Software Localization Explained

time to read: 6 mins

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 licensed and reliable 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 discuss things to consider and give tips on choosing a localization provider to meet your expectations and deliver satisfactory results in 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 provider 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, agile 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 process 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 because it allows businesses to tap into new markets and expand their reach. It also helps them gain a competitive edge in the global market.

Product managers 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 survey found that despite its accuracy issues, 65% of consumers prefer viewing product and service content in their native language, while around 70% depending 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?

When selecting a software localization company, there are several factors to consider. Here are some tips to help you choose the right provider:

Identify Your Needs and Goals

Before looking for a software localization provider, it's essential to identify your needs and goals.

  • 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, consider device compatibility and user experience factors if you're localizing a mobile app. Determining the scope of the project and your desired outcomes will help you narrow down your search.

Research and Compare Providers

Once you've identified your needs and goals, it's time to start researching potential providers. Look for companies specializing in software localization and have experience with similar projects. Check out their portfolio to get an idea of their capabilities.

It's also essential to compare rates and services offered by different providers. Read the fine print and ask questions to ensure you get the best value for your money.

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 & Cost-Benefit Analysis

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

Analyzing the cost-benefits is essential to decide if the investment is worth it. Make sure to evaluate time efficiency, revenue increase, and customer approval when making a decision.

Look for Quality Assurance

Finally, look for a provider that offers quality assurance services. Quality assurance is essential in software localization as it ensures that the translated software meets the highest standards of accuracy and usability.

A good provider should have a team of experienced linguists and engineers who can review the localized software and provide feedback on potential issues.

Establish Clear Communication During the Project

Once you've chosen a software localization provider, remember to establish clear communication during the project. Provide detailed instructions and expectations to ensure the project is completed on time, and within budget.

Tips for a Successful Software Localization

Going through the localization process is the next step for companies that have already finished the preparation 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 it 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.

Understand Different Language Requirements

When localizing software, it is essential to be aware of the language-specific requirements, as every language has regulations that must be adhered to.

Some languages require special characters or symbols, while others require specific formatting. Translating content to European languages is more accessible, but some letters are not used in English. Chinese and Arabic use completely different lettering. Localization will have different requirements.

For effective localization, it is necessary to comprehend the language demands of your target audience. Localization involves more than just translating words; it also requires considering the different cultural contexts and nuances and any specific formatting needed for the localized version.

Understanding the necessary language demands for localization means knowing how different languages handle plurals, genders, word order, sentence structure, spelling, and punctuation. This is critical to ensuring a quality end product adapted for its target market.

So, localization is translation but in code?

Not really. Even though, in general, both translation and localization have the same intent of transferring the 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 differ in some core societal values. For example, a Christmas sale won't be as effective in a country that doesn't celebrate Christmas. Localization takes into account these cultural differences and adjusts the message accordingly.

Software Localization Tools

Software localization tools are a great way to streamline 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 manage localized software versions and track them over time, making it easier to keep track of any needed 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 QA checks, whereas others may only offer primary string extraction and translation capabilities.

The cost of the tool should also be taken into consideration. Some might have 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; make sure to search for one that 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. It's important to research the language requirements of the target market before beginning the localization process and look for a company that has experience in the language you are localizing for and understands the cultural nuances of your target market. Additionally, software localization tools can help streamline the process by automating some more tedious tasks.

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