Posted by shahzad-bashir on August 6, 2021

15 Common Mistakes in Software Localization

15 Common Mistakes in Software Localization

There are many common software localization mistakes many brands still do, which prevent them from thriving in global markets.

It has been seen through research that effective software localization significantly enhances overall customer experience, and they can better resonate with your software.  

Let’s have a close look at some common mistakes.

Why Is Software Localization Important?

Global problems demand global solutions. In this perspective, global business demands a global audience. For this reason, the localization industry is growing day by day. With the growing demand for localization, software localization has become an important aspect. As people use games, mobiles, and website software for their ease to keep abreast of the international and national arena. In this regard, software localization is trending. It is not merely translation but complete cultural adoption. To live in this multi-cultural and multi-linguistic world, it has become mandatory to learn to live with peace. In this context, one has to learn and respect each other’s cultural differences. By all means, the localization industry and its domains are helping to achieve this dream. 

Mistakes Before Starting Software Localization Process

There is no denying the fact that localization is quite a complex process. It requires all localization management platforms along with localization software tools. With all the essentials, software localization comes across. Developers are making many common mistakes in the localization process that should be avoided. Some might think just of translation, and some might not undertake the cultural difference. Owing to their mistakes, repercussions followed by offending the global audience, hurting business, damaging the brand’s reputation, and clashes among nations can occur. 

Following is a list of some common mistakes that happen sometimes before the start of software localization.

1. Inexperienced Freelancers

If you are planning to localize your software; you may fall for inexpensive freelancers who can give you work at a low market rate and with speed. But have you ever imagined that this work is worth localizing? Many companies do that. Companies hire inexperienced translators to localize their software. Resultantly, their brand image ended up in disaster. Because localization demands cultural adoption. It is not just a word-to-word translation. This process requires proper localization tools and localization management like MarsHub. This is a localization management platform that offers a platform for enterprises, language service providers, and linguists or translators to work robustly. This platform is incorporated with the cloud-based translation management system that provides efficient software localization results with the help of vigilant translators.

2. Thinking of Translation Instead of Localization

First of all, developers may think of mere translation rather than localization. Localization is not simply a translation. It is a cultural-based content adaptation. But to expand business globally, localization concerning internationalization is necessary. The most observed mistake in software localization is that people do not think of localizing the website or mobile application. They just think of translation. They do not care for the different traditions and customs of different regions. But the need of the world is not translated. In this multi-linguistic and multicultural world, there is a need for time to localize. Software localization can come up in forms like mobile apps, websites, and systems. Once you are done with software localization, the continuous localization will update the new changes and strings with the help of advanced translation memory software.

3. Little Knowledge is Dangerous

If you are studying abroad, and know any foreign language, do you think of doing software localization? If yes, then you are making a huge mistake. The global pandemic i.e. Covid-19 has indeed enhanced the importance of working from home. People are getting digitized more than ever. They are thinking of going global or doing business at the global level. As per demands, the trend of localization has increased to understand each other’s differences for business needs. In this scenario, one common mistake is when some people might think of the localization process by themselves or any of their fellows if they happen to know any foreign language. But they happen to forget that little knowledge is dangerous. Because localization is not about knowing any language. It is about the adoption of values, norms, and context. 

4. Relying on Free Software

Another important mistake is when enterprises rely on free software like Google Translate and on machine translation to translate the content. Business history is full of blunders and wise choices when it comes to localization. The localization mistakes which are done by multinational giants like KFC, Pepsi, and Pepsodent are clear. For instance, when Pepsi’s slogan was wrongly interpreted in China as” Pepsi can bring back the dead ones”. This was a huge backlash for the brand because it offended people. If only one slogan can hurt your brand image like what happened in the case of Pepsi, how can free-of-cost software and word-to-word translation help to localize the software entirely? Before starting the localization process, this is a common mistake often by the developers.

Mistakes During Software Localization

Some developers are also making common errors during the localization process. Following is a brief overview of mistakes that should be avoided by every means.

5. Layouts

Languages vary from region to region. As not every language has the same formatting style and carries equal space. For example, the English language is compact among other languages like German, Japanese, Chinese, etc. Accordingly, some languages take up more space than others. If during the process of software localization, you do not prepare for this, the string might overlap due to tight spacing. Resultantly, after translation, editing will be required for the interface. As for doing the mobile app software localization, most people do use the international language English to reach out to the global audience. It’s an idiomatic language and can convey its meaning in short sentences. Space issues arise when translation happens into native languages like Korean or Japanese. So, this is a common mistake that occurs during software localization, and designers must keep this point while designing the localization software.

