9 Best Practices for Software Localization

Table of Contents

With the current trend of globalization, many businesses have been conducting software localization to reach a broader range of international customers. However, without careful preparation and planning for localization, businesses may face significant challenges and risks. To ensure an efficient and successful localization process, it’s essential to understand software localization best practices.

Overview of software localization

Software translation and localization

Software translation is the process of converting software from one language to the language of its end user. Translation is an indispensable part of the software localization process.

Software Localization is the process of adapting software to the language of its end user. Typically, software localization process involves multiple stages that require harmonious coordination between the publisher and the translation agency.

Roles of software localization

According to the study “Can’t Read Won’t Buy – B2B” by CSA Research, up to 70% of users will not buy software that is not localized. This shows the important role of software localization when publishers plan to penetrate new markets.

Software that is properly localized can contribute to brand value and credibility. Furthermore, it facilitates the interaction of the users with the software in their native language.

All these benefits can make it easier for customers to use more features in the software, enhancing user experience and increasing brand loyalty.

What makes Software Localization challenging

Common challenges in software localization

Due to the significance of software localization, this task comes with various difficulties and challenges such as:

  1. Language and cultural differences: During translation, you need to ensure that the language is suitable for the target audience. Some countries may have considerably different cultures, requiring an in-depth analysis before translation.
  2. Technical complexity: Software localization involves many tasks related to graphics and technology. This complex work calls for a high level of expertise.
  3. Collaboration and communication: The software localization process involves multiple steps and often requires collaboration between various parties to achieve the best results. Effective communication among these parties is essential to ensure consistency in the final translation.

Find out more about Medical software translation, one of the most demanding translation fields!

9 Best practices to optimize software localization effectiveness

Based on expert insights, here are some best practices for software localization to help you streamline this process.

For publishers

1. Prepare for localization during the development stage

Publishers should plan for multilingual features when developing software. Many companies fail to anticipate the need for new languages, which makes the localization process challenging and time-consuming. A proper approach is to limit the use of hardcoded texts in software codes, allowing flexible language changes later.

2. Separate all content that needs translation

Publishers should not hardcode the text and punctuation but instead use separate resource files such as JSON, ARB, YAML, XLIFF, etc., to avoid duplication or code corruption. This separation allows translators and engineers to work on updates simultaneously.

3. Use appropriate character encodings for all languages

You should use Unicode/UTF-8 character encoding standard that supports all languages. Ensuring the appropriate character encoding for all languages will help avoid additional conversion steps, saving time and costs.

4. Verify the meaning of images and icons

Not all icons are globally appropriate. In fact, many symbols and images hold different meanings in different countries. For instance, the “thumbs up” icon signifies approval in countries like the US, UK, and Russia. But it’s considered offensive in certain Latin American countries, West Africa, and Iran. Publishers need to thoroughly research such nuances to ensure the new language version aligns with the local culture.

Best tips for Software translation and Localization - Thao & Co.

For translation agencies

1. Ensure consistency in software localization

Large translation projects involve various stages and the participation of multiple linguists and specialists. To maintain consistency, translation agencies should create Translation Guidelines and a specific dictionary for the project. Translation of terminology should be established from the beginning to ensure uniformity and professionalism.

At Thao & Co., we offer a free customized dictionary for each translation project and provide Translation Guidelines upon request. This approach ensures the localization of your software is consistent and accurate. Our Project Manager and Language Lead will develop the project’s Translation Guidelines based on your requirements and preferences.

2. Ensure context-appropriate translations

The same term or content can have different meanings and translations based on different contexts. To ensure context appropriateness, a translation agency needs extensive software localization experience to provide accurate and natural translations on the interface.

For example, the term “Home” is commonly understood as a residence. However, when placed on the software menu bar, it should be understood as the “Main page.”

3. Leverage modern translation technology

Applying translation technology can help translation agencies ensure accuracy and save time. At Thao & Co., we utilize various translation technologies such as SmartCAT and Trados to enhance work efficiency.

SmartCAT allows expert linguists to collaborate on your project simultaneously. SmartCAT helps track and synchronize the translation progress in real-time, saving time and boosting productivity.

Trados helps speed up the translation process while still allowing linguists to maintain translation quality. Trados includes features to store and update translation memories and termbases, ensuring translation consistency and accuracy.

4. Enlist expert assistance

Software translations generally require high accuracy and expert evaluation in specialized fields such as medicine, construction, manufacturing, etc.

To meet this demand, Thao & Co. offers an Expert Review© service to ensure the accuracy and quality of your software localization. This crucial step involves meticulous review by experts in the relevant field. It guarantees not only linguistic standards but also the correct use of industry terminology.

5. Provide customized integration and QA testing

Translation agencies should offer customized integration and software LQA testing to assist clients promptly. This service guarantees the localized product is natural and compatible with the software interface. During the localization testing phase, translation agencies can collaborate with clients to make prompt adjustments. 

Post-translation Customized Integration and Linguistic Review services Thao & Co. can address all difficulties in integrating new languages into your software. Our IT experts will collaborate with you to integrate translated content seamlessly into your software. We ensure that the design and functionality of your software are maintained and consistent with your brand.

Thao & Co. professional Translation and Localization Services

Where to find credible software translation and localization services?

Choosing a professional software translation and localization agency is not simple. It’s best to look for translation agencies with expertise and localization-supporting services. This can ensure your software is translated and localized effectively.

At Thao & Co., we offer software translation and localization services with various value-added services to meet all your needs. We are committed to providing you with high-quality localization through a professional localization process conducted by top linguists and experts.

  1. ● Translation done by native linguists
  2. ● A free customized translation dictionary for each project
  3. ● Transparent process and pricing
  4. ● A wide range of localization services and technology integration
  5. ● A proprietary platform that helps you keep track of your project anywhere and anytime

For further information, please visit our Get a Quote page for prompt assistance!

Source: Thao & Company
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