‘‘If you are trying to persuade people to do something, or to buy something, it seems to me that you should use their language, the language they are using every day, the language in which they think.’’- David Ogilvy

Business is now becoming more and more global, meaning more competition but also a great potential when it comes to making your product a success. Localization (also referred to as "l10n") is the process of adapting a product or content to a specific locale or market. Translation is only one of several elements of the localization process. With localization being the fourth fastest growing industry in the United States, it is never too early to start anticipating what will be required for localizing software for specific regions.

To help you achieve a successful software localization launch, here are some of the key points to take into consideration when localizing the software:

  1. Choose your target.

When going global with your software, make sure to be clear about which target languages it is trying to reach, as well as the challenges that are unique to each one. For a consultancy and professional service you have to work with your language service provider to determine the most cost effective way to achieve localization in time for your deadline.

  1. Understand the local market.

By truly understanding local markets and incorporating cultural sensitivities into design and development, you won’t just meet users’ expectations; you’ll transform their experience.

  1. Have the source language in perfect condition.

Source content should not be ambiguous or inconsistent, but rather clear, concise and grammatically correct. Mistakes in the English (or other source language) content could be replicated and slow the localization process down. Use brief sentences. No synonyms. No acronyms. Standard language.

  1. Assemble a glossary.

A glossary should include your most common terms, phrases, keywords, product and company names, abbreviations, acronyms and terms. This will save you time and money.

  1. Localize your icons.

Software localization best practices aren’t only concerned with textual communication. Visuals hold different connotations for different cultures. Icons—without text—are beneficial because they require less translation and can reduce cost.  It is important to remember that not all symbols are universal or neutral.

  1. Consider space for text.

English text strings that are translated into other languages will most likely contract or expand. This is because several languages require at least 30 percent more space than English, such as the 60 percent additional space that could be needed for Finnish, whilst other languages need less space.

  1. Be careful with language formats.

In addition to translated text expanding or contracting, some languages require different formats. For example, Hebrew and Arabic read from right to left, while others, such as Chinese, call for vertical space. With this in mind, prepare to address unique and specialized text formats.

  1. Use Code UTF-8.

The most popular Unicode format is UTF-8 and it is always the best option for software localization. By using Unicode, you can create code that manages the standards of all your target regions. Because it contains only one definition for every character, corrupted characters are unlikely to occur. Unicode can support global language scripts.

  1. Test for Quality Assurance.

Quality assurance is critical for a successful software localization launch. During testing, check for mistakes in functionality and coding, as well as grammatical errors and inconsistencies. A vital part of this process is to have the software tested by a native linguist of the target language.

Making sure that content is properly localized ensures that your brand is received well by any market, anywhere in the world. As you can imagine, failure to do so can result in you offending someone or even sounding crazy to a local, which will certainly not increase your global reach or sales.

The Software Localization Services Process at PoliLingua

Internationalization ᐳ Localization ᐳ Localization Testing

PoliLingua focuses, throughout the software localization services process, on creating the same intended user experience for your application internationally regardless of the device. Contact us for more information on the localization process or get a free quote if you are ready to reach global markets.