Software Localization

In today’s global marketplace localization is a service that offers increased revenue and greater market penetration for your software products. Even if you start development of your product with the aim of deploying a single language with no intention to localize, the costs to add localization friendly functionality and flags implies a small overhead in cost and time. We’ve heard on numerous occasions stories of « we hard-coded the text because we never intended the software to be used in that country! » Well it’s too late, and it either means the software cannot be localized or it will cost a great deal of money.

With the boom in internet activity and international communication, the world is shrinking in size and software is being adapted to reach new and developing markets to increase revenue and editor visibility. Software editors not able to offer localized software are penalized and restricted in their growth. Microsoft is constantly increasing the number of available languages, now at 70 with the release of Windows Vista. This is all good news for you. The major players are paving the way for you to capitalize on your investment by pioneering international tools and standards for multilingual deployment.

Now that you’re convinced you need to incorporate localization features into your development teams, how do you go about it? Well, don’t worry. All major frameworks and development platforms are localization friendly, Unicode, HTML, XML, libraries.

There are some key considerations to keep in mind such as language direction – right-to-left, multi-byte character set support, GUI space restrictions… Different languages use different syntactic structures, and elements for translation should be clearly identified or externalized into libraries. We advise our clients to consider all aspects of localization before starting software development and to ensure localization is written into the specification at the start. Do not make localization an after-thought; it may cost you dearly in time and money!