Friday, 10 April 2015

Painless Software Localization – Here is The Key!

Painless Software Localization – Here is The Key!

Software had made many changes in easing our lifestyle, automating out industrial needs and performing routine tasks in much controlled way. Technology has grown leaps and bounds that it has spread to the whole world like a virus at a much quicker pace. As the world advances with it, the language becomes a great barrier to deploy the software that serves a certain purpose. The computer programming language is pretty universal and can be adapted across geographies as it is driven by specifications. It is the Human Machine Interface, otherwise called as the Man machine Interface (MMI) that poses a big challenge with various languages spoken in the world, some with dialects and some without. In this article we will have a quick look how to adapt the localization principles for developed software projects in ease of use for other cultures and regions.

When to start localizing software

Localizing a software is not as easy as translating a piece of document. A document is a product which is translated by an expert after the document is produced. Whereas localising software needs to start when the project is initiated. It needs to run parallel with the design and interface specifications of the product that is being developed. The GUI interfaces need to be universalised and notations needs to be worked out as part of the project design phase. The product is in the making when the localisation is performed unlike traditional document translation. And localising a software product doesn’t end with translating from one language to another for the language strings, but it involves rigorous testing methods and integration of dictionary tools to roll out successfully.

Process to perform localization

Localise to fit the culture

Localising of software should blend with the look and feel of the final product. It has to fit in with the cultural perspective. This involves cultural assessment and evaluation of linguistic tools required for the localization. The localisation also needs to take into account of the way the scripts are written or read. In some languages, they run from right to left like in Arabic and in some they are read from top to bottom. So the software design that is performing the localization should take this in to account in the layouts and designs of forms.

    Create glossary and grammars

Creation of a glossary of terms and any grammar and thesaurus tools needs to be planned for in a software localisation project. Software caters to various domains and multiple human groups so a well document glossary should be factored mandatorily. They should help in understanding the targeted language.

    Translate not just the language but the user interface

As said already, software translation is not just redefining from one language to another, but is a cultural fitment of the product. Hence the product needs to adapt them into re-sizeable user interfaces for forms and dialogs, support of local fonts, localisation of graphics, scripts and media files containing audio, video and other textual representation of objects.

    Quality, Testing& Delivery

Finally comes the building of the localised project along with its language files, help manuals, glossaries, meta-data files and testing them under textual, audio visual procedures to ensure the software is completely fitting the local environment and culture. Even the audio should align the local slang of the culture for a successful localisation.

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