Software localization is the process of adapting a software product to the linguistic, cultural and technical requirements of a target market. This process is labour-intensive and often requires a significant amount of time from the development teams. It is also quite costly as the cost of translating a language is anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000 per language.
Software Localization is the changing of a piece of software to suit the needs of a different target market. This could mean changing the language, interface or technical workings of the software so the new target market can use the software just as easily as the original target market. It is usually started while the original source software is still being developed.
Procedure for Localization:
Before starting the localization process it is important to outline the goals that you want to achieve at the end of the localization. This is important as Localization can get quite complicated and you may end up forgetting what you originally set out to do.
Examining the software architecture may help make the localization process more manageable. Programs store and read from certain directories and changing the software for a different country may mean changing the name of the directory.
Using an ISO from a different country means the directory name will change.
For example, A Spanish program may look for files under an ES directory.
Translating the language from this would involve copying all the files and translating to the specified language.
Alternatively you can internationalise the code which means taking all the English text and placing it into a common resource file. When the program is started you can set it to call the resource file depending on the software’s locale.
For example, Software is booted up in England; English is taken from the common resource pack and used in the program. Software is booted up in Spain; Spanish is taken from the resource pack and so on.
This is a lot easier as you only have to translate the strings in the common resource pack and not the individual files of the program.
The Localization Stage:
When all the preparation is finished you are ready to start the actual localization process. This can be done either manually or using a piece of software called a localization tool to help speed up the process. The manual method requires extensive knowledge of software development and usually takes more time. There’s also the risk of damaging the workings of the program if the software developer doing the localization makes a mistake.
The alternative to this is using a localization tool. A localization tool scans the software and shows only the parts that need to be translated. It extracts the strings to be translated saving the developers time when compared to translating manually.
The software also locks the program down so any changes that could cause the program to break are prevented.
Translating the project: