Only being the best in your neighborhood is not good enough anymore. The present-day market is international. Even if translating software into other languages costs serious money, this allows companies to access foreign markets that would be otherwise difficult to penetrate. Also, the rumor according to which ALL foreigners understand English is a myth.
Most software nowadays is localized in order to be available on larger markets. If you plan to develop your software in several languages, or if you plan to start developing the software in your own language and afterwards in other languages for foreign markets, it’s best, from the very beginning, to take into account certain localization and translation issues.
The best-case scenario is to do that before the software is even written. It is certain that keeping localization issues in mind while working on the specifications of the project will most certainly help reduce costs and will ease the effort associated with the localization of the product on foreign markets.
Localization: A Definition
Software localization implies more than just the mere translation of the product’s user interface. Companies require that their software to be adapted to the culture of the target country, so that they can reach a larger audience.
Localization, in this case, stands for the complex operation that consists in translating the software and also in adapting it according to the linguistic conventions and cultural specifics of the users from the target country.
This process often requires a lot of work shareit for laptop hours and tremendous effort from the development teams, but there are a number of tools that were specifically created in order to simplify the localization process. Also, many of the localization projects are outsourced to specialized companies in order to reduce costs.
Tips for Software Localization
Software must be written in such a way so that it would be quite easy to adapt (i.e. translated) later, according to necessities, into different cultures and languages. Localization and internationalization go hand in hand.
Internationalization consists, basically, in developing a product in several languages. All the parts of software that need to be translated are separated from the software itself and adapted to the specifics of the country for which the software is meant. It is best that the concerned software to be designed with this aspect in mind from the very beginning as the process of re-writing the entire software which was designed from the start with just a narrow target market in mind, is time consuming and expensive.
Concerning the translators, ideally, they should perfectly master the target languages and have a very good knowledge in the technical field and be proficient with the specific vocabulary. Last but not least, they should be familiar with the software in order to fully understand the context of the phrases.
Sometimes, this can cause problems for the people in charge with the translation: there may be rare occasions when the entire translation team is needed, or just some “know-it-all” genius. Anyway, the translators should collaborate with the development team at all times.
Software localization is a process that requires specific knowledge and some serious project management skills. For each project, its manager, in close collaboration with the engineers, should develop a schedule that indicates all the necessary steps required to make the localized software lucrative.