has been properly localized, then your product will have a similar look and feel as the original program. Overall, a successful localization means the user experience will be seamless in all of your target languages.

If you are uncertain about localizing your software, consider this: The global enterprise software market is anticipated to increase to $634 billion by 2023. As the software industry continues to grow, take advantage of the opportunity to increase revenues, reach new customers, and gain a competitive advantage by localizing your software.

Summary

To bring your software to a new market and reach countless new customers, opt for software localization.

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