Software Localisation vs. Standard Translation

Software Localisation vs. Standard Translation

How do they differ, and why does it matter? Software has become such an essential part of our world that it’s impossible to imagine a life without it.

Software has become such an essential part of our world that it’s impossible to imagine a life without it. There’s hardly a service or product around us that wasn’t created with software or that runs on software.

We’re all familiar with software on computers in the form of operating systems, office applications and web browsers. Of course, there’s a lot of software on mobile devices too. And then there are household appliances, vehicles, production facilities and so forth. The whole world seems to run on software!

The trouble is: most software is created in English. That’s fine if you want to stay local but can become an issue when your product or app is meant to reach users around the globe.

This is precisely where software localisation comes in. But how exactly does it differ from standard translation? Let’s find out.


What is software localisation?

Software localisation can be a lot more complex than standard translation. According to leading language services provider SDL, ‘software localisation is the process of adapting a software product to the linguistic, cultural and technical requirements of a target market’.

Like translation, it involves translating a software interface from a source language into other (target) languages. But it also comprises localising measurements, dates and currencies to the respective target language and region, and culturally adapting terminology to the local culture of the target region in each case. A successful software localisation process will also cover other elements such as help files, licence agreements, user manuals or installation instructions.

While a regular translation would certainly convey the _words _in the software in another language, it would not necessarily focus on the** level of user-friendliness of the interface for users in the target markets. Software localisation, on the other hand, **adapts the entire content perfectly to the specific needs in each region or culture. This can go all the way down to aspects like widening menu items because some languages are naturally more wordy and need more space than others. As you can see, this improves the user experience in a way a standard translation might not.

machine-learning technology localization translation software-development deep learning

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