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software localization kits and the translation processSo you’ve got a stellar piece of software, and you want to release it to the world. But before you do that, you know that you need to adapt it for several markets.

Before you get started, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to help avoid any pesky delays when you send your content for localization.

After all, a little planning can go a long way.

At the forefront, you’ll send us your software localization kit—which is all your resource files and materials needed for software localization. Let’s go over what exactly to include so you can start your journey without any bumps or tangled strings.

Preparing your software localization kit

A well thought out software localization kit can help us get the translation process started quicker. When we have all the materials we need at the start—along with clear instructions on how to approach the project—we don’t have to circle back for more information. Think of it as less loading time—which is always a good thing.

Here’s what to include:

Resource files

First and foremost, we’ll need all the resource files for software localization. It’s a good idea to check and make sure that your file types are localization-friendly—which ensures the necessary parser support available for a smooth translation process. These are often based on standard file formats such as Java properties files, XLIFF, ResX and other XML derivative file formats.

tips on website translationBe sure that your source strings are clear and free from ambiguity. Software user interface elements tend to be brief and concise, typically represented by just a couple of words. Therefore, the potential for linguists to misinterpret the intended meaning of the specific string is greatly increased.

Take, for example, a simple source string like “combine revisions.” Without any additional context, from a translator’s perspective, this could be a directive to “merge a group of edits” or a list of the latest changes to your beloved grain harvester!

It doesn’t end there. The word “view” could be a verb (a button you click to expose something), or it could be a noun (such as a database view). “Home” could be an instruction to return to a homepage, or it may be an address label where users enter their home address. The possibilities are as endless as the variety of software programs out there.

Including context ensures that the translator correctly interprets the intended use of the string and associates the most appropriate translation.

Translation memory

Next, send us any translation memory you have. Not only can you leverage cost savings from this resource—which in itself is pretty great—but it will also drive consistency in your translations.

Reference materials

Reference materials such as product documentation, training materials, glossaries, style guides and do-not-translate lists (terms that should remain un-translated) help ensure translation accuracy during the software localization process so you can avoid costly and time-consuming rework. They basically act like user manuals for how to translate your projects to help guide linguists on your preferences for term translation, style and more.

Product documentation and training materials will allow the translators to gain valuable information about the product and the landscape in which it is used.

If you don’t already have these materials, don’t worry yourself into a full-on system crash. Check out Style guides and glossaries: Critical tools to improve your translations to learn how we can help you get started.

Further special handling instructions

Your translatable software may also include complex strings which need special handling instructions, particularly where these strings relate specifically to your build/product environment. Examples include:

  • Date/time patterns: Should these be localized, adapted—or both?
  • Numeric separators: Do you want these updated to meet the needs of the specific locale?
  • Financial amounts: Should these remain the same as the home country?
  • Placeholders and parameters: Is it clear what these values will represent in the final strings?
  • Variables and CamelCase terms: If your software strings include programmatic references, should these be translated or handled in a specific manner?
  • Any other strings that need specific non-standard treatment?

Delivery requests

Finally, specify how you want the final content delivered to you. Let us know if you want file names to reflect the target locale, if you want folder structures to reflect the target market and whether you have priorities for various component deliveries. If you want us to pre-compile the software, we may need to know more about your software’s build environment.

These are all areas that should be addressed up front to speed up the delivery process and minimize potential delays.

Want more software localization tips? Check out this best practice brief Software localization strategies: Advice for ensuring a smooth process.

If you’ve prepared a software localization kit, did you include anything else? Share your experiences and tips below!