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4 Steps to Prevent Software Localization Issues

If you localize software, chances are that you’ve encountered some type of challenge during the process. The more work you can do up-front with your language service provider (LSP) before the software goes to translation, the better your results will be. In this blog post, I’ll share four steps you can take before the translation process to prevent issues during the translation process, which will help to improve the quality while also reducing your costs.

1. Prepare Your Software with a Pseudo Translation

pseudo translation is a test to see how the translated content will work with the software’s layout and interface. We run a test on a draft of your software to see how the system behaves in your target languages. This test is done early on in the process, before the software is finalized, in order to identify and fix any issues before the translation begins. If the issues aren’t caught before going through translation, the number of issues will grow exponentially with the number of target languages that you have. By going through this step, you can avoid many time-consuming and costly issues once the translation begins.

2. Identify Problematic Issues in the Source Content

There are many things you can do to the English content to make things easier for translation, which will help shorten the time to market and improve the quality of the translations. Some things just don’t translate well, such as jargon, slang and cultural references. For example, in US English, the word “sick” means to be ill, but the slang version means something that’s really cool. If there isn’t much context around the word, it can be hard to translate. Or perhaps you have some inconsistencies in your software like you have a few buttons that mean “enter” but one of them says “Enter” and another says “Return.” Concatenation, such as when you have a number that’s a variable followed by a word that needs to change based on the number, is another big issue for localization. Before the translation begins, we can help you identify things in the source English content that may be problematic for localization and content inconsistencies, which will help to reduce costs while increasing quality and consistency.

3. Train the Translators

Training the translators and key project team members will help ensure that everyone understands your business, products and/or services, terminology and industry. It will also make it easier for the translators if there’s content that may be out of context, which can be a challenge with translation. Training can take many forms, including in-person, presentations, demos, videos and more, and it should be considered when planning your localization budget. Training will help the translators better understand the content and produce a higher-quality translation. Your LSP is your partner, and the more information you can provide to them, the better the translation quality will be.

4. Create a Comprehensive Glossary with Your In-Country Reviewers

A glossary is a database of terminology associated with your business, products and/or services and industry. The terms are pulled from your content and sent to your in-country reviewers (ICRs) for review and approval. The translators translate these terms, in context, before they translate the actual content, and they’re stored in a database. When a translator works on a project, the terms that are in the content are then automatically populated with the translated versions. This helps speed up the translation and it ensures consistency, leading to a higher-quality translation. Every time you have a new project, the terms should be extracted, translated and approved by the ICRs, and the glossary should be updated. In addition, we use tools that can go through the translation during the Quality Assurance step and automatically find places where terminology wasn’t used properly. For this step to occur, we need to have a glossary in place for every language.


To learn more about how to produce high-quality translated software, read our white paper called, “A Beginner’s Guide to High-quality Software Localization,” which walks you through the entire software localization process. Software localization is one of our core services and we’d be happy to answer any questions you have. Contact our nearest office for more information.

About the author:

David Sommer

For roughly a decade I have been helping people around the world gain access to the world's leading products and services by making them accessible in their native language. My previous experience with a national standards institute taught me how to achieve quality and present the results.  Having started at Net-Translators as a Localization Project Manager winding up a Senior Localization Manager, and finally to my current position as Director of Strategic Operations, I have learned much about the industry, but more importantly, I have focused continually on how I can improve processes and deliverables in a theoretical as well as practical manner. I am constantly on the lookout to learn more about our industry and implement new ideas.

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