Best Practices

The Software Localization Process Designed By Experts

Most of our clients aren't starting the software localization process from ground zero. Instead, they have an existing framework that they need to "tweak."
Gabriel Fairman
2 min
Table of Contents

Most of our clients aren't starting the software localization process from ground zero. Instead, they have an existing framework that they need to "tweak." Of course, "tweak" might be an understatement for developers who must fix endless data strings and broken code. It can be very intimidating trying to update software for a new market—in a way that makes you feel like you're reinventing the wheel.That's why an expert partnership and a localization management platform matter.

This arrangement can help simplify a complex process for developers to adapt their framework for the new market. Then, they can put their attention into exceptions and edge cases. A process-driven approach will help you create software that's capable of operating seamlessly on a global basis.

What is a Standard Software Localization Process

While it may look a little different depending on the software and who is localizing, the following is a practical guide that can be followed for successful software localization:

  1. Define the scope: Identify all the content you want to localize and what markets you want to enter.
  2. Create a timeframe: Reconcile the scope of your project determined in step one with the deadline you need to meet for software localization.
  3. Begin internationalization: Task a team with internationalizing your software so that it’s easily adaptable to multiple languages.
  4. Assign internal roles: Decide on integral members of the localization team and utilize them where they will be most effective.
  5. Manage your terminology: Develop terminology assets like translation memories, glossaries, etc., to optimize translation consistency.
  6. Establish workflows: Establish localization and integration workflow structure to reduce the need for constant project management.
  7. Maintenance phase: Monitor the success of your content, adapt and adjust according to market response, and determine what additional localization avenues could be valuable.

The Role of Developers in the Software Localization Process

The existing framework is a double-edged sword. While the software is established in one market, it also means that developers must reevaluate many strings to rebuild it for the new audience. Specifically, they must consider:

  • Regular expressions: While these character sequence searches are a significant timesaver, it's possible to rely too heavily on them and miss edge cases that require intervention.
  • Variables: Variables can make code more complicated and result in poor readability. The developer has to double-check the variable content, causing delays and wasted time.
  • Placeholders: Placeholders are great for adding text or other details later, but they may not translate into a new language as well. In some cases, they may need updating to allow the coding to adjust the word order.
  • Tags: Language tags can vary based on the chosen style guide, the type of localization project, and its specific requirements.
  • Parsing: Parsing errors are frustrating and time-consuming in the localization process and come from not adhering to the specific language rules for the locale.
  • YAML: This human-readable programming language is deceptively simple and can quickly become a challenge to edit. Also, by its very nature, it's insecure.
  • XML: Extensible Markup Language may be both human- and machine-readable, but it's difficult for programs to parse and can be challenging to master.
  • JSON: JavaScript object notation is a common alternative to XML because it's faster for parsing. However, some believe that it's too simplistic to deal with more complex data sets.

These are just a few of the problems that a developer will manage in the software localization process. As a result, changing the framework isn't going to feel like a tweak. It's probably going to feel like a reinvention.It's best to work with a localization expert who has a platform to add some structure to this project.

The problems that feel exhaustive from your current perspective aren’t when viewed through the localization expert’s lens. Put another way, problems that would be too heavy to carry with your existing engines and processes are not heavy at all for localizers’ cutting-edge engines. Why spend time reinventing your own?

Using a Partner to Drive the Localization Process

When trying to localize content in-house, it's easy to lose sight of the primary goal: create a seamless end-user experience. However, a localization expert will look at the project from the client's use-case perspective. It's not just about making the software work; it's also about allowing it to reach its full potential in a given market.

That starts by having an established software localization process in place. As a localization provider is committed to adapting software for various markets, they will have specific steps in place and a platform for managing the content they receive. This structure creates standardization that ensures predictable results regardless of the region.

As the software grows and changes, the creator can rely on the existing framework as integrations manage subsequent updates, and high-tech platform technology can easily scale. That saves time, effort, and money.It's easy to underestimate the developer's role in the software localization process until you sit down and look at all the components and moving parts.

Without a reliable process in place, it's very easy to wind up seemingly recreating an entire program instead of merely adapting to new markets. By working with a partner in your localization efforts, you can ensure that your new market rollout is seamless, efficient, and cost-effective. And the sooner you establish that partnership, the fewer retroactive fixes, and redevelopment you’ll have to undergo. An experienced partner can guide you to angle future development in a way that facilitates future local adaptation.

Bureau Works can help you simplify your software localization process and leverage your existing framework to enter new markets. Contact our team for more information on how we can help you succeed on a global scale.

Gabriel Fairman
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