As a developer, knowing the importance of software localization can be instrumental in your professional career. This refers to the process of adapting software for a web or mobile application so that it can be a good fit for the language and culture that it caters to. In this sense, software localization can be thought of as one of the crucial steps in product development. 

For companies that rely on eCommerce platforms to conduct their business internationally, software localization should be a major part of their overall strategy. It has many benefits that include increasing the accessibility of your program to serve a wider audience, increasing click-through rates by making it easier for customers to understand your call to action, improving user experience, increasing conversion rates, boosting company sales, and increasing business revenue.  

In this article, we highlight the main planning steps that you need to follow in software localization. 

Plan Your Business Strategy

As a first step, you need to sketch out a detailed business plan regarding where you want to expand and what markets you plan to enter. This will enable you to identify the resources and expertise you need, budgetary requirements, realistic timelines, and the overall scope of the project. 

For instance, if you are a US-based clothing brand wishing to enter the Spanish retail market, you need to identify the different language variants you plan on targeting in your localization process. This is due to the fact that different dialects of Spanish exist, and not all of them are supported by major operating systems.

Having a clear idea of your business expansion plans can enable you to make smart decisions to enable your company’s growth. 

Make a Software Localization Roadmap

After identifying your company’s business plan and defining the scope of the project, you need to define the technical aspects of the software localization process, which involve two major stages, namely internationalization and localization

Internationalization is the process that prepares the software to be localized. This can involve preparing the software to shift between different languages, taking care of differences in text length and language orientation, and factoring in differences in currency, date, and time formats. 

One example is planning for coding the right strings, which means that they will need to be extracted and localized. For instance, if you are planning to localize your software for Asian languages, the UTF-16 string can be helpful.

Localization, on the other hand, is the process of adapting the software to local needs. This involves extracting resource files, selecting the translation method, reviewing the translation, and copying the files into the code structure. 

Get the Right Resources

To help execute this task successfully, you will need to hire a team of experienced professionals. Due to the nature of the job, your team will consist of people with a range of expertise, such as developers, content writers, translators, and editors. You may also need to hire externally. For instance, if you are a tech company expanding in Japan, an in-market reviewer, such as a local marketing executive, can offer useful insights regarding the translated strings. 

Your team can also consider localization tools to enable faster and cost-efficient workflows. This can also automate the process and allow it to be scalable in the long run Some features of software localization technology include cloud-based management platforms, continuous workflows, terminology management, automated import and export of coded strings, and performance statistics, among others. 

For example, you can adopt a software localization tool to take care of repetitive and otherwise time-consuming tasks. 

Run Quality Assurance Tests

4 Key Planning Steps In Software Localization

You also need to factor in the time and effort to perform quality tests upon the completion of the localization process. This will involve proofreading translated texts for linguistic errors and inconsistencies, and ensuring optimal functionality in terms of layout, display, and formatting. 

Ideally, you should develop a comprehensive quality test plan and aim to complete at least two quality assurance tests. The costs of quality tests depend on a number of factors, including content volume, content quality, deadlines, and other project specifications. 

You can also consider adopting a built-in quality control tool to make the process faster and cheaper. 

Final Thoughts

Software localization is key to enhancing the user experience and capturing the international market. By localizing your software to resonate with different types of customers, you can improve your business’s chances of effectively expanding into new markets, such as non-English speaking countries, while also increasing brand awareness and affinity. While it may add to your overall fixed cost, it has a high return on investment and can be a major factor in establishing a global client base. 

Also Read: Essential Tools for Web Developers