Companies targeting new markets often need to localize their software products or website to make those useable for local customers. This often requires translating a product’s user interface to a local language and adapting the product to the cultural and legal requirements of the target market. Software products in this category help take the hassle out of localization by automating tedious translation tasks and by streamlining process communication. This helps overcome cultural and linguistic barriers and reduces time to market for fast expanding companies. More advanced products integrate localization into the product development process, rather than viewing it as an additional task. Some products automatically notify the translators whenever any changes are made to a project. Read the full software guide...
Localization refers to the process that takes place when content, an application, or a product is adapted according to a particular locale, specifically in terms of language, market, and culture. One of its most important components is translation functionality.
Businesses that value localization are aware of the importance of reaching out and connecting to consumers and clients on a more personal level. Thus, they focus on making their products and services identifiable with their customers, which greatly helps increase saleability.
If a customer is presented with two similar products on two different virtual stores, he or she will choose the one that uses words, figures, prices, and images that are familiar to him or her. This is because the customer will most likely purchase the product from the website that he or she can easily identify with.
Generally, localization works on language, currency, units of measurement, images and graphics, symbols, icons, and date and time formats, among others. In some cases, localization may involve the reformatting or re-conceptualization of the business process, especially if there are aspects that work against the cultural norms of the locale involved.
Localization is embraced not only by businesses and companies that want to compete globally and adhere to international standards but also by those that want to provide a good user experience to their customers and partners.
Businesses that use localization software provide their managers, developers, IT personnel, and translators with solutions that help make the localization process easier, more consistent, and efficient.
The majority of localization software solutions usually work by editing the original document, software, product, or website, as well as by saving localized resources into the final compiled binaries or on a separate database after it is localized.
However, there are specific tools that can help make the process of localization easier and more efficient.
The most common one is called CAT, short for Computer Assisted Translation. Businesses that use CAT are familiar with how it increases translation speed and efficiency. This is possible because it effectively keeps track of previous translations and how these were translated.
A good example would be when the English word “yes” is translated into “sí” in Spanish, the solution will then save this information in case the same word has to be translated again sometime in the future. As such, the translation process saves a lot of time because the information needed is already stored in the solution’s system. Déjà Vu and memoQ are just two of the popular choices for CAT solutions.
Another useful solution is a TMS, or Translation Management System, which helps translators easily manage huge files and translation volumes. TMS is used to effectively work around multiple jobs and workflows. Thus, it is possible to work through a variety of jobs without having to move around files a lot. Users can translate, edit, and work on localization engineering one after the other confidently and efficiently. Transifex is an example of one of the most popular TMS solutions.
For businesses and companies that want to make sure the right words are used, Term Base is one of the solutions that provide that feature. Basically, translators get a lot of help from this glossary when they need to determine the appropriate term that should be used when a word or phrase is translated into another language. Likewise, this solution helps assure consistency in translations, which is essential for those that value branding.
For tracking and managing errors and bugs that might crop up in translations, there are solutions known as bug tracking platforms. These collaborative solutions are not only for the use of translators but also for customers and clients who might have found an error or bug to report.
Localization likewise becomes easier with the help of QA, or quality assurance, solutions. These are the ones used to verify information and translations such as abbreviations, numbers, terminologies, and trademarks. A good example that showcases the importance of quality assurance solutions is when product names are translated.
Since it is a brand and not a general word, its language should be kept throughout the translation. For example, a restaurant’s name could be “La Vie En Rose”, which is in French. This should not be translated to English in the document or file because it is a permanent part of the brand. The QA solution helps check items like this.
The localization software used to adapt, modify, or translate visual elements is called desktop publishing, or DTP, solutions. These solutions are usually utilized for creating manuals and product packaging, among many other uses.
A file sharing and file management solution, preferably one that comes with version control, is essential for monitoring changes. Likewise, it allows users to get hold of a file’s older versions. Since older works are saved, it won’t be difficult to follow through with work even if the newer and more current versions are lost or get corrupted.
Lastly, although they are not really classified as localization solutions, screenshots are just as useful as any tool in this list. These are especially used by QA workers when they test and verify translations found on desktop publishing websites or documents, as well as those on UIs or user interfaces.
Aside from the aforementioned localization solutions, there are also a variety of localization services: website localization (for websites), software localization (for software, including packaging, brochures, and manuals), multimedia localization (pictures, sound, movies, and moving graphics) and desktop publishing localization (printed materials like books, brochures, and magazines).
There is a multitude of localization software solutions available in the market—on and offline. This makes choosing the ideal one for your business quite difficult unless you know what features or qualities to look for.
The overall criteria for choosing good localization software should involve elements that make it work efficiently. As such, it should be capable of performing the following tasks:
In addition to this, good localization software should also provide proficient and consistent glossaries. This is essential for translators as they need to have something reliable for working with English strings.
Flexibility is another quality that you should consider when choosing localization software. This means it can dig up and edit various formats of resource files for each project. This will make it easier for translators and localization personnel to determine which tool to use.
Localization software should likewise easily and efficiently monitor and track whatever changes there are in the original material or source.
It is also essential for localization software to offer options for resource localization instructions. Since there is a clear guideline, translating and localizing will be simpler, consistent, and more efficient.
Of course, no matter how good your localization software is, if your team of translators and localization personnel is not well-trained and professionally equipped to handle all the tasks expected of them, then the localization project might not be effective and efficient.
Localization offers a lot of benefits to businesses and companies, regardless of what industry one belongs to. One of these is the fact that it streamlines the translation process, making it much more effective. As such, high-quality translation is also an assurance.
In addition to this, localization can also help businesses gain an advantage over its competitors. Even if the competitors have localized their own products and services, localization will still strengthen the business as it elevates the products and services to a higher level. As such, businesses and companies become more competitive.
Localization also shows customers—including those in other parts of the world—that the company is committed to addressing their needs and providing the quality of service they desire. As a result, more and more customers around the world will stay loyal to the business, company, or brand.
Finally, localization benefits businesses because it paves the way for globalization. Localized products and services help build a strong and confident international image, increases market and consumer reach, enables effective communication with international customers and partners, and significantly enhances both local and international customer experience.