Bridging Worlds: A Guide to Software Localization Best Practices

Bridging Worlds: A Guide to Software Localization Best Practices

According to the CSA Research’s study titled “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy – B2B”, 70% of users worldwide refused to buy or download software that does not have a localized version and 80% of users will not buy software without local language support. Hence, if you planning to bring your software solutions to global audiences, software localization should be your key to creating global-ready software that boosts your business expansion, improves your brand value, and satisfies your customers. 

Although many businesses are aware of the importance of software localization, they do not know how to start. We have seen examples of software products that failed because the localized software did not work as efficiently as the original. Software localization and translation are complex processes that require careful planning and experienced software and translation teams to ensure your global launch is a success.  

In this blog post, we will go through software localization best practices, to ensure a successful and seamless user experience across multiple languages and cultures. Let’s delve into this!

What Is Software Localization?

Software localization is the process of adapting every single detail in your software product to resonate with the needs and requirements of your target customers who speak different languages. The software localization process goes far behind mere translation. It involves adapting text, visual elements, currencies, date, time and any culturally related elements according to your target regions all with the aim of achieving a great customer experience. 

However, before localizing your software for new audiences, you should understand that there is an initial process that should be done before localizing your product which is internationalization.

Internationalization is the development and design of a software product or application to be localized for other languages and regions. In other words, it is a technical process performed by software developers to enable linguists and localizers to smoothly adapt your software product or app for people speaking different languages, ensuring that your UI is culturally appropriate and attractive. 

The best solution is to develop your software with localization in mind. If you already have software and need to make it a global product, you will need to make some alterations to prepare it for localization.


Navigating Software Localization Best Practices

The software and mobile app industries are thriving at a surprising rate penetrating each market worldwide. For instance, the number of global app downloads reached 257 billion downloads in 2023. Moreover, the revenue of the mobile app market is expected to generate over $935 billion in revenue in 2024, making it necessary for businesses to establish a solid presence in the global marketplace. 

To create a localized software that improves your end-user digital experience and has a culturally adjusted interface, consider the following best practices:

Understand Your Target Audience and Market

Before proceeding with localizing your software, you need first to understand your target customers. Conduct market research to identify the specific requirements, language nuances, and cultural sensitivities of your intended customers to create localized software that looks natural and authentic.

Use Internationalization

Internationalization, also known as “i18n,” involves separating the code from the content, using Unicode for text encoding, and implementing localization-friendly features such as dynamic string handling and support for different date and time formats. By developing an internationalized product from the start, you can easily localize it into multiple languages.

Create a Localization Kit

A localization kit contains all the necessary resources and guidelines for translators and localization teams. It should include a glossary of key terms, style guides, and instructions for context-sensitive translations. Providing clear and comprehensive documentation will help maintain consistency and accuracy throughout the localization process.

Hire Professional Translators

Hiring professional translators who are native speakers of the target language is crucial for accurate and culturally relevant translations. They have a deep understanding of the language nuances and can effectively convey the intended meaning of the source content. It is also important to involve translators who are familiar with the software industry and terminology.

Consider Linguistic Limitations

Different languages have varying sentence structures, character lengths, and text expansion rates. For example, if you translate English into German, the text may expand up to 35%. Also, some languages have right-to-left scripts such as Arabic and Farsi.

Therefore, you should account for these linguistic limitations during the localization process to ensure that the translated text fits correctly within the user interface and other software components. Test the localized version thoroughly to avoid any truncation or layout issues.

Implement a Localization Management Tool

Use a Translation Management System (TMS) that streamlines the localization process by providing a centralized platform for managing translation resources, tracking progress, reducing tasks via automation tools, and ensuring version control. It also allows for efficient collaboration between localization teams and helps maintain consistency throughout the software’s lifecycle.

Ensure Consistency

Maintaining consistency across the software is vital for a seamless user experience. Use translation memory tools and terminology databases to ensure consistent translations of common phrases, terms, and instructions. This helps in creating a cohesive and familiar user interface across different languages.

Plan for Continuous Localization

As software evolves and new features are added, it is essential to plan for continuous localization. Implement a process that allows for agile localization, ensuring that new content is translated and integrated seamlessly into the existing localized versions. This helps in providing a consistent user experience across all language versions.

Gather User Feedback

User feedback is invaluable for improving the localized software. Encourage users from different regions to provide feedback on the localized version, including any language-specific issues or cultural nuances that may need attention. This feedback can help identify areas for improvement and ensure ongoing localization quality.

The Final Takeaway

Localizing your software is indispensable to stand out against the competition in this digital age. By following the software localization best practices, you will be able to develop software that drives sales in global markets.

If you are looking for a language service provider that offers first-rate software localization services, you have come to the right place! Afrolingo stands head and shoulders among others by providing software localization services that enhance your customer outreach and foster meaningful engagement with your target customers in their native languages. Request a quote today!