Looking forward to Acclaro’s 10th anniversary? So are we! One of the things we do best here, if we may say so ourselves, is software translation, including multilingual software testing. With that in mind, let’s take a look back at some ways that software translation has changed from a decade ago versus what we do today.
Over the past decade, U.S.-based mobile software developers have opened their eyes to global markets. One major reason is the fact that many countries have robust mobile internet networks (e.g. i-mode in Japan), and mobile users can do very sophisticated things on their devices. In 2002, we rarely localized mobile apps — and when we did, it was a nightmare. Because the technology was so new, mobile app development code was largely proprietary and we had to figure out the tags and variables before we could start translating within it. And you could forget about global code support, the lack of which made linguistic testing on mobile apps a frustrating endeavor.
Now, mobile app code is a lot more user-friendly, both from a code complexity perspective as well as its ease of use with various languages. Developers generally implement Unicode and write in global-friendly frameworks like .NET and .XML, rather than the .rc files we used to see. Along with mobile apps, web-based applications are also gaining momentum, and we’re seeing more of those rolled out to global users than ever before.
Coding and the Competitive Landscape
Another notable phenomenon has been the availability of open-source software and lowered technical requirements for creating usable software. Software developers used to guard their code with their lives. Now that users are more technically savvy, and the benefit of the software lies as much in unique tricks and characteristics as in the sheer number of active users, more people can create highly technical software using available open-source code, and many do. That said, software users today generally expect a feature-rich experience, so while the coding may be simpler and more standardized, applications are more complex, structurally. This means that while we generally see a reduced number of input/output errors in linguistic testing, localization testing passes can be more comprehensive.
As mobile- and web-based apps take the international stage, traditional software formats face new competition. While we don’t see the same localization challenges ten years ago as we do today, we still need to be flexible to accommodate changes as software matures and develops to meet the needs of its users. Those changes are coming faster than ever before and are definitely keeping us on our toes.
Got questions about software localization and testing? Find me on Geek2Geek and I’ll do my best to help you out!
Photo attribution: smohundro