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Software localisation

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The localisation of your software involves several elements, which are parts of a single process. After all, your software application consists of different components, which can only be viewed as a whole when they are merged into one:

  • The program itself (resource files)
  • The graphical user interface (GUI)
  • The help files and online help
  • The printed documentation
  • The Readme file

In order to create a professional end product, it is absolutely vital that the individual components are translated in the sequence described above. Several rules need to be heeded in order to produce a perfect translation of your software:

  • Have the GUI translated first
  • Make sure that the documentation is translated in the correct sequence
  • Include screenshots in the correct language in the document files to be translated

Have the GUI translated first

You can only be certain of obtaining a consistent translation if you entrust a professional translator with the entire project. This allows him to familiarise himself with the software and its functions and give him a feeling for the application, which, in turn, flows into the translation. It is absolutely imperative that the GUI is finalised and approved before work commences on translating the documentation. The quality of the final result will suffer immensely if the translator is repeatedly forced to go back over what he has already translated. The GUI is the most important element of the software, as the user must become acquainted and familiarise himself with it in order to be able to use your software effectively. This can only be achieved if he feels at ease with the GUI and is able to understand the commands and menus right from the very outset. A software application which forces the user to solve riddles at every turn will simply not be accepted, and will be very quickly deleted from his hard disk.

Apply a professional approach

The professional translator works with a Translation Memory tool such as SDL Trados. This method offers several advantages:

  • It ensures consistency, as previously translated sentences or terminology can be automatically integrated in the translation.
  • It accelerates the translation process and reduces the workload.
  • The format and layout are retained in their entirety.
  • Edited documents can be translated much more readily and quickly as the original text can be automatically translated.

Include the correct screenshots in the document files to be translated

Translating software documentation can be reduced to a very trying and time-consuming exercise if the translator needs to repeatedly ask the client how the commands or menu options are to appear in the final version, and only because the file he is translating still contains the original screenshots.

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