Software localization is the process of adapting a software application – its language and other locale-specific aspects – for use in foreign-language markets. The steps that go into localization, however, are less well known. Translating UI strings is central to the localization workflow, but it’s only one part of a complex process where taking shortcuts often ends in mistakes, product failure, brand erosion, and, sometimes, user harm.
This paper offers an overview of the main steps required for localizing software. Its goal is twofold: to provide software companies in many industries with a basic understanding of the localization process, and to help them be better prepared to work with a language services provider.