Localising software programs is vital for companies that sell products and services online in multiple countries or that need to internationalise their corporate IT services so that users can access them worldwide.
Localisation is a complex process that involves translating texts and individual software components (such as buttons and back-end code).
Software localisation: the three key areas
Software localisation describes the process of translating a user interface for users other than those for which a program was initially designed.
Localisation allows users who speak different languages to use software quickly and intuitively, as though it was created in their native language.
Here are three key aspects to bear in mind when localising a software program.
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Text and writing systems
Localising texts and writing systems is an essential part of the software localisation process. Texts are the primary means by which a user interacts with a software program, for example, by entering data, reading instructions, filling out a form, or obtaining the information they require.
Of course, switching from one writing system to another can cause difficulties that should not be underestimated. What happens, for example, when you need to transition from an alphabetical writing system to a character-based system such as kanji? If you need to do so, we strongly recommend that you rely on a professional translation agency and avoid ‘do-it-yourself localisations’.
Software programs also comprise graphic design or visual materials that use a combination of text, images, and colours to help convey messages to users.
When localising software, translators also need to take graphic design elements into account. They need to translate texts, images, and colours from one language to another while ensuring the message stays the same and is as effective as it is in the source language.
User experience (UX)
User Experience, often abbreviated to UX, describes how users interact with software, websites, and apps.
During the software localisation process, translators must not alter the UX of the original language. Or rather, when done properly, a software localisation process will ensure that some elements are adapted (and possibly modified) to make the user experience just as effective for the new target market. To do so, translators need to take several aspects into consideration. For example, using the correct currency (euros, dollars, or pounds) and the target culture.
When should companies request software localisation services?
All companies that have or aspire to have international customers and rely on software will do well to invest in professional software localisation services.
Localisation is particularly relevant to:
- Online shops
- Companies working in hospitality, for example, hotels and B&B booking platforms
- Companies working in the catering industry that rely on apps to place online orders
- Video game companies
If you are looking for a business partner to localise your company’s software programs, get in touch with Eurotrad today!
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