5 Things That Programmers Have to Know About Localization

5 Things That Programmers Have to Know About Localization

With a number of businesses going global today, international business grows at an extremely fast pace, so the translation services become more and more demanded. Yet, what’s getting even more demanded is the localization. If you’re a developer, perhaps, you have already heard about localization in general or might have even worked with it. In such a case, you probably know it as l10n and that it can be a serious headache when it comes to development. Not that localization and development are non-compatible things, it’s just that the two are equally effort-demanding and, oftentimes, localizing an app can be just as hard as developing it in the first place.

5 Essential Things to Know About l10n for a Developer

So, you may ask yourself, why do people even do localization to start with? Well, the number of reasons to localize products and software is overwhelmingly large. Some of the top online human translation services report that the requests for localization from businesses are extremely variable and might consider any aspect. Yet, the major purposes of localizing usually draw to increasing customer satisfaction and revenue, as well as entering new markets with less effort by making the products more familiar and relatable to the target consumer. While it might seem like localization and development are not really interconnected things, yet this is not quite correct. The two aspects are tied pretty closely in the sense that you, as a developer, have to prepare your software product for the localization, so that the translators and other coders could more effortlessly do their work.

  1. User Interface. Obviously, the UI aspect is the primary one to consider as this is the first thing the user will interact when using the result of your work. In some cases, a properly designed and developed user interface can define the overall success of a certain programming product. For instance, modern social media follow only a few basic patterns of interface design for a reason. So, making the interface prepared for translation and localization beforehand is an aspect that is as important as designing and developing that UI in the first place. You can, for instance, make the interface flexible, so that it could be easily adjusted for a translation into the language that uses the right-to-left orientation, such as Arabic or Hebrew.
  2. Keep all necessary elements for translation in a separate file. Or, alternatively, if that’s not possible, keep them noted in a separate file. For instance, if you code in C#, you might want to denote all constants in the UI that must be translated in a separate file, so that the translation specialist could easily find them and do his or her work. Don’t forget that a localizer or an interpreter is basically your partner, so making his or her work more effortlessly means keeping the overall teamwork up-to-date and enjoyable, no matter how challenging it might be.
  3. Make the translatable elements of the code understandable for the translator. While some of the localization specialists might be somewhat familiar with programming languages, don’t expect from all of them to understand them. This is why you want to make some of the elements, such as variables, constants, and strings named in a discernable and understandable manner. This will largely help not only the translator but also you as it will certainly prevent all unnecessary questions on your colleague’s side.
  4. Integrate with the translation team developer-style. Don’t just make translators have some kind of an Excel table file to translate all elements of the interface. In order for them to work on your territory, share it with them. Give them the needed access only to your Git repositories, set up an API integration, or help them to get acquainted with such developer software as Visual Studio, for instance. This will largely simplify the overall workflow and even help you to apply the agile method to your work.
  5. Automatize all processes. Just like with the previous point, don’t you even count on manual documentation and/or execution of all processes. There is enough of tools made specifically for software translation, such as translation management system (TMS). It can be, in fact, created using the aforementioned API or Git integration, so there certainly should be no problem with working with it especially if you are a developer. In such a way, you can even do a greater thing and contribute to Google Translate by creating such a repository. So, there’s really no point in any manual work when you have computers and servers doing this work for you.

Development and Localization Go Hand-in-Hand

Sometimes, such seemingly simple processes as software localization might in fact be extremely demanding effort-wise. The work of a localization specialist is extremely complex and requires a lot of things to consider before even starting. The localizer has to think about the target country’s language from the perspective of the native speaker, he or she must consider pop culture, locations, people’s preferences, and overall conventions of software and its translation in that country. So, considering some of those things from the developer’s perspective can make a life for both of you much easier.


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