Software Localization and Internationalization
Software localization and internationalization
All languages. All platforms.
The scope of the software localization projects has considerably broadened in the last few years, in terms of breadth of logical and physical environments running the software. We can localise products running in any kind of platform:
- Desktop computing applications directly running on the user’s equipment without requiring an internet connection
- Cloud-based applications with a back-end running in remote servers and a front-end operating at the user’s end though an HTML browser
- Mobile apps, usually comprising local code running in the device itself and back-end software executed on remote servers.
- Embedded software components running on electronic devices such as car OBD computers, control modules of machines or household appliances, or portable devices
- Video games for different platforms, the localization of which usually involves many graphical, audio, video, and even literary components.
Each of the above software varieties poses different technical requirements, but all of them share many operational and procedural characteristics and requirements when it comes to their localization. In addition to the accuracy and readability essential in any technical translation, the strict and permanent observance of the customer’s terminology, when available, is key, as is the consistent application of the proposed translations throughout all the points where they appear, since the proper performance of the application and the ease of use of its user interface depends on it.
Procedures and quality assurance
To formalise the work associated to the localization projects and standardise the working criteria among all of our partners, we have defined specific formal procedures for the most usual tasks in this kind of projects:
- Preparation and management of subject matter (domain-specific terminology used in the software) and functional (commands, menu options, dialog boxes, captions and legends) glossaries.
- Verification of length of the translated texts.
- Verification of consistency of hotkeys in dialog boxes and menus (i.e., avoiding repeated used of the same hotkey in the same context, using the same hotkey for the same purpose in differnt places, and using the standard hotkey choices when available).
- Consistency between the software and the help system, to avoid user misunderstandings or misleading instructions.
- Translation criteria for error messages, considering the underlying message context and how the message is made up (full strings or chained parts), as well as length or other restrictions.
- Translation criteria for configuration and settings files.
- Identification of non-translatable strings and eventual interaction of the translated strings with other modules or software elements.
- Detection of potential problems linked to the use of accented or international characters in contexts where they could not be allowed or lead to technical issues.
- Conversion to Unicode and use of suitable code pages where appropriate.
- Full or partial compilation of translated componentes, and interactions across the different modules of the application after the localization.
- Management of the translatable items list in large-scale localization projects.
- Translation and adaptation of visual elements such as graphics, pictures, animations and videos.
- Translation and adaptation of audio elements (dialog boxes, spoken messages, music).
- Editing translatable source code and documenting the changes
The systematic application of these and other similar formal procedures enables us to guarantee the customer the proper performance of the translated software, the quality and consistency of its localization, and the correct adaptation to the characteristics of each market.
Not only translators. We are also software developers.
Besides our experience as technical translators, we are software developers with a long track record in the creation of software applications, mobile apps and specialised software platforms based on different programming languages. We also have a rich set of specialised off-the-shelf and in-house CAT tools enabling us to manage the most challenging localization projects with ease.