Bookmark and Share
Email This Link
Download PDF version

An Introduction to Translation and Localization for the Busy Executive


The localization process can be daunting for anyone stepping into a role with responsibilities for developing global markets for products and services. What initially seems like a simple “language conversion” can rapidly move into unfamiliar territory as you discover the cultural and technical complexities of localization.

To help the busy executive understand the localization process — and leverage this knowledge to oversee successful, cost-effective projects — we’ve created this overview of translation and localization. With a better understanding of the process, you’ll be able to not only get a good start but also avoid common pitfalls.

This white paper will help you:

Terminology and the Basics

Let’s begin with an understanding of the terminology used in localization.

Globalization: In our industry context, globalization is the process of developing software, products or digital content that are intended for worldwide markets. There are two components to the process: internationalization (technically enabling the product to be used without language or culture barriers) and localization (translating and enabling the product for a specific local market).

Internationalization: This process is primarily an engineering process where the software or digital content is developed and/or modified so that it can be localized into other languages and locales. For example, a properly internationalized software application has all of its translatable text externalized from the code to files that can be easily found and translated. It is also able to handle things like multi-byte character sets (e.g., Japanese, Chinese), text expansion (some translated strings may expand by 30-50% over English), multilingual sorting patterns, currency denominations, and so on.

Localization: The process of converting a program, content or website for a particular market such that all of the text is translated accurately and with the right style into the native language, and local conventions are used for sorting, formatting, currency, etc. A simple example is the need for resizing dialogues and controls of a user interface to accommodate longer character strings or different hot keys. Testing the translated application or site is also an important part of the task, as is editing graphics, reformatting documents and other final production steps after translation.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Next >

Request a Call Back

First Name:
Last Name:
Job Title:
Valid business email required