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This week’s roundup focuses on software localization: three articles explaining how to do it the right way.

What is software localization? Top 5 questions (and answers) to get it right

As this article points out, only 20-30 percent of Internet users speak English. That means there’s a good chance you have a good number of potential users for your software that can be reached only by software localization.

The article explains a few important concepts such as: what is the difference between localization and internationalization.

It explains that internationalization involves the process of coding the software properly in the first place in order to make it easy to localize later. The internationalization part needs to be set in motion or taken care of well before any translators start working.

Some internationalization tasks include:

  • Making sure that the encoding will support foreign characters
  • Ensuring that none of the strings are hard coded and that all of them are in external language resource files
  • Ensuring that strings are not concatenated in the code
  • And so on.

It further explains a couple methods that software companies can use to transfer text to and from translators. First, manual localization involves sending all of the language resource files to the translators at once. Second, continuous localization, which is more automated and convenient, involves sending new strings to translators as they are updated and then pulled back into the repo as they are translated.

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A Primer in Software Localization

Due to its technical content, this short article may be more useful to developers than to anyone in other roles.

I recommend it because it not only gives examples of what language resource files look like, but it also links out to a couple open source projects that have been localized, so you can see the code and learn from what others have done.

It also gives bits and pieces of sage advice along the way such as:

  • Set up effective communication between developers and translators for the best chance of success
  • Beware that some APIs may provide only English language content
  • In most circumstances it’s not necessary to translate user-generated content

The Ultimate Guide to Software Localization

Unlike the previous article, this article is better for a CEO or marketing team members who don’t have a deep knowledge of software development.

It does a great job at giving a broad overview of the entire process without getting bogged down at any one point. Read it to get the general idea of the software development process from the beginning to end.

That’s our roundup for this week. Leave a comment below to share any great localization or translation articles you have read lately.

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