Software translation requires a delicate mix of linguistic and technical elements, ranging from the translation of individual words to the coding structure of your application. If any of these ingredients are missing, you are going to end up with a half-baked translation that doesn’t satisfy your foreign-speaking audiences or the profit margins you are looking for in overseas markets.
In this article, we look at seven of the most common elements software companies overlook when they try to take their products to multilingual audiences. By ensuring you have these key ingredients in your translation project, you will be well on your way to achieving the standard of quality required to get results across international markets.
Software translation’s most common missing ingredients
Here at translate plus, we translate and localise software products for businesses of all sizes across every major industry, so we get to see the common mistakes businesses make first-hand.
If any of the following seven ingredients are missing from your translation project, you are in danger of falling into the same trap:
- Lack of specialist knowledge: Software translation is a specialist field in itself and this requires specialist translators who understand the unique challenges of producing and optimising software for multilingual audiences.
- Lack of localisation: Software localisation prepares your application for translation and prevents a number of technical problems – such as designing interfaces for multiple languages – while ensuring details like numerical formats are relevant to each audience.
- Lack of context: The meaning of words can vary greatly depending on context, even within one language, so the more contextual information you can provide your translators with, the more your intended meaning will come across in the final translations.
- Lack of consistency: Every word has multiple possible translations and this can lead to a lack of consistency, especially on large or long-term projects, unless you have measures in place to guarantee consistency.
- Lack of flexibility: English is a compact language and translation normally increases the size of English text, meaning your layouts need to provide flexibility to adapt to each language you need to translate into.
- Lack of support: Each group of users needs native-speaking customer support to deal with technical issues and maintain a positive experience to keep your customers happy for the long term.
- Lack of understanding: Failing to understand the different needs and expectations of each target audience results in sub-par translation and user experiences.
The tricky thing about software translation is that you are dealing with an overlap of language, design and software development interests where decisions in each discipline have a major impact on the others. So you have to understand the relationship between these practices to make the right calls and compromises for the best overall outcome – for example, designing a layout that is adaptive enough for all of your language choices.
Building a software translation process that works
To ensure your translation project has all of the ingredients it needs, you need to build a framework that guides the translation process from start to end. This should begin from the early research and conceptual planning stage, so that you can make informed decisions.
Ideally, this should start before the design and development stages so that you can consider the implications of language and translation while creating design concepts and coding your software.
As your project progresses, having the right translation experts and tools to achieve 100% accuracy is vital. Professional translators will achieve the highest quality, while technology like terminology management and translation memory ensure 100% consistency while saving time and money at every stage of your project.
Finally, you also want a robust translation management system (TMS) to tie everything together and provide a 360-degree view of how your project is progressing.
So you are not only looking for software translation specialists with proven experience in the field, but also the correct process that fully integrates them into the development process and addresses the challenges of optimising for multiple languages, every step of the way.
If you have any software translation requirements you need help with, please get in touch with our experts.