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Go Global With Software Globalization
By David Yuri
In the past few years, more and more companies understood the need for globalization. They started to employ the services of specialized companies in order to reach the global market with their products or services. When it comes to globalization, it is a process that requires the expertise of a true professional.
In a broader sense, Globalization, Internationalization and Localization is an approach to business strategy that aims to address all of the logistical and organizational challenges an enterprise faces as it expands its supporting content, assets and message across cultures and markets to new clients. Globalization incorporates internationalization and localization to achieve this goal. More specifically, globalization describes the adaptation of or web sites to allow a business to function across different locales or language or cultural domains. This process involves market knowledge, linguistic and cultural skills as well as engineering.
Internationalization is the process of generalizing a product so that it can handle multiple languages and cultural conventions without the need for re-design. Internationalization takes place at the level of program design and document development. Localization involves taking a product and making it linguistically and culturally appropriate to the target market where it will be used and sold. In general, internationalization is the precursor to localization.
Internationalization of has always been a complex and time consuming task especially for the older legacy products where the underlying technologies provide minimal support for internationalization. More often than not, products have been designed without any consideration for other languages. The approach to internationalization is thus to ensure language independence throughout the entire program code and the resulting internationalized version can be localized into other languages. This necessitates highly specialized skills and companies hire only the best in the industry for the job.
Software localization is the process of adapting the product to enable its acceptability for a particular
cultural or linguistic market. Translation is the central activity of localization. Localization goes beyond literal translation, in addition to idiomatic language translation, numerous locale details such as currency, national regulations and holidays, cultural sensitivities, product or service names, gender roles, and geographic examples among many other details must all be considered. A successfully localized product is one that seems to have been developed within the local culture.
Localizing a product is not a trivial task, and in practice not all products are localized to the same extent. On average, technical products and proprietary business-to-business applications will be less likely to be fully localized. However, it would be a mistake to conclude automatically from this that English is good enough. In the real world of business today, factors influencing the extent of localization include the nature and scope of the product concerned, the size of the target market and audience, the length of the product lifecycle and anticipated update frequencies, competitor behavior, market acceptance, and national or international legislation. Only after a thorough analysis of these issues and of potential consequences should a decision not to localize, or to localize only in part, be made.
As the world of localized products expands, it is possible for organizations to expand their market boundaries successfully if they proceed in an orderly and organized fashion. Significant and diligent market research is required to avoid an expensive foray into a marketing debacle.
We are an established company helping enterprises roll out their applications to the global market. From globalization consultancy, software localization and internationalization to localization testing, our services cover the entire spectrum of software globalization. No matter the language, culture or geography, we are adept at transforming your existing products to ably support your global strategies.