ClickHelp Software Documentation Glossary: Definitions of Main Terms, Concepts

What is Software Localization?

Software localization (often abbreviated as “L10n”) is the process of adapting a software product to the culture and language of a target market. So, it is more than just translating a text. Although it often comes as an afterthought, software localization plays a critical role in any business that strives to adapt its products for new markets and users. In other words, there are millions of potential customers who prefer to deal with products in their own language.

Since a software product that has been appropriately localized should have the look and feel of a product originally made for the target market, the software localization process requires substantial time from the development teams.

Here are some details to consider for effective localization of a software product, along with language:

  • time and date formats,
  • measuring units,
  • number formats,
  • paper sizes,
  • address formats,
  • case differences,
  • sorting,
  • fonts,
  • character sets, word separation, and hyphenation,
  • local regulations,
  • data protection,
  • copyright issues,
  • taxes,
  • payment methods,
  • currency conversion.

The standard localization process includes the following basic steps:

  • Analysis of the material for localization
  • Examination of the tools and resources required for localization
  • Cultural, technical and linguistic assessment
  • Creation and maintenance of software glossaries
  • Translation to the target language
  • Resizing of forms and dialogs of the user interface
  • Localization of media containing visible text, symbols, etc.
  • Compilation and build of the localized files for testing
  • Linguistic and functional quality assurance
  • Delivery of software localization project on time

Most software products are updated at least once a year, and websites are often updated on a daily basis. As a result, translation memory tools have been used successfully for many years in the localization industry.

Software localization is crucial for increasing your appeal in new markets, attracting new users, increasing click rates, increasing sales, and setting up your company for global success. The process of localization is a cost-effective way to win new markets. If done correctly, a company will be able to improve the experience of its customers significantly.

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