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 differ greatly from yours.


So what takes place now? What happens 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 files you want to be translated. These “assets” externalize textual content from the supply code, typically in formats with java properties files,.Net resx files, traditional home windows sources, XML, or simply textual content or table codecs. (Though textual content is total, 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 cause 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 while needed (e.g.,  A call inserted using the software program runtime). They also 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 paint the equation set of aligned assumptions and your neighborhood market expectations and emblem.

Step 3: Translation

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

Training the translators on your product and imparting a copy of the English UI for reference help to mitigate this. Developer comments inside the document can assist properly. However, the translator still has to ensure assumptions about how textual content is getting used – and the shorter a textual content string, the more open its 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 in great circumstances, many context-related questions require studies, collaboration with other group participants, and escalation to the product professionals. Ensure your supplier has an awesome mechanism for verbal exchange and well-timed resolution of issues across the language crew 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 to you: eliminating the content from the translation environment and putting it to 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 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 locate 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 created through translation; however, they are not always translation errors. This step involves testers taking walks through 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 checks to ensure all textual content has been translated and appears well on screen. Such statements can turn up many troubles that were not apparent before translation, including strings that have never been externalized, corrupted characters, truncated text, etc.

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 settle from the duration of the English sentence). Some text may 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 non-linguistic concerns. 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 fix has been made.

Jeffery D. Silvers
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