What is Localization Software? / Localization Software 101

What is translation localization software? What solutions are available and how can you choose the right one?


What is Localization Software?

Localization software is a type of software that supports the translation process by automating workflows and centralizing the translation process. Businesses rely on these software solutions to seamlessly scale their translation and localization management efforts as they expand into new markets. And linguists look to them to handle the manual and technical aspects of language localization so that they are free to concentrate on what they do best: translating a company’s words.

What Is Content Localization?

Before we talk more about localization software, let’s first go over what content localization is. Content localization is the process of adapting and ultimately transforming content so that it resonates in another country or locale. While it often involves translating text from one language to another, it doesn’t have to. Its focus is much broader.

With localization, content is made to feel “local” — that is, the cultural and country-specific aspects are addressed. That can include making changes to:

  • Spelling — For example, changing “localization” to “localisation” when localizing content for an audience in the United Kingdom.
  • Phrasing — This is especially critical with content that may be considered culturally insensitive or seem out of place to the intended audience.
  • Time and date formatting — Is it MM/DD/YYY or DD/MM/YYYY, for instance?
  • Measurements — Should it be miles or kilometers (or kilometres)?
  • Hyperlinks — Finding source material to link to in the target audience’s native language.
  • Images — Swapping out locale- or culture-specific images with others that speak to the new audience.
  • Emojis — Different cultures use emojis differently.
  • Right-to-left formatting — For localizing to Arabic and Hebrew, for instance.

How Is Localization Different From Translation?

In short, translation is one part of the localization process.

Most translators will consider localization issues when translating a text. But they are bound by the text. That is, their focus is on converting the words on the page into another language — always respecting the target language’s grammar rules and syntax — and faithfully conveying the meaning of the original text.

Localization helps solve technical and cultural issues around transforming a company’s content for a new audience. In essence, localization makes it possible for a translation to have a native feel.

Who Needs Localization Software?

Businesses looking to start, improve, or modernize their localization efforts may need localization software to support these efforts. Because translation and localization software automates workflows and makes the translation process much easier, it can serve as a valuable asset to anyone looking to modernize their presence. Using software to manage your localization needs puts you in control of your translation workflows and processes.

If you are hoping to expand into new global markets and scale your translation and localization efforts in a sustainable, cost-effective way, consider adapting localization software.

Here are some more benefits of using a localization content management system:

  • Workflows are automated and easily customizable
  • Linguistic assets, such as your translation memories, style guides, and glossaries, are easily accessible and searchable
  • Visual context is provided directly within the localization software
  • Quality checks minimize the risk of human error
  • Communication between project managers and linguists is kept within the platform

Taking advantage of these benefits helps businesses and translators reduce the time spent on repetitive, manual tasks, accelerating the translation process while simultaneously boosting quality.

What Content Should You Use Localization Software To Translate?

The short answer is everything and anything.

While website, software, and mobile app localization needs may be the first that come to mind, those are just the tip of the iceberg. Businesses interact with customers via a diverse selection of channels and have a wide array of content — from product packaging and marketing materials to emails and social media outreach. They all need to be localized so that businesses can connect with new markets.

Content localization software can help businesses seamlessly manage the translation process for each of these content types at scale.

How to Choose a Localization Software

Here are our top tips on how to choose a localization software:

Software Capabilities

One way to narrow down your search for a suitable translation localization software company is to see what capabilities are offered as part of the software service. Here are a few features that you may want to look for to level up your localization efforts:

  • Translation Management System: A translation management system helps you efficiently manage all of your translation projects in one place with the ability to automate various processes.
  • Automation and Integrations: Translation APIs, integrations, and web proxy deploy new content faster and in high quality.
  • Translation Proxy: Translation proxy is the fastest, most cost-effective way to deploy multilingual websites with nearly zero IT involvement.
  • CAT Tool: A decent CAT Tool should provide a translation interface with visual context, translation memory, and linguistic assets development.
  • Transcreation Tool: Transcreation is a process of translating the meaning, style, and tone of the source text, rather than only translating the words. The result is content that carries that same emotional impact as the source text.
  • Translation Analytics: Dashboard analysis and downloadable data allow you to measure and manage quality and cost.

Integration Capabilities

Look for translation and localization software that offers native integrations for your needs. A good localization software company will provide integrations for popular eCommerce platforms, content management systems, help desk portals, marketing hubs, and repositories to make localization effortless. Some providers may have integrations for your unique tech stack or even build a customized integration for your brand, so make sure to discuss their integration capabilities with them!

Dynamic Content Word Order

Localization often requires the order of words, phrases, or content to change within the sentence. That means that dynamic content — content that changes based on data and the individual user — needs to be moved around, too, even if it shouldn’t be translated. Choose a translation and localization software with a feature that takes care of this.

For example, Smartling’s translation localization software transforms dynamic content into placeholders: “Welcome %{username}, you have $%{balance} in your account.”

The translator can then move those placeholders to wherever they’re needed in the translated string without having to deal with any coding themselves. HTML and formatting tags, such as bolded text or line breaks, can also be represented simply and cleanly so that they can be inserted with no fuss in the target text. This reduces the risk of technical or rendering issues when a company’s localized content is published.

Ready to learn more? Contact us to get started: https://www.smartling.com/contact-us/

Are you looking to do more research? Download our Sample Translation RFP to organize your search.