The Ideal Localization Kit

How to pull together all the files needed for translation and localization

Ideal Localization KitWhenever undertaking a new project, and regardless of who will be performing your localization, the first thing to do is to create a complete localization kit, or translation bill of material (BOM).

A BOM is a localization kit containing all the files that need to be localized, with accurate instructions and any support documentation that can be helpful to the localization team.

The list below includes a comprehensive catalog with the latest technology and file formats that are typically needed in a localization kit:

1. Graphical User Interface (GUI) files

These files from your software application contain the string tables and dialog coordinate information that the software uses to display the interface to the user. These files can come in many formats (such as Microsoft resource files (.rc), (.resx), binary (.dll or .exe), .po, .java, .properties, PHP, and XML. Be sure that all the needed files are identified and collected. For more information check out UI Localization.

2. Online help files

These are HTM, XML, or other formats that will provide the user with online instructions when they click on the help buttons in the software. Here, it is best to collect all the source files (XML, HTM, and image and project files) that are needed to recreate the help. If they are not available, the compiled help (.chm or .hlp) can be used to recreate them. It is always best to translate source files, such as the XML files that the help authoring tool uses to generate the HTM files. For more information read XML translation

3. Manuals

These are the guides (User, What’s New, Getting Started) tutorials, and any other manuals that need to be localized. They often are authored in a desktop publishing tool such as FrameMaker, InDesign, Quark, or MS Word. All source files will be needed and preferred over PDF. Make sure you include any images, fonts, and other support files that are needed to allow another party to open the files correctly. For more information, read Document Translation.

Note: If only the GUI requires localization, it is recommended to include still the online help and all support manuals as reference material to the translators so that they can better understand the functionality of your software and translate it correctly. This will significantly improve the end quality of your localized GUI and minimize linguistic Quality Assurance (QA) at runtime.

4. Miscellaneous files

This could include the installation scripts, license agreements (EULA), Readme, release notes – any support documentation that you package with your software and expect the user to read when they install, run, or operate your software.

Also, there may be some third party files that you integrate your software with that need translation. Check with the third party to see if they have their files localized. If not, you may want to coordinate with them their localization to avoid having English text in the source. 

5. Web files

If you are localizing a website, or if the application is web-enabled, identify and collect the entire set of files that are needed to run the website. This includes databases, images, Flash, Java scripts, HTM, ASP, PHP, PDFs, and all other source files requiring localization. For more information read Web files translation.

6. Marketing Collateral

To properly address the marketing requirements, you should obtain and provide the source files in QuarkXPress, InDesign, PowerPoint, MS Publisher, MS Word, or any other authoring system the collateral was authored in. Make sure you include all special fonts and necessary art. Art should be provided in its native format, like Illustrator or Photoshop (EPS). If containing text, text should be in separate layers from the bitmap images to avoid image quality degradation. For more information read Marketing Translation

7. Multimedia/e-Learning

Include all audio, video, Adobe Flash, transcripts, timing reports and any additional requirements specific to video formats, file formats, and details on voice-over, dubbing, subtitling and video processing. For more information read Multimedia and eLearning Translation

Ideal Localization Kit

List and document what all the files are and include all pertinent info to your localization team about your needs and requirements. Then compress them all into one zip, sit, tar or rar file while keeping the naming and directory structures intact. With that, you will be the proud creator of the ideal localization kit.

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