How to Create Content for Multilingual Software?

content.for.multilingual.software

The potential of localization keeps on growing day-by-day as more and more businesses realize that not prioritizing their product’s localization means missing out on many profitable markets. The biggest obstacle standing in the way is always the process of digital content translation. We agree that this may be often costly and time-consuming.

However, it seems that not many companies realize that being global-ready is more about creating content that will be easy to localize! Planning and thinking ahead can save a lot of money and time. That’s why we decided to write a blog piece that focuses on creating content for multilingual software. Just keep on reading!

Keep localization in mind from the very beginning

Think about the quality of source text and include this factor in the process of content creation. In this way, you make sure that the content will be global-ready and easy to translate. Best practices that will allow you to avoid revising poor translations involve writing short sentences in a neutral, clear style and avoiding grammar mistakes.

Identify languages for your localization project

Identify high-potential markets and exclude those that have little to no promise. Marketing specialists will be able to determine where a product’s users are located, and likewise with website visitors and trial users. By better understanding the target demographics of your products, you will discover the most relevant languages for your next localization project.

Keep localization strings in resource files

Resource files in the use case of localization contain resources specific to a given language. Recent application frameworks typically define a key-delimiter-value syntax for resource files, which will determine how you create pairs of keys and values for all user-visible strings in your application. Based on the user’s locale, appropriate values for these strings will be fetched and rendered in the user interface.

Text United supports a variety of resource files such as:

  • Android: .xml
  • iOS, Mac OS: .strings
  • Windows: .resx
  • Unix: .po, .pot
  • Java: .properties
  • JSON
  • YAML, YML

Plan the UI for expandable text

If you want to really do your best creating multilingual software, then remember to plan the UI for localization. Translated content can generally expand up to 30% in length for language combinations such as English to French and English to German. Planning the UI ahead will save you a lot of time after the product has been translated. The UI has to be flexible – don’t use hardcoded design elements.

In certain languages like Arabic and Hebrew, the text is read from right-to-left (RTL) requiring your entire design to be adjusted the opposite side. A modular design approach will come in handy when accommodating RTL languages. 

Watch out for line breaks and word wrapping

Latin languages will use spaces to separate words, however East Asian languages such as Chinese, Korean and Japanese do not. These are character-based languages, and your application cannot rely on the usual line breaks and word wrapping algorithms for displaying text. Your UI will have to be adjusted specifically for these languages with the assistance of a linguistic expert.

For example, text parsing for Japanese will require a specific Japanese word segmentation algorithm, which has to be highly accurate, as Japanese or Chinese words cannot be simply broken down wherever it seems convenient.

Use a Translation Management System for Multilingual Software

Nowadays, using spreadsheets and emails for planning your localization project may not be the best idea. This manual process is replaced by using a Translation Management Software (TMS). A TMS will have features that allow you to manage, translate and monitor your translation project at any time.

Some key elements that every TMS should have for software localization projects are:

 

Are you prepared to make your software global-ready?

 

 

Gosia
Written By:

Gosia loves copywriting and product translation. Additionally, she's a content marketing and lolcats junkie.

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