Localize This! This is exactly where Localization comes in

Localize This! This is exactly where Localization comes in

Building software for distribution on the internet opens your product up to almost everyone on the planet, but here’s the catch… this limitless pool of potential customers don’t all speak your language. This is exactly where Localization comes in.

Building software for distribution on the internet opens your product up to almost everyone on the planet, but here’s the catch… this limitless pool of potential customers don’t all speak your language. This is exactly where Localization comes in.

In theory, localization is the conduit for you to reach all of these customers, but if you thought it was as simple as running your texts through Google translate or sending some strings to a translator, you’d be wrong. There are so many more steps to consider.

Larger companies will usually have a dedicated localization team, so that engineers or developers don’t necessarily need to worry about all of the ins and outs. That said, there are still a number of things you need to think about as well as ways that you can affect (read: improve or destroy) the localization process and the impact that you have on users who don’t speak your source language, regardless of whether you are working on back-end or front-end. You don’t need to be a polyglot to have a positive impact; here are just a few tips and things you can do to optimize localization from the developer’s perspective:

  1. Out of Sight, Out of Mind

It’s a simple but easily forgotten rule: Follow the localization process set-up by your teams.

While it’s a good idea to automate the fetching and receiving of translations to relieve the burden of manual labour, it also means you don’t necessarily need to think about localization when you are writing and deploying your code. At the same time, though, it’s important that you don’t forget about localization. This could mean anything from wrapping your text correctly so that your automation actually works, making sure your localization client is installed, or simply bearing in mind that whatever text you create needs to go into whatever languages your product is offered in, and remembering to add some time at the end of your project cycle to ensure your strings are translated. Remember, for each of the languages your company localizes into, 1 or even 2 pairs of eyes need to work with those texts, and this process can take anywhere up to a week. Similarly, it’s not a great user experience to just deploy in English and expect the translations to catch up. Something as easy as adding a step to your pre-deploy checklist to ensure the localization is done correctly can save A LOT of time and hassle later (believe me, I know!)

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