Software Localization Demystified

You’ve settled on coming into new international markets. You’ve internationalized your software program. You’ve observed a localization company that specializes in adapting software program merchandise to customers whose language, habits, and expectancies may hugely differ from your very own.


So what takes place now? What is going on behind the scenes at your vendor as they localize your software? Here are the six important steps in the software localization process:

Step 1: Preparation and Analysis

To kick off the manner, you supply your localization organization with the set of files you want to be translated. These “assets” externalize textual content from the supply code, typically in formats together with java properties files,.Net resx files, traditional home windows sources, XML, or maybe simply textual content or table codecs. (Though textual content-based totally, they include sufficient software code to signify where textual content gets used, variable parameters, formatting, and different gadgets.) Agency engineers then prepare the documents for localization. They load the aid files into the chosen Translation Memory device, which parses the final code text. Then they lock down all the ultimate parts of the document that are not translatable, so translators cannot make any unintended modifications that could reason issues in a while. Also, they make certain that any variables that want to be covered inside the string for translation are blanketed but can also be moved or re-ordered inside a sentence whilst needed (i.E. A call inserted using the software program runtime). They additionally test that the source English “flows” well for translation (i.E removing useless line breaks that would disrupt translation).

Step 2: Glossary and Style Guide Creation and Approval

During this step, your localization vendor creates a glossary and fashion guide for your approval. These “language belongings” establish the key terminology and language conventions that form your product’s idea in each market. Doing this early in the localization procedure allows the entire group to paintings of the equation set of aligned assumptions along with your neighborhood market expectations and emblem.

Step 3: Translation

Translation now starts offevolved. Software localization is tough work for linguists as they may be faced with brief textual content strings that are largely out of context. Remember that they’re working in a translation memory surroundings rather than in the jogging interface. This restrained context throughout translation units software work apart from different kinds of localization projects, such as consumer manuals or websites, where the context is provided through coherent blocks of sequential sentences and paragraphs.

Training the translators to your product and imparting a copy of the English UI for reference help to mitigate this. Developer comments inside the document can assist as properly. However, the translator still has to ensure assumptions approximately how textual content is getting used – and the shorter a textual content string, the extra open it’s miles to interpretation. A single word on a button or menu can pose a bigger venture from this angle than a sentence or paragraph.


Even inside the great of circumstances, there can be many context-related questions on how to require studies, collaboration with other group participants, and escalation to the product professionals. Make certain your supplier has an awesome mechanism for verbal exchange and well-timed resolution of issues across the language crew as a way to attain first-class linguistic exceptional.

Step 4: Post-Processing

At this point, the localization engineers take yet again to put together the report for transport again to you: eliminating the content from the translation environment and putting it returned into its authentic layout; re-encoding documents in step with your specifications, and checking the tags inside the documents to make certain the interpretation team hasn’t brought any technical mistakes. If the aid files are in a format including RC, the engineer may also test dialogs, buttons, and menus for issues together with text becoming and copy hotkeys. The engineer will resize and attach as wanted.

Next, it is time to make a build of the software. The localization organization offers you a translated model of the resources you gave them; you location these translated files into your construct machine and create a localized product in the target language.

Step 5: Localization and Linguistic Testing

Is your software prepared to go? Not just yet. Testing will become aware of engineering, formatting, and language troubles that have been created all through translation; however, they are not always translation errors. This step involves testers taking walks thru the person interface inside the goal language environments (e.G., French application in French browser on French OS), commonly through a fixed of check cases prepared in advance, to view all the translated text and log any troubles that flip up.

First, the localization QA crew contains out checks to ensure all of the textual content has been translated and appears well on screen. Such checks can turn up many troubles that were not apparent before translation, which includes strings that have never been externalized, corrupted characters, truncated text, and so forth.

The truncated text is fairly not unusual as textual content tends to grow longer from English to maximum different languages (except Asian languages, which commonly settlement from the duration of the English sentence). Some text may also no longer suit the allocated space, cutting off strains or distorting the rest of the content. All such bugs are logged in a database and glued earlier than the subsequent degree of testing begins.

During linguistic trying out, linguists pass lower back over the translated text to root out any mistakes inside the language – this time within the real software program’s context, so they have a better sense of which means and nuances.


The localization group fixes any linguistic troubles they discover during this testing, and your software program developers tackle any useful or other non-linguistic troubles. You will acquire an up to date set of translated files to rebuild the software; with this updated construct, the translation corporation can work with you to confirm that every one fixes have been made.

Jeffery D. Silvers
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