If you were tasked with localizing software, then you not only understand the importance of using software localization tools but are also aware of how challenging the process is.
When you localize your software, you’re showing yourself up to global markets. Instead of limiting yourself to a single market, you’re potentially bring yourself up to millions of other users for yourself by localizing your software, but what is localization, and what software localization tools should you use?
What Is Software Localization?
When you localize your software, you’re not only translating it to your target market. You’re changing everything needed from design elements and the overall visual layout to cultural references and backend coding for that region. Other components of software localization include, but are not limited to:
- Error messages
One thing to keep in mind is that professional document translation and software localization are two different things. A professional document translation service can handle everything from software manuals and instructions to marketing materials using translation tools for the software. You can use this service parallel to the software localization.
Anyone who wants to reach an audience beyond their local market already knows the billions of USD worth of potential revenue when expanding their business using software localization tools. When you’re focusing on the globalization of your project, you’re opening yourself up to new markets which boosts your global presence.
More global presence means you’re credible in the eyes of your target consumer. You’re opening your business or product as a respected global brand and consumers will appreciate the effort.
So, who needs software localization? International businesses, e-commerce businesses, game developers, and others who wish to have their software product properly localized will benefit from software localization.
Often, these businesses and developers simply use basic translation instead of attempting to localize on a cultural level. This can cause cultural issues that lead to an overall loss of revenue. Consumers in your target market will believe you didn’t make the effort to make your software intuitive or targeted for their specific needs. Even a simple emoji can be interpreted differently in other cultures.
There are a couple of things you need to consider when localizing your software. Localization workflow management takes more time than simply translating software line by line. If you’re a solo entrepreneur or a small team with dedicated roles, it might be difficult for your team to handle the task without specific localization management tools.
Not planning properly for your localization can cause the project to fail. Many businesses don’t view software localization as something they must consider early in product development. Software localization starts with keeping the source language simple enough for translation into other languages, not hard-coding strings, and using the right software, and choosing an effective localization management platform.
When choosing a tool for software localization, there are a couple of things you should consider:
- How effective is the software at managing your localization workflow?
- How effective is the software at reducing the risk of localization errors?
- Does the software offer continuous localization during and after development?
- Can the localization tool automate content updates for your software?
Continuous localization efforts are often overlooked and can throw a wrench in your business’ globalization plan. One reason behind this is some content is often missed, which can mean this content is not localized and can cause issues in the long run.
One of the major issues for those not following a continuous localization effort is having to handle plenty of files, translations, coding errors, and other issues that take a significant amount of time to deal with at the end of a development cycle. When dealing with agile projects, there are flexible localization management tools that are great for software management. They save you a lot of time, for example, you may download translations automatically, the platform compares your file with the previous one, and understands what was added and what should be translated.
Crowdin is a popular localization management platform that’s intuitive and very user-friendly. Many professional localization services use Crowdin as their localization platform of choice for many projects. When dealing with agile projects, Crowdin is one of the more popular choices for continuous localization.
Lokalise is also a popular choice for localization management alongside Crowdin. While Lokalize doesn’t offer support for as many file formats as Crowdin and has fewer API integrations, its advanced admin access settings are more advantageous for those who need a little more control over their platforms. Users will also appreciate Lokalise’s ability to read screenshot text for easy conversion to the editor.
Unlike the other two software localization tools, SmartCAT is a freemium product where users can unlock certain features by paying for them. Lokalize requires a paid subscription alongside Crowdin, with the latter having paid subscriptions available. For a freemium tool, SmartCAT supports more file formats than Lokalise and offers built-in financial transactions within the platform.
Each localization management system comes with its pros and cons, but they all provide the tools you need for localizing your software. It really depends on your goals and whether you want to apply an agile methodology for continuous localization rather than trying to localize at the end of your development cycle.
However, if you don’t mind spending a little more money on premium localization features, then Crowdin or Lokalise gives you the best tools, integration, and interface for your localization needs. But what if you would rather have a professional team manage these localization platforms for you?
Whether you need something as simple as document translation or need a professional service for software localization that uses the best localization platforms, a professional localization company will take care of your needs. They will consult with you and your needs to provide the best solution for your localization projects.