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Newcomlab - Why localise?


Aspects included in the localisation process

Localisation is the process of modifying products or services fully adapting them to the different markets in which we want to sell them and it includes many aspects.

Every product or service that wants to be sold to individuals that do not speak the language in which it was created, needs to be linguistically adapted. For example, software will need translation of the texts, the graphic user interface, the menus, the online help, the documentation, etc. Not only is the translation of the software itself, but the company will also need the translation of its marketing campaigns, the box in which the product will be sold, the Web pages, the product training courses and all the necessary documentation for the launching and positioning of the application in the target market.

While the translation only deals with the linguistic aspects of the software, the localisation is responsible for all the aspects related to the sales of it. For example, the translation of a word within the software may result in the space left to include the translation is not large enough and therefore it will need a graphic or source code modification in order to make the space wide enough for the translation.

Another aspect is the treatment of images, colors, symbols and graphics within the software. They must be culturally accepted by the user of the application in the market for which we are making the adjustment and will not be covered by the translation.

The currency used in the country, the phone numbers format, the physical addresses, the date and time formats, etc, must be adapted to the market for which we want to localise the product. All these aspects which differ from each culture usually pass unnoticed for the software developers, but can make the difference between a pleasant and easy to use software or a software that does not meet the user expectations, and therefore will be rejected by the client.

The localisation workflow includes several tasks or phases, among which include:

Localisation workflow - Translation   Localisation Workflow - Engineering     Localisation Workflow - Testing       Localisation Workflow - Management

Technical aspects

The possibility of making a software or web page multi-lingual needs the planning of certain aspects from the early stages of development. For example, if we want to localise a software or web page to Asian or Eastern Europe languages, we will have to consider that these languages use different characters than the Latin languages and therefore need to use an encoding that allows us to have access to these characters (for example Unicode). Another example would be a localisation to Arabic or Hebrew languages where our software or web page should be able to be used right to left. We would have to adapt the complete graphical user interface to be used right to left. We can find many other cases like the previous ones.

Choose what to localise and to what languages depends on the expectations and needs of the company. So localisation is another aspect to be considered in the production process and not an external activity. Therefore localisation must not be seen as a cost but as an opportunity to break into new markets.


Newcomlab - What is localisation?

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