Software localization is the process of adapting software to linguistic and cultural environment of the target market. It requires careful conversion, checking and testing and therefore requires a high degree of human involvement in development. Besides translation or language conversion, localization involves adapting to the aspects of design, cultural norms, acceptability, fashion etc.

Software localization involves

  • the designing of localised user-interface
  • abstraction of translatable elements such as user-visible strings, data such as time, date, currencies, keyboard formats etc.
  • source codes,
  • error messages,
  • meta-data

and so on.

The various aspects and steps involved in software localization are: terminology research, page layout and format, online help and testing.

Software localization differs from general translation in that here the text being translated is a software of a web product, which involves both the software as well as related and supporting documents. Software localization strangely runs simultaneously along with the preparation of the source document and product and not necessarily after the original has been prepared. The simultaneous development and translation poses difficulties in a multilingual project. Further, it involves far more processes than mere translation. Translation is only one of many steps in the localization process. Project management, software engineering and testing are further necessary processes.

Practices and process of localization include the following:

  1. Devise methods and processes that define all steps and elements of the localization, in order for the process to commence after every stage of the development stage of the source code, and continue while the next phase of the source code is being developed. A check list of all required elements and standard procedures to be followed should be kept ready for teams to execute as routine. Localization hence, should be considered an extension of the product development process.
  2. Source language should be simple and easy to comprehend by the audience, both consumer as well as translators. Sensitivity to language and cultural norms of other countries help the developers to keep their language culture neutral so as to enable ease of language conversion without major challenges.
  3. Most of the effort in software localization revolves around the strings. Both user-visible strings and hard coding strings require careful attention and possibility of loss of contextual meaning must be avoided at all costs.
  4. Once a “string freeze” is announced, it means there can be no further changes will be made to the source strings, and translators know that the text they are translating is the final version and will not involve any confusion with multiple versions of the text.

Efficient project management and inclusion of localization as part of the development project are key. Translation Services India works hand in hand with your product development team to provide localization solutions for your software. Translation Services India is a reliable collaborator for your software localization projects.


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