5 Steps to Take before Software Localization

Software localization is a necessary step for any software provider  trying to compete in a global market.  Adapting software for an international audience not only requires professional translation, but development expertise to ensure readiness for new markets without sacrificing quality or functionality. When you decide to localize your software, you will gain a significant return on investment and an advantage over competitors.

There are a few steps you can take prior to localization to ensure the best possible outcome.   

1. Engage with a Localization Expert. When considering software localization it is important to set up a consultation with a localization expert.  During this time the localization expert will be able to analyze the specific requirements a particular product will need before localization can take place. 

2. Identify Content. It is important for companies looking to localize software to work with an engineer to analyze the source code and identify content that will need to be translated. 

3. Internationalization.  Software internationalization builds support for multiple locales in an application. It is best to complete the internationalization process as the application is being built, since adding in such support after the fact can be expensive and complicated

4. Testing with Pseudo Translation. Before investing in translation, pseudo translation and testing will help detect problematic areas early.  Testing using pseudo translation will: verify that all necessary content has been properly extracted for translation, test for over-translation which happens when certain strings should not be translated due to their relationship with the code, ensure support for foreign characters used by the target language and right-to-left languages if required, as well as testing for layout defects caused by text expansion. 

5. Planning.  You will need to determine the release dates for the software before the localization takes place.  It is important for the developers to decide if further development of the software will take place prior to localization and if all of the target languages will be released simultaneously, in tiers or individually so the localization engineers can provide an accurate timeline.

Releasing software in multiple languages allows access to new markets and revenues. Working with a localization expert to understand the process, costs and benefits is a key step in ensuring the success of the project.