Localization is the process to adapt a software systems to the
language and the customs of other countries. Localization is frequently
underestimated both by technical staff and management in terms of
the organizational issues that appear and the financial resources
thar are required to succeed.
This page is meant to give you a first idea about what you have
to expect when you plan to localize you software system.
The following issues are common to most localization projects:
- Localization Software Architecture:
Localizing a monolingual application often requires to change
the core of the application (relational data model, core Java
classes, presentation layer, ...). And these core structures have
to be in sync with the requirements of the translation workflow
management. Fortunately, there are a set of software patterns
that repeat itself even across different languages and technologies.
The translation process is expensive and slow. An average translator
is able to process about 3000 words per day, with quality reductions
in the case of time pressure. Considerable coordination problems
occur if several translators are working at the same project (terminology
management). Also, the translation quality sometimes becomes an
issue if the wrong type of translators is employed.
- Multilingual Consistency Maintenance:
Most localized products have a lifecycle that includes changes
to the application, the GUI and/or the accompanying documentation.
These changes again have to be kept in sync between all target
languages, requiring a considerable organizational overhead. These
issues are typically addressed by the:
- Translation Workflow:
- Process Consulting:
Maintaining multilingual software and its documentation across
version changes and updates if very difficult and requires a very
specific set of processes. Please see the section about Localization
for a global rollout
An introductory InfoWorld article about the challenges the GE
has faced during the gobal rollout of their e-commerce services.
The article carefully distinguisheds between "internationalization"