Software localization can be one of the most challenging projects out there. For example, new languages and syntax can interfere with your beautifully designed UI. As with all translation projects, many pitfalls can be avoided through smart planning before your project gets started. Here are three ways you can save time and money.
1. Update only when needed
Software now is in a state of continuous change, especially in Agile. But it’s likely that your localization project doesn’t need to participate in every single moment of the process. Planning to only send one update every week or month can save you both time and budget. Finalize translations as much as possible before you start testing; this will save you time in the testing cycle, making the process much smoother. Bundled changes equal faster, more efficient localization results.
2. Give your UI some more space
Although it’s tempting to fill up all your user interface with the appropriate text, if you’re thinking to translate you’ll need even more room for your new languages. That’s because the equivalent text in many Romance languages actually is longer than in English. Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French all fall in this category and can be up to 140% longer! Making room at the start means fewer bugs at testing time. If possible, test layout using the longest language of your new targets; you’ll ensure no words ever get cut off and your UI looks good no matter the content.
3. Avoid the temptations of concatenation
Piecing together individual phrases and words works well in English, but when you need to translate your software into another language, things get messy. Grammar, syntax, and other language rules for your new language will most likely break your concatenated string; context is crucial for many phrases and without knowing what’s going before or after, you’re likely to end up with nonsense. Even worse, this mistake may only appear during testing. So stick with whole sentences and get things right from the start.
Curious about other tips for software translation? Want to see more examples of concatenation in action? Read our recent newsletter article for more details on making the software translation process pain-free for everyone involved.