The First Three Steps of Software Localization

Category: Software Translation, Technology

The First Three Steps of Software Localization

Now that you’ve decided to enter into the rich global software market (after internationalizing your product, of course), what’s next? Well, it’s a fascinating – and fairly complex – process. You’ll definitely want to partner with a localization company that’s skilled and experienced in adapting software to make it easy to use and appealing to your future customers around the world.

Let’s take a look at what goes on behind the scenes at your vendor as they localize your software. We’ll sketch out the first three steps below. And if you’re serious about your pending software localization project, we invite you to read our more thorough explanation here, complete with all six major steps.

Step 1: Preparation and Analysis
The first step is to identify the source files that contain the localizable text, zip them up and send them off. Your source files may be in formats such as java properties files, .net resx files, traditional windows resources, xml or even just text or table formats. Your agency will prepare them for translation, carefully locking down the non-translatable code to ensure that the localized software functions exactly as it does in English.

Step 2: Glossary and Style Guide Creation
Localization best practices include creation of a style guide and a glossary, which will be reviewed with you to ensure your vendor’s terminology and language conventions are on target. This provides continuity and consistency from the very start, as well as building in your own stylistic preferences and requirements.

Step 3: Translation
It’s go time! Software localization can be challenging as strings are often provided out of context, and translators might not have access to the running application as they dig in. Often, additional research is needed to make sure that the vaguer terms are translated appropriately. This is a unique feature of software localization projects, versus documentation or websites where the context is coherent and sequential.

Though this is just a quick outline of the initial software localization steps, covering only the first half of the process, you can see how complex the process can be. Again, we encourage you to delve deeper with our full article on all six steps. And our top 10 tips on software localization can also be a big help in successfully navigating through your first – or your next – software localization project.