Wanting to become an authority in their field on a larger, international scale, many companies today focus on localization. But when it comes to software developers, it is an even bigger priority. This is because, simply put, if they want people from other countries to be able to use their software, localization must be a part of their strategy from the get-go.
Although a good translation of the user interface of your product is a big and crucial process of software localization, it’s only one of several important segments crucial for building a final product capable of attracting a large global audience. Of course, many people around the world speak English and may be able to use your product. Nevertheless, having the option to use a piece of software in their native language can make a huge difference.
So, localization will not only help you get ahead of the competition and get more clients, but it will also help you increase brand awareness, and most importantly build a bigger and stronger brand community and client loyalty.
Focus on Localization Since the Beginning
The steps necessary for software localization should be a part of the development process, starting from the design of the system. This way, you will be able to build an internationalized product, and you won’t have to constantly make changes for each language you decide to incorporate. To do so, you should start by identifying each part of the software that should be translated, and develop a localization strategy.
Apart from translation, localization implies the adaptation of the software to the culture of the target audience pertaining to a specific local market. In other words, localization is a process in which developers completely adapt their software, according to the cultural characteristics of the users in the target region or country, as well as the linguistic conventions of the target audience. The user interface, the online help, and the documentation are the three main and basic elements of this crucial process for the success of your product.
Invest in a High-Quality Translation
Finding professional translators for each language you want to include is one of the most important steps in localization, and avoid using machine translation at any cost. The translators should be fluent in the target language, be familiar with the culture in question, and have a good knowledge of the vocabulary relevant to your specific product. However, don’t underestimate the work that goes into a good translation, and keep in mind that, like anyone else, even professional translators can make mistakes and may need help.
So, if it’s possible, you should also make sure that there is a constant close collaboration between the development team and the translators. This will ensure a more accurate translation. Software developers should know that the goal of this part of the process is for anyone using your product to feel as if it was originally created for their language and culture. A bad translation can feel unnatural and artificial, which can prevent you from successfully entering the new market.
This is why you should also invest in translation quality checks to ensure not only that the translation is superb and consistent, but also that it matches your product and is appropriately adapted to the culture. Ultimately, once you have the final translation, you will have to copy the translated files into the code structure. And when all of that is done, you will also have to test your product in all of the included languages.
Find the Right Localization Tools
Software localization is a complex process that requires a lot of work and effort on the part of the development team. However, there are also a variety of useful localization tools that can be used to simplify parts of the process, including locating translators, translation, translation review, and integration. Nowadays software development technologies are designed in a way that will facilitate localization. This means that they allow you to separate all of the parts of the software that need to be translated from the rest of the elements.
Moreover, the user interface is typically included within the resource files that contain the content that should be translated. These useful tools for localization make it easy for the translator to get to the translatable parts.
For many software developers, not going global with their product is a missed opportunity. Expanding your market will not only bring you more profit, but it may also bring you more projects in the future. And to be able to take your product to new audiences – who are part of another culture, speak a different language and live in a different region – you must focus on globalization right from the start.