Software Localization Explained

Software Development Management - MAR 2023
Alexander Lim
Founder & CEO of Cudy Technologies
Alexander Lim, Founder and CEO of Cudy Technologies, is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in the tech industry. He has founded numerous startups and possesses a deep understanding of the software development life cycle process.
Software Localization Explained

Are you looking to localize a software application for a different language market? Did you know that selecting the wrong localization company is one of the biggest mistakes businesses make in such scenarios?

The demand for software development over the last ten years has been reflected in the growth of the language market, evidenced by a CAGR of 7.7% from 2009 to 2019. As the demand for software localization services continues to grow, choosing the right company for your project is essential.

The software localization process involves translating software, its components, and user interfaces so that the application can be used in other language markets. A professional and experienced localization company must be chosen for this process, as it can make or break your product's global success.

Selecting the right software localization company can take time and effort. This article will provide tips for choosing a localization provider who can meet your expectations and deliver satisfactory results on time.

What is Software Localization?

Software localization is the process that involves translating text, adjusting page layout and design elements, adapting applications to different languages, and more. Hiring the right software localization company can be complicated, with many things to consider. Experts from TechNavio predict that the language service market will increase by $20.8B in the next five years, highlighting software localization's rising significance for businesses.

With software becoming an integral part of day-to-day life, efficient localization has become necessary for businesses that want to expand their reach and tap into new markets. Most software products are developed in English or other major languages and must use software translation for different language markets.

Let's Start With Software Internalization

Internationalization makes software applications compatible with different languages, cultures, and regions. This involves designing the application to be easily localized for other language markets. It includes tasks such as separating content from code and creating a flexible user interface.

Software localization is the actual translation of the software into other languages. It also involves adapting the user interface from the source language, adjusting page layout and design elements, and more.

Why is Software Localization Important?

Software localization is crucial to businesses because it allows them to tap into new markets and expand their reach. It also helps them gain a competitive edge in the global market.

Businesses strive to optimize the user experience (CX) by providing localized content. Localization helps foster customer trust and loyalty by giving them access to content tailored specifically to their language and culture.

A recent found that, despite potential inaccuracies, 65% of consumers prefer viewing product and service content in their native language, while around 70% rely on online machine translation for product reviews.

Good-quality translation is vital for customers to purchase a product or service in their language, making software localization essential for businesses hoping to increase their reach and expand into new markets.

How to Choose the Right Software Localization Company?

Expanding into new markets and tapping into a global customer base is a major goal for many businesses. However, choosing the right software localization company can make or break your efforts to localize your product for a new language market.

Here are some best practices to help you choose the right software localization company for your business:

Identify Your Needs and Goals

It's important to identify your needs and goals before searching for a software localization provider. This involves asking yourself key questions, such as:

  • Which international users do you want to target?
  • What type of software are you localizing?
  • How quickly do you need the project completed?

For example, if you're localizing a mobile app, you may want to take into account device compatibility and user experience factors. By determining the project's scope and desired outcomes, you narrow down your search for the right software localization provider.

Research and Compare Providers

After determining your needs and goals, the next step is to research potential software localization providers. Look for companies that specialize in software localization and have experience with similar projects. Check out their portfolio to get an idea of their capabilities.

Moreover, comparing rates and services offered by different providers is crucial. Don't forget to read the fine print and ask questions to ensure you receive the best value for your investment.

Check References and Portfolio of Work

It's always a good idea to check references before hiring a software localization provider. Ask for references from past clients and contact them to get an idea of their experience with the company. This will give you an insight into their work and customer service quality.

You should also look at the company's portfolio to get an idea of its capabilities and the projects they have worked on in the past.

Research Their Rates and Cost-Benefit Analysis

When selecting a software localization provider, it's essential to research their rates and compare them with those of other providers. Make sure to estimate the project's total cost before signing any contracts.

Analyzing the cost-benefit ratio is a critical step in determining whether the investment is worth it. It's essential to consider factors such as time efficiency, revenue increase, and customer approval to make an informed decision.

