In this post, we are going to discuss Software Localization, software localization best practices, and software localization translation in detail.
What is Software Localization?
Software localization is the process of adapting software to the culture and language of its end-user. It involves not only translation but also design and UX changes to make software look and feel natural to the target user.
Software localization is more than just translating key sections of text into different languages. It also involves adjusting the design of the software to fit the cultural norms of the target market. This might include changing the size and placement of buttons, as well as other design elements. It can also involve modifying the code on the backend to make it easier for employees in different regions to manage and update the software.
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Imagine if you had to localize a software application from French into English. A simple translation might leave you with text and instructions that are clear enough, but with significant usability problems.
The font might be too small to read clearly or may not support English characters, while the length of the text might have shrunk to the point where visual elements on the page look odd. That’s before we even consider the preferences of English users, who might like more information on each page or a different visual layout.
When you take a closer look at all of these software localization problems, you’ll see that it’s a much more complicated and important process than it seems at first glance.
Why is software localization translation required or important?
With technology, we can communicate with people from all over the world. This is a great thing, both for developers and users. For developers, it means there is a potentially unlimited market for any new program or application. For users, it means they can communicate with people from all over the world.
Software localization can help you avoid potential pitfalls and ensure that your product always puts its best foot forward when marketed to international users. A poorly localized product could damage your global sales and brand loyalty, but with localization, you can avoid these negative consequences.
What is Software Localization Testing?
Software localization testing is a way to ensure that software behaves as intended when used in different areas around the world. This could be anything from verifying accuracy in a specific city to ensuring suitability for an entire country. By testing in different locations, you can catch any errors or discrepancies in the software before it’s released to the public.
Localization testing ensures that software appears correctly and functions as expected in multiple locations around the world. This is more than just making sure the app works – it’s about delivering a customized user experience based on locale, preferences, and individual needs.
Software Localization Best Practices
Here are some tips to help you avoid these problems, save time and money, and produce a product that is of high quality for the global market.
Design with localization in mind
To save time and money, create a design that is localization-friendly from the start. Your design should be easy to translate and have a structure that prevents common localization mistakes.
Store all translatable content Separate
The first step in making your application truly internationalized is to move all your text out of the code and into resource files. This allows translators and engineers to work on updates simultaneously, without fear of code duplication or damage.
Create a proper style guide and glossary
The style guide ensures that your software and documentation have a unified look and feel, improving the quality of your translations and minimizing inconsistencies. It also adds professionalism to your work, saving you time and money in the process.
Plan for text expansion
Translated text can often take up more space than the original English text. To ensure that your layout can handle the expansion, be sure to leave enough room for dynamic UI expansion in your software. If there are strings that are too long to fit within a certain size, you can include comments in the resource file to indicate that.
Use Unicode/UTF-8 encoding of strings
To ensure your software runs smoothly and without any errors, always use Unicode/UTF-8 encoding. This encoding allows your software to support any language in the world and also helps you in reducing development and support costs.
Use icons with care
Icons can be a more efficient way to communicate a message, as they typically require less translation and can reduce cost. However, not all symbols are universal or neutral, so it’s important to choose icons that will be understood by your target audience.
Software Localization Check List
Here’s the localization testing checklist.
User Interface Tests:
Here are some of the UI tests.
- How does the UI allow changing language?
- Does language change affect UI?
- How does the UI react to the RTL support?
- How does the UI react to change in language and getting back to English?
- How does the hyphen handled by UI after language change?
- How does the line break for UI titles?
- Does the UI perform as per specification despite the language change?
- Does the UI get affected due to a language change?
- Do the hyperlinks function properly?
- Do the menu links function properly?
- Do the keyboard shortcuts perform after language change?
- Does the UI support multiple keyboards depending on the region?
- Does the input within UI support region-specific characters?
- Does the input gets validated for multiple languages?
- Does the database reflect as per the language changes?
- Does the software default to English if no language is chosen?
Region Specific Tests:
These are some region-specific tests that every product needs to look at before release.
- Does the date and time format according to the region?
- Does the currency symbol according to the region?
- Do the usability symbols know within a particular region?
- Do UI action symbols (question mark, stop symbol, file, save symbol) know within the particular region?
- How the currency symbols and numbers are formatted?
- How are the colors for symbols and UI allocated for a particular region?
- How are the phone numbers formatted for a particular region?
- How is the region-specific restriction added to a particular region?
- Does the translation work correctly for the UI?
- Does the translation free of errors?
- Does translation regularly updated for new features in UI?
- Does the lack of translation is replaced by English by default?
- Does the lack of translation replaced by space or symbols?
- Does the translation of UI corrupt?
- Does the translation of UI inaccurate?
These are some of the localization tests that I have found so far. You can come up with more tests depending on the UI you are testing. I’d appreciate it if you share your suggestion on the criteria listed in this article. I am open to suggestions and comments.
What is software localization?
Software localization is the process of adapting software to different languages, cultures, and regions by integrating translation and voice-control features. It is considered essential for increasing the credibility of companies in target markets and for laying a strong foundation for improving language accuracy in the future. But more than that, it also brings great economic benefits to local businesses and employees.
What is the importance of localization testing?
The purpose of localization testing is to ensure that your product is ready for global markets. It includes making sure all the text is translated correctly, and that your user interface is adjusted to fit the culture of your target audience.
What does a software localization engineer do?
There is a lot that goes into localization, and the engineers who handle it are responsible for a lot of the behind-the-scenes work that makes sure a website or app works well in other languages.