This blog post is a compilation of six technology independent nuggets. Ones that Michael Scharhag recently discovered about quality software localization. As a German development team working for a German customer they used German as their base language within the application. Their customer was responsible for translating the German application messages into another 21 languages and providing other localized material (images, downloadable documents, etc.).
#1 Use a Tool
You need a way to share message files and translations between developers and translators. Luckily there are some nice tools available that can support you with the whole translation process, such as: the open source tool Pootle opens in a new window. If you prefer to save localized messages within a database you could easily create a CRUD opens in a new window UI with simple search functionality yourself. They could then be used by translators to update messages.
#2 Teach Translators
You should make sure that translators fully understand the syntax of messages. For a developer it might be obvious how placeholders, escaping and date formats work. From a translator’s view (who might not have any experience with software development at all) things aren’t always that obvious.
#3 Give Translators Context
Just translating messages from one language into another often isn’t enough. Translators need to know the context in which the message is displayed. This is in order to provide an appropriate translation. The first step here is to give them access to a test system where they can see the application with a recent version of their translations.
#4 Keep in Mind Word Widths can Vary
Depending on your base language you should be aware that the average character count per word can be much higher or lower in other languages. You should make sure that your application UI supports varying text sizes. This is especially important for buttons and navigation elements which typically expand if their labels get larger.
#5 Test It
Extensively test the localized application: Validate translations, use non western characters as user input and check the functionality for all languages.
#6 It Takes Time
The whole process of localization can take a lot of time. Especially if many people from different countries participate in the process. So make sure to plan it properly. Remember that every text message you add to the application needs translation. Read Full Article here… opens in a new window
Quality Software Localization
Even in this globalization era, many still underestimate the amount of work involved to get a software application fully localized and released. But once you commit the resources, they quickly come to realize that localizing an application is not a simple translation process from one language to another. For more info on the localization process, read the following highly recommended write-ups:
- Localization Outsourcing: Why Is It Important? - February 25, 2019
- Localization Test: Common Issues With E-Learning and How to Fix Them - February 5, 2019
- The Importance of Software Localization for International Businesses - November 30, 2018
- 8 Software Localization Update Details Worth Focusing On - July 25, 2018
- Agile Localization Process - May 7, 2018
Learn more about Localization…
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