- » What is software localization?
- » Software localization is more than just translating
- » Special aspects of software localization
- » International software
- » The localization procedure
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What is software localization?
If the software products and apps you’ve developed are to be sold and used in other countries, they need to be localized. But what exactly does this mean? Software localization is the adaptation of the graphic user interface of software products or websites to the specific linguistic, cultural and technical conditions of the countries where they’ll be used. Taking this as a starting point, localization experts translate all the components that belong to the product – starting with the menus and buttons of computer programmes, via online helpdesks, all the way to user manuals and product websites.
Software localization is more than just translation
A truly professional translation is more than simply substituting the words in one language by those of the target language – you also need a partner who can give you advice on what works in other countries (and what doesn’t). A good software localization is your key to the door to success in the target market. If a software product is going to do well in the international marketplace, then simply translating the software or app isn’t going to be enough – the special aspects of the target region must also be taken into account. Examples:
- Number formats, date and time formats, address formats
- Units of measure, currency formats, tax rates
- Paper formats, typefaces, different capitalization rules
- Alphabetic (re-)assortment of lists/indices after translation
- Fields for bank-account details (not every country, for example, uses the IBAN/BIC system)
- Adaptation of proof-of-identity functions (e.g. driver’s license/social security number in the US versus ID card/passport in Germany)
- Depending on the type of software, also integration of local regulations, data-privacy terms and more
The aim here is not only to shape the user interface in such as way that it looks as if the product has been specifically developed and made for the target group in the country in question – online help tools, the user manual, and the related marketing texts such as brochures must also be consistent. Only software that takes all the specific features of the target country into account will thrive there later on.
By localizing your software products, you create the optimal user experience for your customers. In the area of software localization we offer translations of the highest quality for
- User interfaces (GUIs)
- Error messages
- Instructions for use
- Online help tools
- User manuals
- End-user license agreements (EULAs)
- Technical documents
- Training materials
- Website contents
- Product brochures
inter alia for office software, corporate software, product software, and system software. Contact us for further details on how we can be of help with our expertise.
- Any questions?
Just call us:
- +49 89 67989548
Special aspects of software localization
Localizing software for the international market demands a comprehensive range of expertise. Besides having a set of excellent linguistic and cultural competences, localization experts must, for example, also possess skills in the area of software technology and the handling of localization tools.
Graphic user interfaces (GUIs) are generally made up of individual words and short phrases. In many cases, the space available for the labelling of the control elements is limited, and during the translation process the translators lack the actual context of the terms that are to be translated, which can make the translation of GUIs an arduous affair. English words, for example, are considerably shorter than the German equivalent and frequently have more than one meaning, so that without their proper context they can’t be properly translated. Please read our article “Nine-word software strings: often more difficult to translate than a moderately long text”.
Close cooperation between the developer of the software and the translator and the use of specialized CAT tools, which enable a multitude of varying file formats to be properly processed, can go a long way to overcoming these challenges. Here you can find further information on the CAT tools we use, which preserve the code and layout of the source text. What’s more, thanks to their integrated terminology and translation-memory databases they help to ensure consistency in the translations they produce, since recurrent terms and designations should naturally all be translated in the same way throughout the entire software product and in the documentation, thus enabling the user to operate the software with a minimum of hassle.
One essential prerequisite for the adaptation of software to a target region is the internationalization of the software product. In other words: the source code must already have been designed for international use. Among other things, this is of relevance when your source code includes variables that contain numbers or words as values. The different grammatical systems of various languages can quickly result in a range of problems. Read our article “6 tips for software developers whose software is to be translated”.
In localization projects, our experts will work together with you very closely, swiftly identifying any problems that impact on localizability to come up with appropriate solutions.
The localization procedure
The localization procedure generally comprises the following stages:
- Any questions?
Just call us:
- +49 89 67989548