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ClickHelp Software Documentation Glossary

What is Software Localization?

Software localization can be described as the process of adapting software to the culture and language of an end-user. Despite internationalization, software localization provides plain translation into other languages and changes in software’s design and user experience to make it look more natural for a foreign user.

As the businesses now function in the world of globalization, they all come across the problem of proper interpretation and providing their product to foreign users. Here, the localization helps. Now let us see the importance and advantages of this part of the development process.

The necessity of software localization

In most cases, software localization may be considered as part of a document development life cycle, as software documentation (description of software’s work) should be reorganized to become clear for users of different languages and cultures.

Software localization is important both for developers and for users. In the modern world of globalization, this process allows reaching foreign markets through making digital products understandable for the locals of the country or region it is sold to. Users, on the other hand, see the product as friendly to them, so they are more attracted to buy it. In that way, internationalization is not enough.

Main areas of software localization

There are several points used for localizing software that covers all elements of a digital product.

  • Text and writing systems – tools that allow changing textual content to make it more convenient for users of another culture. Except for simple translation, this technique changes the interface (menus, dialog boxes, buttons, text fields). This method is necessary for a software that is likely to be sold in countries with right-to-left writing (for example, of Arabic world);
  • Graphic design allows adapting non-linguistic elements of the interface. This point is mostly connected with cultural politeness as its main task is to avoid any material that may be offensive to target users. It also works on making pictures or any other graphic elements easy for perception, logical and meaningful.
  • User experience (UX) is a point connected with the content organization. Localization in the UX part is responsible for making interacting easier for the users of other languages and cultural minds. It includes links, information boxes, and transfers between pages.

Software localization is extremely important for product development. That’s why it is common practice in quality assurance to devote a special period of time to testing localization. Very often, development and testing teams invite representatives of a culture required to be properly informed about the perception peculiarities of the foreign audience.

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