“Localization” - What does it mean?
Our modern and interconnected world has created the need for some new and innovative
translation services. Many large international companies use localization to adapt their
website or software to another language and culture. Therefore, the term 'localization' refers
to far more than the mere translation of content. It's a combination of translation, cultural
adaptation and sophisticated IT work.
The Difference between Localization and Translation
Rather than just translating the text users see on your website or in your software, the localization process also focuses on particular linguistic and cultural preferences, images, the overall design and thus ensures that your target audience finds your website or software easy to use. The ultimate goal here is to make it more favorable to the end user.
How You Benefit from Localization
When it comes to websites or software, you should almost always opt for a localization service rather than a mere translation. There are many reasons why, the largest being that the result will be more appealing to your target audience. Perhaps, you lack the IT resources to implement the translation in your website. But even if you have a strong IT department, it is usually more cost-effective and always more time-efficient to hire a team of localization experts for this task. Our localization staff has years of experience, is equipped with the right software, tools and skill-set to complete this job and get it right on the first go. You can rely on our experienced quality assurance team to make sure that your localized product will be free of technical, linguistic or cultural issues. Nothing is overlooked! Last but not least, if you're a small to midsize business, chances are you heavily rely on search engine optimization (SEO), which has become a fairly complicated process that reaches far beyond the mere placing of keywords throughout the website and often includes optimizing the URL structure, image names, HTML tags, website speed and responsiveness as well as social media. If you have an SEO strategy in place, we will be glad to help you localize it and make sure Google and co will rank you high.
2. Localization of Websites
About Localizing Websites
Now that we have covered the basics of what localization means, let's move on to some more technical aspects of our approach. The content you see on a website is no longer plain HTML, where each page in the menu has its own single file on the server, allowing a translator to simply translate around the HTML code. Nowadays, most content is dynamic and therefore stored in databases and websites heavily rely on very sophisticated programming languages. This is especially true when dealing with content management systems (CMS), such as Wordpress or Joomla, which allow users with no programming skills to easily modify their websites from an administrative interface. Other websites rely on countless scripts to generate content, meaning that each single page you can see in your browser actually calls dozens of files to output the various parts and desired content. We employ top specialists of different areas to ensure that we are able to work with any programming language, database and infrastructure.
Here a short overview:
We support all types of website code: HTML, PHP, Java, JS, Ajax, etc.
Able to work with all DBs: MSSQL, MYSQL, PostgreSQL, etc.
Linux and Windows experts capable of working with any server environment
Equipped for all data transfer protocols: FTP, SFTP, SSH, etc.
Experience with all types of CMS, incl. Wordpress, Joomla, OpenCart, etc.
Localization of SEO Tactics and Social Media
Able to perform additional IT tasks, for example: Setup subdomains & reconfigure Apache vhosts, install CMS plugins, adjust php.ini, update backup solution to include localized content and more!
Once you place an order for a website localization, our first step is to determine the your actual needs. Not all clients have an IT department capable of providing the source code and extracting the database. If this is the case for you, we will discuss how to access the server, determine where the relevant data is kept and decide how to best extract it. Perhaps you're using a CMS and need us to export content from the administrative backend. It may be necessary for us to install additional plugins, for example to support multiple languages or manage the database. We will help you decide whether to clone your localized website to a new domain name or whether to implement a 'Select Language' option on your existing website. We will also check if any graphics on your website (e.g. charts, diagrams, banners, etc.) require localization.
Translation, Editing, Proofreading
After completing these initial steps and obtaining the source code files & database extracts or CMS exports, we prepare the text to be translated in such a way, that the context is preserved for the translator. We might achieve this by providing screenshots and URLs of the original website and/or by using special software to create a table that includes comments which will aid the translator(s). If we developed an SEO strategy for you, we will instruct our translator(s) accordingly. Our localization project will follow the strict guidelines that apply to all our translation projects, e.g. creation of a glossary beforehand to ensure consistent terminology is used throughout the project.
Localized Resource Integration
Next, we will implement the translation in a development environment. Depending on your resources, this might be your existing server, configured with a separate subdomain and .htaccess authentication to restrict public access, or a separate development server, either provided by you or sourced by us. Essentially, this will be a clone of the current website that is only accessible by us. We will then use this server to implement the translated content and thus create the localized website.
UI Linguistic Review & Bug Fixing
Once the translation has been implemented in the development environment, we have our linguists review everything in detail to make sure there are no contextual errors, grammar mistakes or similar. We also have our developers ensure that all of the localized website's features and functions work as intended and that everything is being displayed correctly. Should there be any issues, e.g. a word is too long to fit on a button, linguistic errors, technical problems, bugs and so on, we will fix them.
Final Steps (2nd QA, Help Documentation, Release)
Once we feel confident that everything is fine, we assign a fresh team to perform a 2nd QA prior to presenting the localized website to you. If you're happy with the result, we move on to the documentation phase, in which we provide you with any technical information you would like to share with your own IT team. We're now ready to submit the localized files for you to implement in the production environment. If you would like, we can also take care of this step for you.
3. Localization of Software
About Localizing Software
When it comes to software, localization means the adapting of computer programs to different languages, regions and technical requirements of a particular target markets. As a prerequisite, this involves a step called internationalization – a process of (re)designing an application in such a way that it supports being adapted to a specific region and language by adding locale-specific components and translating text. Ideally, internationalization is a part of the original development of the software, rather than performed retrospectively.
We start by analyzing your current situation and determining what the scope of service will be for your project. This involves finding the answers to questions such as: “Which tasks can/will your developing team handle?”, “What programming language was the software written in?” and “Does the source code already provide an infrastructure for localization?”. If your software involves any video or audio, we will offer to translate, subtitle or dub it for you. It will also be important to cover all features and options of your software to determine which of the following changes will be needed:
Numeral systems, pluralization and grammar rules, writing direction, text layout, capitalization, etc.
Keyboard shortcuts, print settings (e.g. paper sizes), postal address format, currency, symbols, etc.
Third party services, such as online maps, weather reports and payment processors.
Internationalization & Localization
After assessing our initial position and planning our approach, we can move on to the source code. If we will be handling the internationalization, we start by redeveloping the software in order to equip it with the necessary infrastructure for supporting localization to your desired target languages. This process will leave us with so-called language files and rule sets, which can then be translated and adapted to each target language by our respective linguists. Naturally, our software localization will follow the strict guidelines that apply to all of our translation projects, such as the creation of a glossary to ensure consistent use of terminology and extensive proofreading by a second linguist.
Compiling an Alpha-Version
Next we recompile the internationalized source-code with the localized language files and rule sets to receive an alpha-version that is ready for testing. Our developers will set up various virtual machine environments and install the the alpha-version there for testing. They will also create detailed instructions for our linguists to ensure each and every feature of your software is tested during the next step.
UI Linguistic Review & Bug Fixing
Linguists will be provided with remote-desktop access to the virtual machines running different versions of the operating system along with step-by-step instructions for testing the software's functionality. Any errors are noted and corrected in this phase.
Final Steps (2nd QA, Help Documentation, Release)
Once we feel confident that everything is fine, we let a new fresh team perform a 2nd QA prior to submitting the localized software to you for review. If you're happy with the result, we move on to the documentation phase. Your developers might for example requested specific technical information for future reference. We will also offer to create/translate any end-consumer manuals, help files and tutorials for you.