Software Localization: 5 Best Practices for Scaling Globally
Today, having only an English version of your website or software is no longer sufficient. The majority of users expect to be completely engaged with websites, apps, and other tech solutions in their native language.
This means that they should be able to understand how your software product works, how to access different features, and how to use it with as little friction as possible in their own language.
All of this requires that businesses devise methods for properly adapting websites and software solutions to other languages and cultures. Without having reliable tools in place, localization can be extremely difficult, but a software localization platform can make it much easier.
Let’s go through various practices that will help you take your localization efforts to the next level.
Define your Localization Process
When working across several languages, all teams participating in the software creation process must collaborate to establish how internationalization and localization fit into the picture.
Internationalizing your product correctly, implementing content authoring best practices, and making UX decisions early on in the software development life cycle are all crucial. These will assist you in achieving a superior UX (and hence a higher ROI) in your target markets.
In addition to accelerating your process, saving you time and money, and providing a firm basis as the quantity and complexity of your target languages increase, optimizing these elements will assist you in improving your workflow and saving you money.
By working closely with your clients to gain an understanding of their organizations and build awareness of the need for localization among their teams, you should enable them to make business and technical decisions that are appropriate for their organization’s context.
Figurative language and many other literary styles are difficult to translate. If you anticipate that your content will be translated, your content creators can facilitate the process by employing intentional authoring.
This is the practice of authoring your material for a global audience with clarity and consistency. It includes thinking outside the source language, which is a desirable habit for any work that may be translated.
Authors of content who employ intentional authoring alleviate a number of the difficulties connected with software localization. In addition, this helps lower the overall cost of translation and increases the quality of the final material, particularly when designing software for an international audience.
Each Local Language has to be Considered
There are numerous factors to consider while translating software language that may not always be apparent even to a native speaker. Even if the translation itself is accurate, other features of the language’s structure might have a significant impact on the UX of the finished product.
Some languages, for example, are naturally more wordy than others. What may be a concise and comprehensible text in English may take up more space in other languages, leaving you with less screen area for visuals, a bad layout, and even readability concerns caused by inappropriate scaling.
Another consideration is the language’s symbols. Not all languages utilize the Latin alphabet, and Asian languages can be particularly challenging to format in a way that makes sense to the reader and is simple to comprehend.
You should adopt a holistic approach to each localization project you undertake, examining the unique qualities of the language and applying those insights to guarantee that you build unique solutions for that specific case, as opposed to employing a universal strategy.
Time, Date, and Currencies
Date and time formats differ substantially across the globe. This also applies to different currencies. Rather than hardcoding currencies, dates, and times, one of the best practices for software localization is to code in a global format, such as ISO time, and then format it for your unique location using an open-source library.
Universal formats are particularly useful when it comes to date-selection tools. For example, the United Kingdom begins the week on Monday, the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, and the United States on Sunday. Utilizing the jQuery UI date picker can help you overcome this difficulty.
Coding is performed from left to right. When reading a book, the text is usually read from left to right. However, Hebrew and Arabic are read from right to left.
There is a directional property in HTML and CSS, however, that doesn’t take precedence over the “float: right” and “float: left” CSS properties. With fixed positioning layouts, you may need to create an entirely new set of style sheets for your right-to-left items.
Software localization brings many issues to multinational organizations. However, if you ensure that your team is aware of the potential obstacles and best practices for overcoming them, you’ll be in a position to provide an exceptional customer experience in all of your worldwide markets.