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A Guide to Software Localization Process

Communications have become ever-present due to the mobile revolution, and now, in the digital era, everything has evolved and shifted to be a few clicks away. Whether to buy a product or service, search for a piece of information, or to listen to music, we all depend on our devices to do almost everything and fulfill our daily basic and luxury needs. 

According to Statista, there were 7.1 billion mobile users worldwide in 2021, and it’s expected to reach 7.49 billion in 2025. And now, the world population has grown to 7.7 billion. So, can you do the math? More than 80% use mobiles, which gives you a sense of the current global market and the infinite international opportunities for businesses. With this in mind, you can grasp the idea behind the need for software localization. 

No one can deny the power of software localization that assists businesses in reaching their global success goals. Software localization recreates any piece of software, including websites and mobile apps, according to a specific locale’s linguistic, cultural, and technical preferences to resonate with a new audience.

If you have international ambitions for your business and are already planning to globalize your websites or mobile app, this blogpost is for you. In this post, you’ll understand the definition and importance of software localization and have a closer look at the software localization process.

  1. What Is Software Localization?
  2. What Is Involved in Software Localization?
  3. Why Do You Need Software Localization?
  4. What Is Software Localization Process?

What Is Software Localization?

Localizing a software product doesn’t only mean translating it. The software localization process goes beyond that. It involves the whole experience of the end-user, including the text, images, and design. What’s more, the software localization process embraces modifications to the user interface as a whole. 

But, firstly, what is software localization? 

Software localization is the process of adjusting a program or an app to meet all the linguistic and cultural requirements of a specific region, fitting in with a particular audience. The purpose of localization is to bring familiarity in the look and feel of the software, by which the target users feel that it was built in their home country and specifically for them. But that doesn’t mean that the outcome compromises the identity of the software. Localization seeks to combine the originality of your product and the target audience’s requirements so your brand remains recognizable to your audience nonetheless.

What Is Involved in Software Localization?

Before we get the chance to answer this question, you should get yourself familiar with the term “internationalization.” It is the step before localization to pave the way for all the changes to come, making it possible for the software to support multiple languages and any local requirements. In other words, it prepares the program for international markets, as its name suggests.

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As you can see, internationalization and localization are not the same. Internationalization’s primary focus is the code, while localization is about user experience.

Internationalization brings modifications for the following aspects and more: 

  • Language: Internationalization looks into the language direction, length, and space requirements. Put another way; it facilitates the process of supporting different languages’ needs, such as Arabic language and Hebrew, which are right-to-left languages, and the German language, which uses longer words than English.
  • User Interface Layout: It should be designed to accept any alterations.
  • Date & Time: The software should accept the various date and time variations since countries use different formats. 
  • Characters: Developers should ensure that the software can read different languages’ characters and scripts.
  • Currency Symbols: Preparing the software to support different currencies is a must, primarily if the software is meant to offer prices and online payment.

 

These previous aspects are some of what internationalization focuses on before embarking on any localization efforts, which helps reduce time to market and reduce any extra charges. 

As for the software localization phase, here are some of the aspects that localization adjusts in software: 

  • On-Page Content: It includes all textual content, forms, error messages and strings, action buttons, payment methods, dialog boxes, menus, date and time…etc.
  • Graphic Design: Pictures, symbols, and other visual elements should also resonate with the target audience since different cultures require different functional preferences. For example, the hand gesture that means “Okay” in the US culture is offensive to other cultures. So, it’s vital not to overlook these nuances to avoid confusion in the best scenario and compromise brand image and users’ trust at worst.

UX Design: The technical preferences of the target markets should be explored and analyzed, and accordingly, software designs should be modified. This step might include alterations in the placement or size of the buttons, fonts and the layout, form fills, and more. Airbnb is an excellent example of a successful multilingual localized UX design.

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Why Do You Need Software Localization?

Before we jump into the software localization process, we’d like to share the benefits that localization can bring to your business. 

So, why localize your software? 

Let’s start by listing these numbers:

.According to CSA Research, 76% of global consumers prefer to purchase products and services in their native language.

.40% won’t buy at all from websites that speak foreign languages.

.1.5 billion speak English worldwide out of 7.9 billion people. 

.360 million people only speak English as their first language. 

 

As is evident from these numbers, it’s impossible to plan to enter a new market without considering speaking the target region’s language. And even though English is the lingua franca of today’s globalized world, it’s not the best decision to go for when entering a non-speaking English locale. 

Imagine how many customers you can lose if you decide to speak only your local language or English in a region where Asian languages are spoken, for example!

Here are the reasons behind the need for software localization:

 

Earning Your Customer’s Trust & Loyalty

As stated above, customers won’t trust your brand without serious localization efforts. Customizing and executing a complete experience that is linguistically natural and culturally appropriate is essential to winning over new global customers. And once you achieve what your customer expects, you’ll gain what exceeds expectations: their loyalty, which in return will be reflected in expanding your customer base, loyalty, and revenue.

Taking A Shortcut to Your Target Market & Audience

Software localization is your best bet to carve a place for your business in a new market. It helps you get off the journey on the right foot by building a powerful presence. You will construct strong brand awareness and stand out from the crowd through top-grade software localization approaches. Also, you will be able to reach a broader customer base by cutting through the language and cultural barriers and appealing to the local region’s preferences.

Increasing Your Business’s Revenue

Solid software localization strategies generate much more money than you invest, as simple as that. According to Forrester Research, an excellent user interface can increase conversion rates by up to 200%, and a well-tailored user experience design can do wonders by up to 400%. So, you can consider software localization as your sure win when coming to new foreign market entry. 

A Compact Guide to Software Localization Processes

Explore the different forms of the software localization process

What Is Software Localization Process?

Let’s take a deep look at the steps of the software localization process: 

  • Initial Communication & Evaluation: The project manager and localization team will meet up with the client to understand the project’s scope and requirements. Accordingly, the team will decide on the most suitable localization strategy that takes into account your instructions and your target region’s expectations.
  • Internationalization: Here, a team of cross-disciplinary experts will prepare your software for any future changes related to localization. 
  • Translation & Editing: At this step, the localization team will extract the strings that will be translated from the source code to work on them separately. With the help of an advanced translation management system, linguists translate the content to the target language. But, sometimes localization and translation services providers utilize machine translation (if required by the client) to initially translate the project, and then a post-editing step takes place.
  • Integration: In this phase, the developers and designers work hand in hand to integrate the translated text into the user interface. And any required technical changes will take place.
  • Testing & Quality Assurance Phase: Here, a team of testers will run the program, technically and content-wise identifying any errors in the outcome to be fixed. They also make sure that everything goes as planned and matches the required standards of the client.
  • Delivery Phase: The localization team delivers the final project’s version after making the needed changes according to the client’s feedback.

At this point, you can say that you know all you have to learn about software localization for your future business endeavors. Now, what are you waiting for to reap all the benefits of software localization?


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