If you want your software business to make it big in foreign markets, you’ll obviously opt for the software localization strategy. But, where do you start? Software localization strategy involves a lot of elements and therefore, preparing one is never going to be an easy task. However, it’s not impossible, either. Remember, if you want your business to reap success in international markets, you will need to get everything done right from the initial stages.
1. Research and plan
Just because your software has a good demand in your country, don’t assume that you’ll get the same results overseas. Deeply analyse various elements of your software localisation project before you move forward. Go through your web traffic stats to see natives of which country visit your site more. Weigh the pros and cons of launching your software in that country and check whether you have any local support there. Research well and plan accordingly.
Remember, every person around the globe does not understand English. If you want to launch your product overseas, an English-only website won’t work. Therefore, research about the languages the natives use in the country you plan to launch your product. Of course, you don’t want to enter a new market and fail just because of the language of your website. Therefore, research well and plan accordingly.
• Design elements
Choose the design elements that work uniformly irrespective of the changing languages and Internet speed. One such element is the software design layout. Make sure that the software works in terms of design layout, even when translated into different languages. Also, the Internet speeds around the globe will never be the same. Remember, your potential customers have little time , so ensure that your site loads quickly. If needed, you can rely on a CDS (Content Delivery Network) to provide uniform use experience to everyone.
Consider your budget while preparing software localization strategy. If translating the app into multiple languages is too costly for you to bear at the moment, don’t do it. Instead, choose one or two countries, whose market can provide you with the highest localization ROI.
2. Build a strong team
For successful software localization, you must have a strong team with the right skills and talents that can easily collaborate with each other professionally. Many team members may be working from different parts of the world. Here’s the bunch of people that you need to create a good team:
• Choose native translators who can help you to translate in such a way that the local audience can relate to your product.
• Choose people with basic technical skills. Hire a person with little knowledge in computers and your project will end up being chaotic.
• You’ll need skilled software developers, who are well versed in coding and application of internationalization methods, for your team. Apart from that, they will have to understand the working method of translators.
• Choose talented local marketing advisors and legal consultants who can help you with the laws of the country you plan to launch your product in. Afterall, the anti-competition laws and restrictions when it comes to marketing differ with countries.
3. Choose the right translation management software
Select Translation Management Software (TMS) that you feel is apt for your software localization project. It must have features that allow you to smoothly manage your team and to ensure that every member of the team is equally aware about the project. Choose a web-based platform that will help you to reduce your expenses, but allow you to easily manage your team. Ensure that the platform comes with an inbuilt API that makes automation easier and allows the programmers to easily add new elements into the workflow. Also, the TMS you choose must allow easy communication between the team members by sending messages, uploading screen shots, tagging people, giving feedbacks etc. Your TMS must also allow translating directly into the website or software thereby speeding up the workflow and reducing the time taken for providing technical training to team members. Also, a TMS allows you to build up a translation memory thus helping to complete the projects faster. The commonly used terms in the language you are working in will be saved and gives he translators the opportunity to work at a faster pace.
4. Internationalize your software
It’s always better to start planning for internationalizing your software from the beginning, rather than thinking of selling the product overseas at the last minute. This allows you to easily integrate different languages in to your software.
• The programmers will apply Unicode (UTF-8) through the software to bring uniformity in encoding between languages, thereby providing a unique symbol for every character and can be applied to almost all languages.
• The programmers will separate source code from the translation strings and store it to be used in the future so that the data can be used in each new language.
• By internationalizing your software, you can prepare codes for local preferences thus making it easy to change date, time, measurements and currency accordingly.
5. Perform localization and linguistic testing
This step shouldn’t really be missed if you wish to have long-term success in foreign markets. Rope in local testers to your team to ensure that your message is clear and is accurate in terms of vocabulary and also, looks appealing. Also, hire expert programmers who can imitate the user experience for you across different operation systems and platforms. With localization testing, you can ensure that your software performs well at the best speed. It also helps to ensure that the translations and code are accurate. Also, ensure that the natives can relate to the images, symbols, icons etc. that you use.
The best way is to split your software localization project into sub projects making it easy to work on the different elements. Take enough time to research and plan. Also, create a skilled and hard working team to get the best results. Choose the translation management software that works for you and take necessary steps to internationalize your software. After all these, test the software for defects. Remember, it’s worth delaying your software launch by a few days to test your software than ending up with unhappy customers and bad reviews.