A recent industry blog discussed the need to give translation its due credit. With many companies and conferences in the language service industry promoting localization, it has become habitual to avoid mentioning translation or giving it the credit it deserves.
New entrants in the translation service market are also touting new buzzwords like crowdsourcing and cloud solutions. Offering inexpensive or even free offerings, they claim achieving significant automation, simplification and reduction in cost of software translation, documents and website translation.
Why the need to use words like localization, crowdsourcing and cloud computing? Simply put, translation is old and not as exciting to analysts and fund-raisers as these more recent buzzwords.
Nothing is wrong with buzz as long as behind it you find substance. So when you hear buzzwords, dig deeper and evaluate the offered solution to ensure that it gives you what you and your international users need. Software translation services, crowdsourcing and cloud language solutions are not necessarily the same as software localization, or website globalization for that matter.
As the author of the blog suggested, translation continues to be at the heart of software localization services. However, when we localize software applications for our clients, only half of what we do involves software translation services. The other half includes project management, file and asset prep, terminology research, desktop publishing, dialog box and table resizing, image capturing, compilation and building, and quality assurance services. One needs a comprehensive solution to fulfill the end requirement.
It is the end result that matters the most to the client, not necessarily how you get there. At GlobalVision, we localize software applications and websites, to meet the needs of foreign users in specific countries. Yes translation services are part of it, but translation by itself is not enough to empower our clients and their end users to correctly use the software and websites in their native languages and be fully satisfied.
The Who, What & Where of Software Localization
While evaluating translation vendors, offerings and costs, keep in mind that much of the process of localization continues to be the same and will continue to involve all the steps that we highlight above. The only differences are who does all the needed tasks, how they are handled and where assets reside.
Regardless of what it is called, if all you are offered is basic software translation services, then watch out; it is a far cry from effective software localization!
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