What is pseudolocalization?

Imagine this: you’ve given your translation team the “go” on a website or software localization project.

Would you rather them wait until completion to see if the localization was a success? Or would you prefer they get a “sneak peek” to see how the translated text appears on the page or in the app?

Easy answer, right?

This is the power of pseudolocalization: the process of running tests to determine if a specific language is displayed properly within a localization project during the software or website development process by mechanically replacing all localizable elements with a pseudo-language that is readable by speakers of the source language.

German, for example, can lengthen character count by as much as 50 percent compared to English. French and Spanish can expand English character count translations by as much as 30 percent. There are also non-translatable elements within software, such as symbols and notations which need to be found early, not late. You can see the issues.

With pseudolocalization, translation experts can simulate website and software localization projects at particular intervals to make sure that translated text fits the page or app in the expected amount of space. These tests will help to ensure no other bugs are present like cut-off text (truncation), joined character strings (concatenation), and strings that are not made localizable (hard-coding). Hint: no surprises!

Quality assurance at every step

Pseudolocalization is considered an engineering or internationalization tool more than a localization one but vital to the long-term success of localization projects, especially those with the scope and budgets of websites and software applications.

Without pseudo-localization, translation experts are forced to fix problems “post-development.” And if you’re translating a project into multiple languages, these post-development problems add up in time and money.

Professional translation teams welcome pseudolocalization with open arms because they understand how it prevents headaches, accelerates timelines and ensures successful localization. If you’re in need of a translation team to tackle a website or software localization project (or 20), look no further than Acclaro. Our team is ready to help.

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