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What is Software Localization and its Important Types?

by MoralStory Editorial Team
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Software Localization

The localization of software is a complex process that adapts the digital experience for users who speak a different language and caters to the needs of people who live in different countries. It is a process that goes beyond translation that has to address the user interfaces according to cultural values. After it does matters how you convey your point.

A smooth and seamless software localization is inevitable for a great user experience. It also affects the process of how the user can understand and interact with the page, window, and screen. The content should be culturally connected and should present a good context. Following these practices can increase the value of the product. 

What is Software Localization?

Localizing software is crucial to launch your software to a different target audience. It adapts the software with reference to language and culture adaptabilities. It also includes localization of date and time formats, including currency symbols and text direction.

However, it is important to take note that software localization is different from internationalization as localization is about presenting a customer with a product according to his market norms and practices whereas internationalization requires the adaption of the code as well.

Also, internationalization deals with the design and development of the product and application in particular. It is the process that allows localization to happen.

Localization rather is more into the translation of separated content threads to the target language and it can take place after internationalization. However, this process goes further. It includes cultural and country-related prospects of the different languages.

Such as

  • Links and other resources
  • Calendars
  • Accounting standards
  • Hand symbols, gestures, or signage
  • Times and dates and times
  • Culturally appropriate images
  • The phrasing of the sentences
  • Spelling and dialect within the same languages, such as the differences between French spoken in France and the Canadian French
  • Right-to-left languages like Arabi, Farsi, or Hebrew

Types of Software Localization

Professional translation services are the prerequisite of seamless localization. Localization is a broad term and process and almost every product and business is being localized these days.

Three important types of localization a software are

  1. Waterfall Localization

This type of localization is the first type of localization and it is carried out at a particular time during the development cycle of the software. This process is also a post-release method and could lead to the string freeze method too. Once the localization experts complete the localization, software strings are taken and then uploaded manually in the backlog for merging and publishing.

Benefits:

One of the important benefits includes that it offers to market the source language in a fast time. As localization is usually started after the launch of a product in this type of software.

Downsides: 

  • You might experience delays in the translation process as it gets slow when it comes to rolling out in multiple languages.
  • Designs might erupt and break during the translation of the process
  • Localization bugs might cause a dent in your pocket and are quite costly.
  • Risk of poor UX
  1. Agile Localization

The second type of software localization is agile localization. It is quite popular among entrepreneurs. However, translation is a must for all types whether it is software translation or multimedia translation. This form of localization synchronizes the localization with the development process so that both can operate simultaneously. The software can easily detect new and modified strings automatically. They also get delivered quickly when they are ready for the process of merging and publishing.

Benefits: 

It enhances efficacy and offers a flexible localization workflow.

Downsides: 

It might require highly experienced localization engineers as this is a complex process.

  1. Continuous localization

Whether it is software localization or professional game localization services, it is not easy and rather complex throughout. Continuous localization is a bit similar to agile localization. It is quite close to an automated and seamless process of localization. This integrates with CI/CD method that is also used by big companies to deliver software to their customers.

Content is always ready for release in continuous localization. However, in agile localization, the content is not always ready rather the experts have to wait until the sprint is completed.

There are five key steps to follow for having a strong grasp of continuous localization.

  1. The developers in the first step work on translation keys and store the codes in a repository such as GitHub which connects it to a TMS later.
  2. These translation keys are then provided to the project managers.
  3. Managers set the project scope and define it, pre-translate the content and it is further assigned to linguists for quality translation.
  4. The QA team then reviews and verifies the translations.
  5. In the next step, developers pull back the translated keys into the repository. They further work on accomplishing the deployment of localized assets.

Benefits:

This process is beneficial in a way that it can detect design breaks in the early stages.

It provides feedback from the stakeholders quite early.

The ratio of localization errors is low in this variant.

You can launch your software in multiple markets at the same time using this type of localization.

Downsides:

The process of localization is integrated into the product development so it could delay the process and expect more time to launch localization.

Conclusion

Software localization deals with the adaption of software according to the cultural and market norms of the target market. There are three types of localization of software which are waterfall, continuous and agile localization. All three are important and have their benefits and shortcomings.

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