Software Localization Prudent Practices

5 Common mistakes to avoid when localizing your software & website into other languages

Software Localization Team

Time-to-market continues to be one of the main drivers for high tech industries. With ever shortening product life-cycles, executives around the world clamor to release their products and websites yesterday! And this is not only in the local market, but globally.

This race to be the first out with the latest product or technology has caused some to bypass steps that are essential to the quality of their products.

Here are 5 common mistakes that we often see and work hard with our clients to help them appreciate and overcome.

1.      Thoroughly plan simultaneous translation releases

Companies seeking simultaneous translation releases often understate the amount of work involved to get their software or websites properly localized into other languages. Translation time is usually accounted for, but in-country reviews, quality assurance and a time period for implementing last minute changes are often completely omitted or abbreviated.

Achieving simultaneous translation releases is no walk in the park. Thorough coordination and proper planning are essential between all the stakeholders involved in the release process to avoid failure. If you have never simultaneously released a multilingual product or website, solicit the advice of professional translation service providers. They know what to look for and what to avoid.

2.      Eliminate havoc with constant changes to the source

Engineers making changes to source files while they are undergoing translation or in-country reviews and quality assurance will have the tendency to create havoc unless source files and all the translation assets are tightly managed and coordinate among stakeholders. For instance, if in-country feedback is not directly implemented into the corporate translation memories, leveraging translations into the latest source files may revert to pre-proofread translations, negating ongoing in-country proof and quality assurance efforts! The release schedule should be published and committed to by all involved personnel.

3.      Comprehensively communicate additions or changes

When changes take place to the source files, avoid shortcuts! Sending updates to user interface files as extracted text in an excel file to your translators to translate and return, often results in more problems than anticipated. If you have to update your files using the diff and extract approach, make sure that the changes you provide are 100% complete and that your import process is flawless. You want to avoid code or character corruption or omissions at any cost!

Also, make sure you provide enough context or support files to help the translators translate the meaning correctly. English can be a confusing language when translating words or strings out of context! English is gender neutral and many words have homonyms that can conjugate and translate into different words and meanings. The word ‘Save’ for instance, can be interpreted into different verbs such ‘Rescue’ (from harm or danger), ‘Retain’ (computing), ‘Conserve’ (financial) and nouns such as in reference to baseball or storage. Without a collaborative translation management system and unless the translator is provided context with the software user interface strings to translate, there is a good chance that the incorrect translation will be applied.

4.      Make the translation process a transparent closed-loop

Often companies have in-country or internal proofreaders that make changes directly to translated files without informing the original translation team. They are then surprised to see the errors they correct in previous releases reappear in future releases. If translated files revisionitis is a common ailment, better define and tighten up your in-country linguistic proof process and your translation process.

5.      Enable content systems to handle source and target files

Once translations are completed and product is release, companies without strong revision control practices, for both their source and target language files, will lose the associations between language files, confusing possible future translation leveraging and increasing the costs of updates. When a translation memory is not readily available, more involved manual steps will be required by the translators to align and reuse previously completed translations, increasing the number of words to re-translate, driving up costs and delaying releases.

Prudent software localization practices

As a translation and software localization specialist that’s been in the industry for 20 years, we’ve faced many challenges too numerous to list in this post. Our experts are ready to answer any issues or challenges that you have faced and help you address your current or future localization needs prudently and efficiently. If any of the above challenges, or others, are slowing down your international product releases, contact GlobalVision today for a free consultation!