Translation & Localization of Software Applications

[ 0 ] October 30, 2019 |

Translating your materials from one language into another is rarely as simple a matter as literally converting every word from the original language into the second language. You know that would never sound right because of how different languages use different systems made up of grammar, vocabulary, phonology and discourse. When you’re taking your business global, you need to adapt your product or content to a specific locale or market to make it look like it was originally created for that market.

That’s one of the reasons working with a professional translation company is so important.

When you’re talking about translating software applications, the complexity increases exponentially because now you need to consider the user interface and resizing dialogs. You have to test the results to make sure the program still works. What’s at stake is a lot greater than an easily fixed phrase of text.

Your localization encompasses the entire product including software, help files, documentation, packaging, and marketing material. In software application translations, one mistake at the beginning creates a domino effect throughout the entire process, which can be extremely time-consuming and costly to fix later.

Other factors to take into account are:

  • Local APIs (Application Programming Interfaces)
  • Operating systems
  • Search engines
  • Currency and accounting standards
  • Culture-dependent meanings of icons
  • Underlying connotations of color schemes
  • Enabling various input methods
  • Right-to-left writing systems used in Arabic, Hebrew, and Farsi
  • Support for locale-dependent variations for date and time, address, and currency formats, as well as calendar system differences, such as the use of the Imperial Calendar in Japan and the Muslim and Hebrew calendars based on the Lunar Calendar.

Internalization Explained

One of the first and most important steps in the translation and localization process of software applications is internalization. Internalization is a process of preparing software for rapid and cost-effective localization into just about any language and for any market.

Internationalization does not actually involve any translation at all. It is simply modifying the software to make localization and future maintenance of international versions easier because the product is independent of any specific language and locale elements.

When you know you’re going to be translating software into other languages, it’s important your designers incorporate internationalization as a fundamental part of the product design and development process.

What internationalization involves is:

  • Separating text from code
  • Allowing enough space in user interfaces, such as hardware labels, help pages, and online menus, to allow for translation into languages that require more characters
  • And similarly, allocating enough data space for translating from languages with single-byte character codes (such as English) into languages requiring multiple-byte character codes, such as Japanese, Chinese, and Korean
  • Using web editing and authoring tools that support Unicode/international character sets
  • Designing graphic images with text labels that are easily and inexpensively translatable
  • Employing written examples that are globally understandable
  • Enabling software installation and operation with foreign characters sets, platforms, and other localized programs (also known as I18N Enablement)
  • Moving button and graphics text into string variables
  • Adopting single-source materials for documentation management

Benefits of Internalization

Internalization saves money and prevents countless problems down the road. Once your software is internalized, it:

  • Makes for a smoother translation processes and easier tracking of future updates
  • Allows you to increase the product language set
  • Lowers support costs because you only have one set of binaries, not several versions for each product
  • Gives you the ability to apply bug fixes universally to a worldwide customer base

If a better quality of code and stronger code integrity is important to you, internalization is the way to go. You’ll also see a reduction in overall costs, faster turnaround, and a more satisfied international customer base because they’ll get more efficient software updates.

Whether you’re localizing your software for a European, Asian, Middle Eastern, African or Latin American market, you’re talking about an extremely technical process. Make sure you’re working with an experienced and professional company, like Alpha Omega Translations, that can show you samples of their past work.

Request a free quote for your next software application translation. You’ll be able to rest assured your project will be managed efficiently, completed accurately, and delivered on time.

Category: Translation Services

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