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Software Localization: How to Reduce the Cost of Updates

Reduce the Cost of UpdatesLet’s say you’ve released Version 1 of your multilingual software, which has been localized by your translation company. Now you’re getting ready to release Version 2 and you need to have the updates localized. In the old days, when the technology was immature, updating multilingual software was very time-consuming and costly. Developers would have to do a manual compare to find each string that was updated or new and send it to translation.

Fortunately, technology has evolved, and today, professional software localization companies are able to make the updates easier, faster and less costly. You need to work with a company that specializes in software localization or else you may end up paying much more than you need to. Our senior localization engineer, Ehud Ganor, explains how we manage software localization updates.

Our Software Localization Update Process

When it comes time to updating your multilingual software, you want to reuse what’s already been translated. You shouldn’t have to pay to translate the full new version – only what’s been changed or is new (the delta). In order to do this, you should provide these files to your software localization company:

  1. Software resource files for Version 1 (source files)
  2. Localized resource files for Version 1 (target files)
  3. Updated software resource files for Version 2 (updated source files)

Let’s take a look at how the process and tools work.

CAT (computer-aided translation) tool extracts the translatable text (strings) with its ID number (KEY) from resource files for every software string. When we have the source files and target files, we can run an alignment process using an appropriate CAT tool feature to create translated project files and update the translation memory (TM), which is a database of previously-translated content. The tool pulls the existing translation from target files and matches it to the English source string according to its ID. As a result, we should get the fully translated CAT tool localization project and project TM.

Even if we didn’t translate Version 1, we can still perform an alignment process to create a TM from the previously-translated materials.

Here’s an example of the initial source content for Version 1:

And here’s the localized target file for Version 1:

You can see that each source and target string is associated with the same unique ID.

When we run the alignment process for the two sets of files (source Version 1 and target Version 1), the source strings are aligned with the target language strings according to their IDs:

So the alignment of source and target files of the same software version gives the correct result!

Now here’s the updated source files for Version 2:

You can see the changes between the two versions: strings 1 and 3 didn’t change, string 2 was changed and string 4 is a new one.

The CAT tool easily discovers the changed and new strings that need to be translated:

The CAT tool does this automatically by updating the existing localization project for the new translations and the TM is also updated.

This alignment process is very effective. The expense for this project will be limited to the changed and new strings, and there’s no charge for the content that hasn’t changed. In addition, if a string is partially matched to content that’s already in the TM, then it’s a partial charge and not a full charge.

Conclusion and Next Steps

Fortunately, technology has evolved so that software updates are faster and less costly. The technology also increases the quality and consistency of the translations.

We’d be happy to discuss how this process works, so contact our nearest office. With offices around the globe, Net-Translators’ software localization services have been recognized by many of today’s leading tech companies. For additional information, tips and best practices that will save you time and money, make sure to follow our LinkedIn Company page.

Ehud Ganor

As a Localization Engineer, I’ve been a part of the Net-Translators’ team for over a decade. During this time, I’ve seen quite a variety of client deliverables such as product guides, websites and online help systems. I’ve also seen a lot of technologies and tools used by our clients including authoring tools, website systems and content management systems. Given my experience, I can suggest different localization approaches and tools based on a client’s situation and goals. I also advise clients on how to improve the source content so that they can save on translation costs and increase time-to-market. With my experience in programming, I have the ability to provide an additional value to our clients before a project even begins. I also configure projects and make customizations so that our clients will have to do minimal work. I truly enjoy providing the best possible experience for each client.


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