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Software localization is the process of translating the text and adjusting the functional elements of a software application so it can be used by consumers internationally. At Lionbridge we offer best-in-class methodology and the most advanced localization technologies to ensure that your software is ready for global consumption.
The best practices in software localization involve transferring the intent of the original content and user interface from one language to another while maintaining usability. The main principles of software localization apply to each of the different types of software (desktop software, web applications and mobile apps), but to ensure the highest level of service, Lionbridge applies a unique approach for each.Similarly, our approach to each software localization project is unique in order to accomplish specifically what the client wants to achieve. The following are the steps that are commonly included in a localization program:
- Design for localization: Take preemptive measures to ensure that the functionality of your source language software is best prepared for localization and international roll-out
- Translate Text Strings: Translation professionals localize all text within the software
- Complete the Build: Complete the software build with the localized text files
- Testing: Rigorously test the localized software to assure the quality of language, appearance and functionality
Clients across the globe rely on our industry-leading software localization services. Partner with us for specific needs or leverage our full capabilities that include everything from consultative services, project management, text translation, development support and testing.
See below for more detailed information on our best practice process for localizing software.
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Designing Software UI for Localization
In an effort to get the best results from the localization process this section explains best practices for designing user interface (UI) for localization. As a language service provider Lionbridge will translate the user interface strings, but it is important for developers to iron out any kinks in the source language so that they aren’t transferred to the target language. Externalizing the strings will allow for them to be easily translated. When preparing for localization make sure there is sufficient space in the UI and apply the Unicode standard to guarantee character support. Once these preproduction measures are taken, the next steps in the localization process can begin.
Lionbridge will help through consulting and development support. By examining your software architecture or code, we will provide feedback and recommend edits to ensure that the localization process goes as smoothly as possible.
Translating Software Text Strings
When localizing UI strings our common process is to use a translation memory (TM), which is a tool used to store text in both the source and target languages. Our translators then refer to the TM in order to guarantee a consistency of translation throughout the software. The strings are localized in order to remain compliant with the operating system terminology and adhere to length restrictions.
Typically during the software localization process the following elements need to be translated; UI , documentation, online help content and user generated forum support content.
Traditional Lionbridge Software Localization provides the professionals for the translation, engineering and testing parts of the process. Lionbridge onDemand supports the localization of web app and mobile app software. For the traditional Lionbridge approach contact us for a free consultation or get an instant quote with onDemand.
Compile software build with localized files: in-house or outsourced?
Software build is the process of compiling source code into executable code that results in a finished functional product. This development process is performed after string translation with the localized files.
When the localized applications are built, there will be changes that will have to be adjusted for. A common adjustment is resizing the UI elements to compensate for length changes between languages. These changes in string lengths might mean that UI layout will be affected, and UI elements like buttons will have to be resized.
These steps in the process can be handled internally or Lionbridge can help with the outsourcing. To learn more about how Lionbridge can help, contact us.
Software and Application Testing
When the user interface elements are translated the next step in the localization process is to test the software for language accuracy and functionality. Lionbridge has native speakers who test the linguistics to make sure that the language reads properly and is true to the intent. Cosmetic testing is done to identify any problems with the visuals or the layout of the application. Functionality testing is performed to confirm that the target language product displays and behaves just as the source language original on operating systems and browsers in the language of the localized application. Veritest services from Lionbridge helps to improve product quality through QA testing. We can help by using the traditional Lionbridge Software Localization or the onDemand service, which offers instant quotes and uploads. For those interested in the traditional approach, contact us for a free consultation.