Look for Quality Assurance

When searching for a software localization company, it's crucial to find one that offers quality assurance services. Quality assurance is  a vital component of software localization, as it guarantees that the translated software meets the highest standards of accuracy and usability.

A reputable software localization provider should have a team of skilled linguists and engineers who can review the localized software and identify any potential issues, providing valuable feedback for improvement.

Establish Clear Communication During the Project

Once you've chosen a software localization provider, remember to establish clear lines of communication during the project.

Provide detailed instructions and expectations to ensure the project is completed on time and within budget. This includes setting up regular check-ins, providing feedback promptly, and addressing any issues or concerns that may arise in a timely manner.

By maintaining open and transparent communication, you can ensure that the localization process runs smoothly and that the end result meets your expectations.

Tips for a Successful Software Localization

Going through the localization process is the next step for companies that have already finished the development process of any software. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when localizing software:

  1. Research the target market and its language: Before starting the localization process, it's essential to research the target market and its language.
  2. Use native speakers for translation: It's important to use native speakers so the localized software is accurate and culturally appropriate.
  3. Make sure your developers are familiar with proper code: When it comes to other languages, developers need to be familiar with the appropriate code and its target-language compatibility.
  4. Test the localized software: It's essential to test the localized software before releasing it. This will help ensure that all features are working correctly and that there are no errors or bugs in the translated version.
  5. Monitor feedback from users: Finally, monitoring feedback from users will help you identify potential issues and make necessary changes to the localized software. Continuous localization will help ensure that the software is up-to-date and meets users' needs.

Understanding Different Language Requirements

When localizing software, it is essential to be aware of the language-specific requirements, as every language has unique specifications that must be taken into account.

Some languages require special characters or symbols, while others require specific formatting rules. Translating content into European languages is often straightforward, but some letters, such as those not used in English, can present challenges. Meanwhile, Chinese and Arabic use entirely different scripts, requiring specific expertise to ensure accurate localization.

Effective localization involves more than just translating words; it also requires considering the different cultural contexts and nuances of the target market. Understanding the necessary language demands for localization means knowing how different languages handle plurals, genders, word order, sentence structure, spelling, and punctuation. These factors are critical to ensuring a high-quality end product that is adapted for its target market.

So, localization is translation, but in code?

Not really. Even though, in general, both translation and localization share the same intent of transferring a message to a target audience, localization goes beyond just translation. It ensures that the message is adapted to the target market's culture, language, and preferences.

Different cultures can sometimes have core societal values that differ from others, and localization takes these into account to adjust the message accordingly. For example, a discount promotion that references Christmas might not be as effective in a country that doesn't celebrate Christmas. Localization aims to bridge these cultural differences to ensure that the message resonates with the target audience.

Software Localization Tools

Software localization tools are valuable for streamlining the localization process. These tools can help automate more tedious tasks such as extracting strings from source code, translating them, and then integrating localization file formats into the code. These tools can also help in managing localized software versions and tracking them over time, making it easier to keep track of any necessary updates or changes.

When selecting a localization tool, you'll want to consider its features. Some tools may provide more advanced capabilities, such as machine translation or automated quality assurance checks, while others may only offer basic string extraction and translation features. Additionally, the cost of the tool should also be taken into consideration, as some may come with a hefty price tag while others may be free or open source.

Selecting an experienced and culturally aware software localization company is vital to the success of a localization project. Ensure that the chosen company is familiar with your target language and market.

To Sum Up

Choosing the right software localization company is essential for ensuring a successful localization project. Conducting research on the language requirements of the intended market and seeking out a company with expertise in the language you are localizing for, as well as a grasp of your target audience's cultural intricacies, are critical steps. Furthermore, software localization tools can simplify the process by automating some of the more time-consuming tasks.

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Alexander Lim
Alexander Lim
Founder & CEO of Cudy Technologies
Find me on: linkedin account
Alexander Lim, Founder and CEO of Cudy Technologies, is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in the tech industry. He has founded numerous startups and possesses a deep understanding of the software development life cycle process.
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