What is software localisation?

Software products must be able to be used effectively and easily by users and customers worldwide. In order for them to appear as if they have been written and developed specifically for the target market, they must be optimally adapted to cultural user behaviour in the respective country. Professional software localisation ensures precisely this.

Act global, get local: think globally and strategically across the board and taking into account the implementation of specific, regional or local requirements. This is an essential factor for success in times of economic internationalisation. We have already explained in a separate article what the thinking and actions are based on, how internationalisation and localisation differ and, above all, how they are connected. At this point we will briefly touch upon this topic and then into the details of software localisation.

From internationalisation…

Internationalisation is the (corporate) strategy of expanding into new international markets. With this in mind, it is important to design products and services so flexibly that they can be adapted to different target markets with little effort or optimised for the relevant target region and its language and culture.
In software development in particular, internationalisation means designing a programme in such a way that it can be easily adapted to other languages and cultures and with the localised without having to change the source code.

…to localisation

Localisation is the specific derivation: the term refers to a process in which the designed product is adapted to a specific target market. This way, localisation ensures that the product or service is highly relevant to a certain target group and market.
In software development, localisation stands for the adaptation and translation of a software product – the software itself and the complete product documentation – to the local linguistic and cultural conditions in a specific sales or usage area (country, region or group).

What distinguishes software localisation from translation?

Basically, software localisation is not really different from translation, instead it goes well beyond it. Translation is a component of localisation projects, which also includes tasks such as project management, software engineering, testing and desktop publishing (DTP).

One major difference, however, is that in conventional language services, the translation is usually carried out after the source language document has been completed. Software localisation projects, on the other hand, are often carried out in parallel with the development of the source product to ensure the simultaneous provision of several language versions. For example, the translation of the user interface is often already started while the software product is still in the beta phase or, for example, work is done with agile sprints, which require translations that are quickly available and coordinated with each other.

What does professional software localisation need?

Look & feel and user experience cannot simply be translated. A perfectly localised software product is much more convincing with a user interface that looks and acts as if it was written and developed specifically for the target market. For localisation – as with website localisation – a number of key factors must be taken into account in addition to the language. These include units of measurement and number formats, currency conversions, address, date and time formats, paper formats, fonts including selected standard fonts, different capitalisation, punctuation, word and hyphenation, local regulations and conventions, copyright and data protection, payment methods, taxes and so on.

What does software localisation at oneword involve?

For smooth software localisation, the process at oneword begins well before the actual software translation and localisation. File formats are tested for localizability and prepared. Strings to be localised and other text parts in file formats are analysed and extracted accordingly so that all text parts and strings are recognised and the translation doesn’t cause any problems afterwards. This prevents the subsequent translation from causing problems. During and after translation, our quality assurance systems ensure that texts and word choice are used consistently throughout – whether on the software interface, in the online help or the user manual, and across all version updates.

We know what is needed for effective localisation and have the linguistic and technical expertise to adapt the software to the different end users of our clients in the best possible way. Our optimised processes and localisation technologies help you save time with implementation, costs and unnecessary rework on every localisation project.

  • Certified localisation processes in accordance with DIN ISO 17100

  • Only native-speaker software translators with cultural knowledge of user conventions and target markets

  • Use of professional localisation software, such as Trados Studio, Passolo and Across

  • Additional localisation of graphics, scripts and other media

  • Linguistic checking of all components

Do you develop and distribute multilingual software that needs to be used effectively and easily in each target market? Then talk to us. Our localisation experts will be happy to advise you on the measures and possibilities.

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