6. Localization Regardless of Tone and Style

Any localization tool can translate the content, whether related to mobile or website. But it is very important to understand the difference in style and tone. For example, you are about to convey two different genres of messages. Here your localization management platform uses different localization tools to translate the message, but if you want to raise an emergency related to Covid-19 you cannot afford to use slang. Likewise, you can not use aggressive words just to inform them about the weather. That is where localization often makes mistakes which lead to a problematic phase

7. Text Directly to the Code

The software localization process will get down slow if the text is embedded into the code directly. For translators, there is a need to determine which segments need translation and which do not. For this determination they need code. However, the embedding text makes the localization process expensive.

8. Lack of Unicode Support

Apart from the above, lack of Unicode support is another major and common localization mistake. For example, if you are using an English server and your browsing team is in China and searching in Chinese, the letters will get corrupted. This happening backlash the translation process as well as the localization process. UTF-8 is the best choice to fix these letters’ impairment. It helps to develop Unicode support.

9. Some Initial Mistakes

Apart from translating the content, during software localization initial criteria is also important. But the difference in initials like code, dates, numbers, units, and time should be taken into consideration. For example, different countries use different date formats. It may be 27.07.2021 or 07.27.2021. Likewise writing style of time also varies from region to region like 15:00 or 3:00 pm. People think that these initials do not need any localization. But in reality, these are some kinds of initials and can cause abrupt mistakes during software localization. Because these initials can generate serious issues after localization. To avoid these kinds of blunders, developers need to use libraries to assist different locales. This will help to change the time, date, currency, and units into different zones according to the area.

10. Do Not Misuse Icons or Symbols

Icons and symbols hold great importance for every region. During software localization, one must try to avoid icons, if he is using the icons be sure to use them in the correct order. For example, the U.S. mailbox style does not localize to many other regions or cultures. That’s why there should be full research on how to use animals, hands, and religious symbols accordingly.

11. Lack of Content Owing to Confusion

Translators find a tough time in translation when strings include variables. They work on files and strings. It would be difficult for them to differentiate between a verb and a noun. So, there is a need to add notes and comments side by side. Apart from style guides and glossaries, context information can be provided to translators directly. It will give you an edge, and it removes ambiguity from the context. As the context is everything when it comes to software localization and translation.

12. Concatenated Strings

The other common localization mistake is when concatenated sentences are split up into several parts. Here localization grammar and language structure change the meaning of the sentences, which can cause problems in localization.

13. Display Images with Text

Embedding images into the text is a great way of conveying the message. Because people get attracted and are likely to understand the message through pictures easily. Also, not everyone is literate, so images hold great importance in the business world. Apart from its importance, images reduce the localization cost as these graphics reduce the word count for translation. However, these images with text can cause serious trouble in software localization. Firstly, it can cost you greatly. Secondly, images and symbols do not carry the same meaning across the border. For example, red is the fertility symbol in India, but the same red color is the mourning symbol in Africa. That is how images and colored graphics can cause troubleshooting problems in localization.

14. Language Difference

One of the most common mistakes is not considering the language format fully. For instance, some languages like Arabic and Hebrew are read from right to left while some languages like Chinese are read from top to bottom. These differences sometimes get neglected during software localization. For instance, if a language service provider platform only uses machine translation and its translators do not go into the details of that initial, software localization can seriously damage your business reputation.

15. Un-specified Country’s Code

Another common mistake in software localization is the specification of a language but not a country. Sometimes the same language is spoken and spelled in different regions with nuanced differences. For instance, English is spoken in Britain and America. Developers just localize the content without mentioning a country. This half specification can make localization difficult.

Wrapping Up

In a nutshell, software localization is a complex process. But it has enormous advantages in the business world. According to contemporary demands, it can boost your business to the heights of success. But this localization process is facing numerous issues like pixel-based layouts, language differences, lack of Unicode support, initials differences, and many more as mentioned above. Undoubtedly, these mistakes in the localization process can hurt the business reputation as well as the global audience. These mistakes should be avoided by every means. For this, one has to choose the best localization management platform to reap the benefits of software localization. For instance, MarsHub is one of the best cloud-based platforms that can give you full access to localize your software without any hassle.

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