A strong localization partner will shift your localization paradigms to scale your software’s reach and set you up for a long-term localization strategy that grows with your business.
Software localization is about making a platform accessible to consumers from other countries. When expanding globally, this step is critical for success. Software translation and adaptation to various cultures set brands apart from others. But many companies fail to perform this step accurately due to unforeseen challenges. This step-by-step guide explores common software localization challenges and how to approach the process with the best outcomes.
Overcoming Software Localization Challenges to Achieve the Best Outcomes
Before beginning any localization project, a great deal of time needs to be spent preparing and strategizing. Without proper planning, localization turns into a highly reactive process. Software localization gives companies a competitive edge, increases reach, name recognition, and improves user engagement. But the process is complex resulting in a large margin for error and the potential for concerns when establishing a localization engine. Defining the scope will lead to an on-time launch with fewer software localization challenges and greater cost savings.
This guide bridges the gaps in the localization process to assist companies in what lies ahead when expanding to a new market.
Step 1: Software Analysis
When localizing software, it’s important to determine where your software will be hosted and if it can accommodate multiple languages. Preparing software for local language settings is a detailed process. Key considerations many companies forget include:
- Managing Unicode compliance. This step involves consistently encoding multilingual text that enables the exchange of text data internationally.
- Locating and eliminating hard-coded strings. Strings should be isolated into resource files for easier translation.
- Building support for bidirectional languages. Languages such as Arabic and Hebrew will require right-to-left (RTL) and left-to-right (LTR) writing orders.
- Leaving additional white space for language translation. Every language will translate differently, and it’s important to accommodate extra white space to ensure readability.
Spend time with your engineers and connect with a reliable localization management platform to ensure your software is fit to handle the complexities of localization.
Step 2: Identify Your Translation Process
Creating a localization process that allows scalable content to thrive in multiple markets starts with creating a successful translation plan. Who is going to translate your content? Will it be completed internally or outsourced to a single language vendor (SLV) or multi-language vendor (MLV)? An SLV specializes in one language at a time and will provide quality translations, but this method may take time that must be accounted for from the start. An MLV can produce larger quantity translations faster but lacks the quality for precise translations with accurate contextual meaning. If internal translators are used, they must have a strong understanding of the content to ensure the context of the material is accurate. Identifying this aspect and how it will be completed will improve the user experience, click-through rates, and increase sales.
Step 3: Incorporate Machine Translation
The primary downfall of machine translation is its inability to understand context resulting in misinterpreted translations. If each detail is not reviewed, this mistake could be detrimental to a company. Parsing, segmentation, and regular expressions can become problematic as well. Translation files come with a specific type of encoding and accompanying characters that, when run through machine translation, there’s a chance the engine will not understand the coding.
There is also a potential error when it comes to grammar and punctuation. While an apostrophe may display ownership in English, translations could mean something entirely different when translated to another language. In recognizing the potential pitfalls, the benefits of machine translation are vast. Bureau Works combines both machine translation and human intelligence. Pairing the two concepts together improves the quality, accuracy, and turnaround time of translated content, resulting in a full-proof step in the software localization process.
Step 4: Quality Assurance
You’ve determined the content to be translated, text specifications, media file considerations, and the overall UX. Upon completion, it’s time to test for quality assurance. Important variables include spacing, line breaks, and other anomalies that can mean the difference between a quality UX versus an inferior one.
Additionally, each file needs to look perfect from a programming structure and syntax perspective to prevent errors when languages are translated.
Furthermore, adding a dedicated and passionate translator to the review process helps maintain the integrity and authenticity of the content. Translator expertise will ensure translations are accurate and that the contextual meaning is on point and resonates with the targeted local market. Many companies will skip quality assurance checks due to time constraints. However, quality testing identifies errors that could later slow down the localization process, resulting in a large headache and numerous costs wasted.
Software localization challenges are inevitable. Developing a scalable, repeatable, and automated process leads to a smooth and error-free localization process and success in new markets.
Bureau Works offers software localization services that will simplify your journey and reduce the risk of running into software localization challenges. Contact our team for information about our platform, services, and translators.