What is software localization?

What is software localization? Extend the reach of your software and attract countless new customers by localizing it to suit new regions.

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 of it this way: Translation converts text from one language to another, while localization transforms the entire software product to suit the target region.

Localization addresses specific aspects of languages and regions, including:

  • Produce translations that are 100% accurate. There is no room for error in your software localization project.
  • Layout formatting according to different languages.
  • Ensure all design elements are culturally appropriate.
  • Pay attention to spelling and phraseology, for example, variations between Spanish words and phrases in Spain and Argentina.

The software localization process

The software localization process includes several steps, which can be accomplished by partnering with a translation agency.

The overall process includes the following actions:

  • Create a library of information for each region you plan to target. This library will include a glossary of terms, as well as region-specific items, including dates, times, currency, and numbers. Rather than hard-coding these items, 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, tone to use, and other relevant information that requires consistency.
  • Translate software content into the target language and import your translated files into your application’s code structure. During the translation process, it is important to work with an FSL whose translators are native speakers of the source language and the target language.
  • Locate scripts, graphics, and other media containing symbols, icons, or text. Many symbols don’t resonate in other countries, so it’s especially important to select icons that are identifiable to your target market.
  • Test, retest, and implement quality assurance measures. Software localization is precision work, and regular testing will help ensure a successful software launch. Quality assurance includes checking for functionality and coding errors, as well as finding grammatical errors, inconsistencies, cultural insensitivities, and any other localization-related issues.

If your software has been properly localized, your product will look and feel similar to the original program. Overall, successful localization means the user experience will be seamless across all target languages.

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