Optimizing Your Software or App for International Expansion Has Never Been Easier – or More Important.
The Old Conventional Wisdom: International growth is reserved for only the largest players in the industry – and done only after they have maximized the growth potential in their home market.
The New Reality: Today’s translation tools – and the interconnected nature of commerce – mean technology localization of your software or app is more accessible, and, in fact, more necessary than ever before.
In Short: You ARE the big player in the international game because you decide to be.
And once you’ve made this paradigm shift, the opportunity to localize your software becomes an exciting opportunity for growth. You no longer need to master your competition in the local market to establish dominance that brings the financial resources to fund an international expansion. Instead, you can leapfrog growth by programming in translation and localization capability by hopping from market opportunity to market opportunity before competitors realize the moves you are making.
Building In Agility from the First Development Steps
While we recognize it’s not always 100% possible, the more thoroughly you prepare your software for localization during development, the smoother and faster you’ll be able to launch products in new target markets across the globe. There are four areas to consider during development:
- Multi-language Coding Capability Speeds Up Time to Market – Every Time.
You’ll save a lot of time and effort later by writing your code to support language and locale flexibility when the slate is clean. Or, if you’re refactoring legacy code, you can use your first localization project as an opportunity for the internationalization of the software to ease your transition to going global.
For this, we recommend Unicode, as it encodes scripts for a wide range of languages and allows all the text your customers see to be removed from the coding and stored in a separate resource file. Each language will have its own resource file so the program can access precisely the language text it needs. By unhooking text from programming, you can avoid translation errors by coders and coding errors from translators.
- Clean Text Strings Mean Error-free Resource Files.
Once all your text has been removed from your coding, your translation team can create content in any target market language. That is great in concept but remember one thing: Context is king in translating text strings. So, rather than laying out text strings in alphabetical order, it’s helpful to submit your text documents for translation in the order they will be encountered in the software. This provides much-needed context for the translation team during translation.
Additionally, the simple added step of sending over screenshots and documentation, or even giving your translation team access to the actual product, lets the team see and interact with the language to create a more effective, error-free translation that will save quality assurance time later.
- Adaptable Layouts Allow for Text Expansion and Reading Direction.
It’s not intuitive, but translation changes the length of the copy in your program, which in turn requires the layout to be adaptable for the expansion room. This is a special concern regarding buttons and other UI items where some translations can double the number of characters required. And, just when you thought translation couldn’t get any more challenging to your layout, remember, some languages read right to left. A quality LSP (Language Service Provider) can walk you through these concerns and help you implement strategies.
- Picture-perfect Localization Adapts with Culturally Relevant Images and Symbols.
Each market has its own customs and sensibilities. Consider an image of a driver: in the US, the driver sits on the left, and in the UK, the right. Reflecting those norms in the images and symbols you select for the different versions of your software can go a long way toward securing a successful launch and long-term growth. Careful coding will allow you to create the capabilities for this custom experience, and working with a localization service can fill you in on all the relevant cues you want to be aware of for images and symbols.
Pro Tip: Don’t Launch Before a Thorough Software Localization Quality Review.
It’s tempting to shortchange this final step – especially as previous delays set you back from the launch date. Still, a thorough software localization QA tests your product’s technical and linguistic components to ensure each is error-free. For this, localization engineers focus on the software’s UI, functionality, and compatibility concerns, while linguistic specialists review the language and visual components to ensure all sides present an excellent product to end users.
Engineering Team Responsibilities:
Functional Testing: Also known as User Interface testing, this process involves assessing the performance of the software and verifying code compatibility along with double-checking text expansion and contraction functions and layout adaptation functions such as right-to-Left (RTL) languages.
Compliance Testing: Each region and market has its own regulations for different software types, and the engineering team needs to know which local legal requirements apply. For example, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) affects what data software can hold and access. Having a team that knows these rules can keep you from running afoul of the law.
Linguistic Team Responsibilities:
Linguistic Testing: Anyone familiar with Localization projects will recognize these steps – and know how essential third-party QA is to the end user experience: verification of translation for spelling, grammar, and style are checked, and the team checks for specific country and regional compatibility. For example, Portuguese speakers in Portugal have different language use and cultural references than Portuguese speakers in Brazil.
Visual Testing: Also known as User Experience testing, this creative review process checks visual elements such as formatting, numeric values, graphics, and special characters to guarantee compatibility in the target region.
Ready to Go International with Your Tech? Chillistore Has You Covered!
It’s an exciting opportunity to grow internationally. But you don’t have to go it alone when it comes to internationalizing your tech and localizing your message. Our team at Chillistore has decades of accumulated experience and worldwide resources to ensure top rate quality of your software localization for every market you find opportunities in. And we’d love to put that expertise to you!