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Common Mistakes to avoid software localization

Software Localization

Suppose a successful business venture introduces a new strategy for entering a new market. But wait! Just within the short period the sales turn down, ROI becomes barely manageable and turnover rate increases.

What went wrong?

Sometimes it may so just happen the anticipated strategy had its drawbacks without the proper localization. Since localization is convening itself as one of the fastest-growing industries of the century one cannot undermine its importance. You need to be familiar with software localization services being provided by the different agencies.

Why not help save costs on bugs and updates?

Let’s take a quick look at how to avoid repeating common mistakes in software localization and make your business a thriving entity.

  1. The difference between language and locales:

One of the most common mistakes a business can make is to confuse language with the locality. Ever heard of the same language but in different regions? This rule is applicable here.

For instance, English is commonly spoken in the US, UK, and Australia, but their accent and tone will vary from one another. Usually, the language is comprised of two codes:

  • Language designator
  • Region designator

English United States – en-USUS or English Britain – en – GB or English Australia – en – AU all three of them represent English as the common language but also the locality is associated according to the region. This will helps to localize the language more appropriately. Once region designation is focused you can focus on spellings, grammar, units, data formats and so on.

1.Lack of system integration:

A weak link between the integrated system and resources can be the reason behind poor translation. To make sure your translation doesn’t lack the quality you need to streamline the process and make sure that resources are properly centralized.

Lack of centralized resources means a lack of localization standards. To avoid the poor quality while maintaining the lower costs you need to enforce the centralized localization assets in your development practices, technologies and tools as well. To make this strategy work you need to hire competitive language service provider services.

2. Avoid embedding Hard code Text:

The software localization team doesn’t need to embed the hard code in the code. It affects quality localization quality. The not only language is to be focused but different formats count in localization as well for instance:

  • Units – some regions might recognize kilograms instead of pounds
  • Date – DD.MM.YYYY (25.12.1999) may not be the format used in another part of the world or MM.DD.YYYY (12.25.1999) may not be acceptable to the other half.
  • Time – in some countries a 12-hour format or some 24-hour format might be used.

Hence languages, units, date and time format vary from region to region. While coding this should be kept in mind no to embed text in the code.

3. Lack of Unicode Support:

If your server is in English but browsing is in Chinese, it’s bound to corrupt the characters. To avoid the conflict, the software localization services make sure to use UTF-8 (Unicode Transformation Format 8-bit) encoding to represent all Unicode characters. It’s one of the unavoidable practice for a software localization to help avoid corrupting characters.

With the help of Unicode, you can target locales by handling the requirements. Using Unicode ensures to support worldwide language scripts. It’s imperative to use Unicode by the software localization services.

Make sure of one thing, if you are associated with Asian languages than you should use UTF-16.

4. Lack of context:

Facing ambiguity in every language is common. To use your software, translators need context to have the desired understanding of the word, pronoun, verb, etc. to reduce the noise in the context, make notes and add comments while working on the strings.

For a more productive result, you can provide notes alongside to minimize the risk of poor quality translation. Don’t forget, context-dependent interpretation is a must thing to do to retain the original context of the translation language. Using code comments is useful as well. This way you will be able to provide context information directly to a translator from source files.

In short, one can say, the more context note, the better the localization will be. If using XML, HTLM, etc. then code comments are an asset.

5. Use of images in context:

The use of images is a great way to minimize the word count and also cuts the localization cost. But whenever you need to use a graphic remember to separate t from the text. Separating text from the image will help manage the localized version. It’s a simple yet effective strategy.

In an ideal situation, using an image to boost visual representation sounds appealing, but an image with no context is most suitable but you also need to cater to the cross-culture differences as well. Whichever image or symbol you use, make sure that it will not divert the original context in the translated language. Just remember, sometimes the same image or symbol is impossible to use in another region due to cultural barriers.

What should you do?

To avoid conflict, you can save a lot of trouble with testing the localization software services often. You can use the automated translation tests or test the localization in patches to overcome any error in the making.

If done right, localization isn’t daunting. It’s a creative but time taking process. So you’d better start thinking about it in the early development stage.

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