Whether you’re selling software as a service (SaaS) or a tangible product, internationalization, localization, and translation can open up the global market for you. Very often, it’s required in domestic markets, too, if you wish to reach out to diverse audiences.
If your startup’s website or mobile app is only in English, it’s accessible to only about 16% of the global population. So, at its simplest, these services offer you the means to communicate with your customers. Now, who wouldn’t like to do that, right?
So, let’s get on to the nitty-gritties of what mobile app localization, software localization, internationalization, and translation look like. But first, let’s get an important question out the way.
When exactly should you start localizing?
It used to be that companies would build their product in English or their native/source language and would only consider translation at a later point.
But with increasing penetration of the Internet globally, two things have changed: one, there is no saying who in the world might be currently looking for your product in their language.
Secondly, today the tools and technologies to localize and internationalize your app and website for multiple languages and locales are easily available. Localization and internationalization done at an earlier stage will save much more time, effort, and money than if done further downstream. So, the question should actually be, why not localize now instead of later?
Internationalization is the process of making one source code work for all languages so that your website or app work on any device and in any language. It is called I18n in short, as there are 18 characters between I and N.
If you don’t internationalize your code, you will have to re-write your code for different operating systems, locales, and languages again and again.
We at Braahmam believe that internationalization is about taking care of the small details in order to make the big picture come alive. Let’s show you how:
Date/time, number, currency, and address formats: In India, the date format is DDMMYYYY. However, in the US, it is MMDDYYYY. Now, if your product was built in the US, is being used in India, and has not been internationalized, you might be issuing invoices to your customers with dates all wrong. You can easily imagine what a mess that is going to create.
The same is the concern with all other elements such as number, currency, and address. If your products are priced in euros, do you expect your Middle Eastern customers to pull out their calculator every time to do the conversion? Fat chance.
If your shopping basket does not allow your customers to type in their addresses in the local formats, your products might just get lost, and you’d have angry customers on the line.
Sort and search functionality: Are your users able to search the information they need on your website? Is it displaying in a usable, helpful format? If not, expect them to bounce off your site in no time.
Content embedded in code: This is a strict no-no. If content and code are not kept separate, you would have to extract code manually from the content, translate it, and insert it back every time you translate in a different language. Believe us when we say it: you don’t want to be doing this. Ever.
Unicode, double-byte, or multi-byte character support: Some Asian languages such as Chinese and Japanese consist of thousands of characters. Multi-byte encoding schemes are required to support these ideographic scripts.
Bi-directional support for Middle Eastern languages: On websites and apps with right-to-left languages such as Arabic and Hebrew, the entire user interface is aligned differently and not just the content. For instance, back buttons, icons, images are all placed right to left.
Embedded text in images: If images contain text in the source language, this will need to be translated every time you launch a new language. This involves several steps like editing the text in an image editing software and re-inserting the image with the translated text. It’s better to avoid these extra steps and keep content out of images.
Getting mobile app and software localization right
After internationalization, your software and mobile app are ready for localization. It refers to the process of tailoring the software or the mobile app to the requirements of a particular locale.
Translation, testing, and modifying the product to the local requirements are the key processes involved. A well-localized product will not make the user feel the product was not built in his/her home country.
Here, translation is not merely word-to-word but aims to provide a rich, smooth user experience. For instance, if an error message in the source language uses humor, the translator must make sure that the sense is conveyed in the translation. Often, literal translations will not be enough.
Translation of help files and user assistance (UA) content is included in software localization. Often, it makes a huge difference to customers when this content is translated right.
Modifying the product may involve many tweaks to get it right. Is your payment gateway popular among users in X country? Do the users in that country have very different expectations from products in your category? Is speed more important to them or the availability of a particular feature? All these questions and more need to be considered when localizing your product and mobile app.
Testing the product is critical to catch bugs before the launch of the product. Can the product be used by people in X country on the common devices in use there and not crash or cause other issues? Is the language displaying correctly? Are they able to find what they want and accomplish their tasks quickly and easily using your app? Localization testing delves into these questions so that the UX for international users is hiccup-free.
The Braahmam advantage
As a startup just stepping into the global market, processes such as localization and internationalization may seem a lot to handle. It doesn’t have to be. Let us do the heavy lifting for you so that you can be focused on your growth path. Here’s why choosing us is a smart step to take in your journey to international markets.
Our experience: We have been partnering with companies in their new market entries or expanding market reach for more than 20 years. There’s much that we’ve learned during this time. Our wealth of experience comes in handy to you, so you don’t have to go through a hard learning process.
The range of products, domains, and languages we’ve worked in: As we’ve been in the game a long time, our work portfolio is very diverse. We have worked in verticals such as e-learning, media, finance, legal, IT, etc and translated in 100+ languages.
Use of automation: Braahmam has always been a leader in the use of translation and localization tools to deliver faster and better. It helps our clients cut out the competition and get to market faster. We use the latest artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled translation and localization management tools to eliminate human touchpoints as much as possible, bring in more transparency, and consistently deliver high quality to our customers.
Our network of expert linguists and testers: We trust and value our translators and have built solid relationships with them by dint of our long tenure in the industry. It makes a difference to have your content translated by a native speaker who is also a subject matter expert than by someone who may be learning at your expense. We also have a separate team of linguists to review the content and give feedback. This makes sure we are catching errors early on.
We are excited to be working with young, energetic companies such as yours. Please get in touch with us today to internationalize and localize your software or mobile app.
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