After succeeding in your local market, you should look at entering international markets, where localization of your software graphical user interface (GUI) may become a necessity. Often, a software localization group or a technical translation services group is tasked at this point with converting the application into other languages, including its GUI.
All applications containing a GUI rely on text and graphics to enhance the interface with the user. This often takes the form of icons, menus, dialog boxes, tool tips, and messages.
Traditionally, the process that is followed begins with translating the GUI text. Then, the geometrical X and Y coordinates of text in the dialog boxes are changed to accommodate the typically larger text strings resulting from the translation.
After the translation and resizing are completed, the application is compiled. Quality assurance (QA) is then performed to ensure the accuracy of the translation and location of strings, as well as the absence of truncated strings, corrupt characters, or hard-coded text.
When all the problems are reported, localizers or developers must essentially repeat the initial steps:
- Correct the reported problems
- Re-translate the corrected resource files
- Recompile the application
- Perform final QA checks to ensure accuracy
When n languages are involved, the above process will take place 2n times, twice for each language. The same problems are often reported by different language teams, and then verified by those same teams.
Pseudo-translation can be used to resolve many localization problems before any translation takes place, eliminating the majority of the problems that are redundantly reported by the localization QA teams. Here is how:
1. Detecting encoding problems
2. Detecting hard-coded strings
3. Allowing for string expansion
The benefits of pseudo-translation help you avoid the problems that can increase your localization costs and delay your release:
1. No significant last-minute rework to source code to remove encoding problems will be needed.
2. Hard-coded strings will no longer need to be localized at the last minute, requiring updates to your resource files in all target languages.
3. Minimum resizing will be needed for each of the target languages.
4. QA time is minimized.
5. Overlap work among the different language QA teams is eliminated.
Perhaps the best part about pseudo-translation is that it does not require any language skills. Your developers or SQA staff, with the help of scripts or inexpensive off-the-shelf software, can perform the task – but only if you schedule and plan for it.
If they are too busy, which is the main reason we hear why it is almost never done, contact the pros! The savings are well worth the effort.
For more information, read the full article with visual examples.
About the Author
Nabil Freij is the author of Enabling Globalization and the president, founder, and owner of GlobalVision International, Inc. (www.globalvis.com), a Software Localization and Translation specialist. He is trilingual and holds an MSEE from Brown University and an MBA from Bryant University. Freij has worked for 25 years in the hardware, software, and localization industries. He has traveled the world and lived in five countries. He is frequently published and quoted. Nabil is married and has two children. He currently resides in Palmetto, FL. Mr. Freij can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can read his blog at: http://blog.globalvis.com.