Because of the evolution of globalization and internationalization, software localization has made a big progress these years. But the lack of adequate communication about this industry makes quite a few of us have limited knowledge about software localization, even some misunderstandings. Here listed four typical misunderstanding.
I. Software Localization = Software Translation
Many non-professionals have the same and similar misunderstandings. The difference between software localizationand software translation relies on their differentiation in the definition and covering range.
Software localization is the process of adapting software products/web products to specific local languages and cultures in target market while software translation refers to the language translation process of user interface, Help files and manuals, and so on. Therefore, software translation is just one process of software localization.
In fact, besides translation, there are many other important aspects in the localization process, for example, software compilation and translation, software testing, desktop publishing, project management, etc. Software localization is more than mere language translation, it involves more extensive coverage and content. Software localization has become a systematic software engineering.
II. Any software Is Easy to Localize
According to the theory of software design, any software could be localized. But different software has different degree of localization capability.
If the target software has good localization capability, its localized contents could be separated individually from the software code in the design. These contents includes menu, static character in dialogue box, screentips, icon, version information, etc. So for software with good localization capability, we only need to localize the contents to adapt to multiple languages. The functionality of the source software will not be influenced. And it’s not necessary for us to change the source code.
The design flexibility and translation-ability of the software internationalization ensure sound localization ability of the software. Design flexibility simplifies the process of the adaptation to local language, such as software code supporting for DBCS or bi-directional language. The design translation-ability guarantees that any language components of any product is easy to distinguish and understand and remains independent from other components.
All in all, only the software with good internationalization capability is easy to localization.
III. Software Globalization = Software Internationalization
Software globalization and software internationalization are basics of software localization. Their differences include definition and range.
Software internationalization refers to the process of making the functionality and the code deign of the target software have the ability to handle multiple languages and cultures during program design and document development. So when creating differentiated language versions, we don’t need to redesign the code of the source program.
Software globalization is the business activities for promoting the software in global market. It includes proper international design, software localization integration, marketing promotion, sale and support.
In comparison, software globalization has wider range and content. It includes the business campaigns for the software entering into international market. Software globalization at least contains internationalization of the original software design, software localization, strategy of establishing international brand, marketing, international sale, technical support service, etc.
Software internationalization pays more attention on the implementation of technical activities in software design and software development. Software internationalization is part of software globalization. The appropriate internationalization of the software is the technical guarantee for smooth software globalization and localization.
IV. Various Translation Companies – the Best Institution for Software Localization
In recent years, many companies claim that they offer software localization service. But most of their service range is limited to software document translation. They lack the experience of software compilation, testing, typesetting, large-scale project management, etc.
The formation of professional software specialization motivates the advent of specific localization companies. Most of them have many-year experience of technical localization support as well as management. They are familiar with the entire process of localization and the requirements of clients. These companies always master the latest localization technique and tools. They have the capability of offering full set of localization services for multiple languages.