Software localization have been a core component of Andovar’s portfolio since our founding. Our clients hail from a wide range of industries and our experience covers a diverse array of project types:
- Software localization and testing for cloud, mobile or desktop
- Social and mobile app localization
- Localization of device interfaces
- Multilingual localization of complex server and cloud-based systems
- Site localization in HTML5, XML, HTML, ASP, PHP and more
- Flash localization
- Translation of help, manuals and FAQ materials.
No matter what type of content or technical requirements you may have, Andovar has the right combination of talented localization project managers, specialized translators and localization workflows to help you achieve your globalization goals.
Successful software localization begins with internationalization – the process of making changes to the code so that it works with other languages and scripts. Andovar provides a free initial audit of internationalization issues, and we can show you how to use pseudo-translation techniques to identify such issues as:
- String concatenation or insertion: In English, strings can be appended to form whole sentences, but this fails in many European languages where words must change depending on their neighbors.
- Text expansion: Translation typically causes text to get between 10% and 40% longer. In languages such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean, the text will shrink horizontally, but expand vertically, while in Thai both issues will occur. This can easily break the layout, especially on smaller displays.
- Hard-coded text: Text displayed to users should be kept in external files or a database. Text that is in-line with code will be difficult to localize.
- Bi-directionality: Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu and other languages flow both right to left and left to right. Extensive adaption, which includes flipping the layout horizontally, is needed to support these languages.
- Units and cultural considerations: unit format (e.g. metric or imperial), different calendars (e.g. Gregorian or Buddhist), working weeks (e.g. in some countries in the Middle East end-of-week holiday is on Friday), currencies, and phone number conventions (use of brackets and hyphens differs between countries).
It is also important to consider cultural sensibilities towards images chosen for icons or illustrations.
Testing is the last step, but it needs to be considered at the beginning. User interface strings often do not make sense without context. For some software applications, translation can be done in a WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) manner by using specialized tools, but typically a test environment and several rounds of testing are necessary.
Testing should start with the most problematic target language (for example: Polish for grammar, Chinese for character sets, Arabic for bi-directionality), since issues in that language are likely to occur in others. Andovar can work with your functional testing team to identify the most efficient process.
If translators will not have real-time access to the UI strings in context, then processes to mitigate context errors need to be implemented. This includes annotating hard-to-comprehend strings and variables, giving translators tools to quickly locate where in the UI they are used, managing linguistic queries through the project, as well as employing termbases and style guides.
Technology and Workflow
Product-specific terminology should be agreed upon before translation starts. This includes terms that occur frequently and need to be consistent across a product. It is possible to leverage existing termbases, but each application has its own key terms. Identifying them upfront, rather than during the review process is essential for efficient localization. They are a reusable asset that belong to the buyer, and should identify not only the terms and their translations, but also what parts of speech they are and include examples of usage. Andovar can help create a termbase template tailored for your organization.
Managing changes and updates to your software or content is a difficult and ongoing process that is often more complex and demanding than the initial localization. There are many Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) tools and Translation Management System (TMS) products that help to manage and track changes across fields and languages. Unlike many other localization service providers, Andovar does not produce or sell software or technology. This allows us to give unbiased advice to our clients on the best-fit products for their venture.