5 Golden Rules for Software Localization
Localization, or customizing your software or app to work in other languages and areas, can help you attract a more global audience.
It’s easy to recognize the business advantages localization can bring: It makes your software more sought after by both B2C consumers and B2B stakeholders. It also has other benefits:
- Higher global understanding of software functionality and utility
- Reduced customer support ticket frequency due to a more understandable UI/UX
- Greater competitive advantage over other software on the market
But localization is not necessarily an easy undertaking. In addition to translating text, you also have to consider conversions for measurements of distance, size, and temperature, as well as different currencies and taxes—not to mention cultural considerations.
Localization will test your development and testing teams in terms of how familiar they are with their own work, UI, and software functionality.
Here are five golden rules for software localization that will help you make your software available to a more global audience.
1. Perform Market Analysis First
Before you approach software localization, it’s good practice to plan the process several steps ahead. Explore your industry, competition, and the most popular software applications in order to discover which languages to pick. This type of pre-localization analysis will let you discover translation patterns and ways other brands localized their websites or apps, so you can learn from their successes and mistakes.
2. Choose a Toolset Early On
Once you decide on your language selection, choose several text-editing, writing, and optimization tools for your localization process. Don’t attempt ad hoc or DIY localization; there are existing tools that will get the job done.
3. Consult with Local Specialists
Tools alone probably won’t cut it. The best way to be sure of your software localization’s success is to work with local language and development specialists. For example, for your Spanish localization, you should employ Spanish testers as independent contractors to serve as QA assistants. Don’t launch software localization releases on the market without careful QA testing in order to avoid potential bad publicity and loss of customer trust.
4. Consider Culture Elements
It’s important to note that localization differs from mere translation in execution and delivery, so it’s essential for your team to decide which one to use and in what capacity. Translation represents literal, word-for-word translation of software UI elements, while localization takes cultural lingo and expectations under consideration. Leverage both for your software application.
5. Keep Your Options Open
Software localization is a process that never really ends. It’s pivotal that you keep your options open in terms of adding new languages, fixing previously overlooked mistakes, and taking customer feedback into consideration. Communicate with your user base and keep a close eye on industry developments in order to preemptively add new localization options and monetize on market changes as they come along.
A successfully localized piece of software will attract customers and business opportunities across the globe. Best of all, it will help your developers and testers familiarize themselves with the software application in greater detail during the process.
No matter the scale of your development team or the industry your software app falls into, localization is a worthwhile investment of your time and resources.