What is Software Localization?
By: Shahzad Bashir
In the digital world, so many new software are developed by arranging tiny magnets in sequence and we also call them programs. Indeed, it is the technical aspect of the software. But when it comes to its usage then linguistics plays an important role. As we know that only 20 to 30% of people on the internet use the English language then what to do for the rest of the people. Here comes the requirement of software localization.
What Exactly Software Localization is?
Software localization is not related to the translation of the user interface. Perhaps, it makes the user interface resonate with regional and cultural intricacies. Many global companies around the world are going for software localization. Therefore, to mitigate the cultural barriers and to reach a wider target audience.
Software localization is abbreviated as L10n. It is the process of resonating the software according to a specific culture. Just like translation, it involves date and time formats, different writing directions, address formats. Moreover, it includes decimal separators and decimal currency formatting.
The other part of localization contains culturally sensitive issues that step forward from translation. For example, brand connotations are perceived differently in every country. Similarly, the emoji of Okay in the Western world is considered offensive in Arab countries. Moreover, other examples include the use of symbols and colors.
Software Localization in Global Market
Thanks to technology that helps you to communicate across global boundaries. It is the best part that helps the developers to develop and localize the software in such a manner that resonates with different cultures.
Software developers perceive globalization as a potentially unlimited market for new software. If your software localization is successful in the UK then you can try it in the USA and China. Software localization is not merely the translation of software in different languages. Though it makes software's user-friendly for the target market in every country. If you have made software and translated it into multiple languages then surely you need to go for software localization. Otherwise, it will become frustrating for the target audience. Once you translate the user interface into your language, then you can use the software. But if the software is not localized and only the words are changed then you will face great difficulties.
Just imagine software that is translated but not localized from English into Chinese. Although the meanings of the words may be clear they will create some problems. The font size and graphic interface will look like American. Although the Chinese people will use it will not be user-friendly software for them.
How to do Software Localization Effectively
Software localization considers all the aspects of software from development to resonating with other cultures. The software managers and localization engineers consider cultural nuance. Moreover, they consider, correct use of measurement, dates in the target country.
Software localization has a great impact on the language used in a program. It goes beyond translation by localizing different characters, encoding different symbols. Moreover, including languages that go from right to left. If you want to localize your software for the target audience that speaks Farsi, Arabic, and Hebrew then you need to change the text fields. Moreover, you need to translate and localize the resource files that include action buttons, dialogue boxes, and menus. Furthermore, you need to translate and localize the user interface files such as strings. This will help you to see how different languages will look on the screen and they impact the user interface. Additionally, you need to look at written content so that you can personalize the user experience.
User Interface Design
Software localization will help you to translate the graphic side of the interface. The proficient software localization team will help you to translate the symbols and pictures according to the specific target demographics. In this way, images will make sense and they will not be offensive to other cultures.
If the symbols are not localized, they create great confusion. For instance, a mailbox with a red flag represents new messages in some countries. On the contrary, in other countries, the US means red flags means confusion despite clarity.
The Standard Localization Process
A software product that is localized properly will create a feeling that the software is originally designed and developed for the target market. The standard localization process includes the following steps.
● Examination of the content of the software and analyzing the tools
● Considering technical, cultural, and linguistic nuance.
● Translation while considering cultural and regional differences.
● Creating and maintaining a software glossary.
● Resizing of forms and dialogs of the user interface.
● Localization of visible text, symbols in the graphics.
● Compiling the localized files for testing.
● Going for functional and linguistic quality assurance.
● Delivery of software localization project on time.
Should You Localize your Software
Let’s have a look, whether you have to go for software localization or not.
Software Localization for your Region
If you are using the software in your region and community then you need not to worry about localization. But if your region is diverse and has a different multilingual audience then you should go for software translation and localization. For instance, in the USA, you have a large Hispanic community. Therefore, you need to localize your software for them.
Localization of the Software with the Development
If you are developing software for your home town then you can go for localization later on. For this, you need to do preparations from the start. In the initial steps, you should include international characters and number file formats. In this way, your localization process at a later stage will become easier. Moreover, you should keep the sentences precise so that you should not rework them again.
The Popularity of Software Requires Localization
When your software becomes more popular than software localization is a must. If you have a target market abroad then you should go for software localization simultaneously with the software development.
When you localize your software, you are making it more user-friendly and appealing to a global audience. At present when the world has become a globalized village thus the software localization is the cost-effective way to penetrate the global markets. Maybe your software gets global fame.