Localizing a software product for foreign markets is not in itself as difficult as it might seem. However, even today, in the twenty-first century, we regularly hear about unsuccessful attempts to enter the international market.
In this article, we’ll look at five main reasons why software localization can fail. If you avoid these mistakes, your chances of success will increase exponentially.
1. Incorrect or incomplete internationalization of the product
Very often, attempts to internationalize a product fail because the internationalization is incorrect or simply incomplete. Do you consider the following points when localizing?
● First, it is imperative that you adhere to established internationalization standards: use Unicode and externalize custom strings.
● Perform pseudo-translations and quality control.
● Develop a localization toolkit that includes resource packs, an installation script, user manuals, and other files that end users see when they use your software product.
● Finally, double-check your localization toolkit for completeness and correctness before proceeding with localization.
2. Lack of methodology
The lack of a localization methodology (or using an outdated, untested or incomplete methodology) can have far-reaching consequences for future updates to your product and the success of localization in general. Before embarking on localization, develop a plan that includes the following key steps:
● Preparing files
● Compiling a database of translations
● Translation optimization
● Reuse translation
Using a clear localization methodology makes it easier to work with files and allows for reuse of translations. It is also important to ensure that there are reference materials for the project – style guides, translation databases, glossaries for each language used by your target audience.
3. Insufficient budget
There are very inexpensive methods of getting a translation. Machine translation can be effective if all you need is to convey the main content of the document. But this is rarely enough, and, of course, such a translation is unacceptable when it comes to entering the international market. Professional translations and localization services are expensive and require significant financial investments, both initially and subsequently, on an ongoing basis.
Before determining your localization budget, try to calculate how much it will cost you a failed attempt.
4. Insufficient time to complete work
Indeed, the correct definition of the strategy, the use of effective methods and the involvement of a team of professionals are important factors that can ensure the success of a localization project. But it takes time to get a quality result; an emergency approach is inappropriate here. Allocate as much time as they deserve to implement localization projects, even if you have to postpone the time to market. It is better to delay the release of the product a little, but to make it of high quality, than to meet the deadlines at the expense of quality.
5. Inexperienced staff
To implement your localization project, you need good project managers, translators, engineers, and layout specialists. Hire experienced translators who are fluent in the source and target languages, and who are familiar with your specific industry. You will also need competent technical personnel. Assign project management to an experienced manager who can ensure that the work is completed on time, within budget and in pre-defined quality standards.
So, for localization to be successful, you need to use the best technologies and methods and attract the best staff. It is also important to correctly determine the budget and timing of localization, which requires a certain amount of experience. The best way to avoid potential problems and mistakes and reduce costs is to contact a localization service provider with relevant experience. Professional help will help you realize your global vision.