To compete in a global marketplace, your products must be useful and marketable to a global customer base. Digital products such as software are particularly vulnerable to obsolescence if they're not delivered in the language of the end user, and in a format that respects the end user's culture and laws.
Localization is the process of translating locale-sensitive features of a product and converting them for use in other countries. Although software is the product most commonly associated with localization, you can -- and often must -- localize any product you'd like to sell globally.
1. Determine the legal requirements for use of the native language with products in the locale where you intend to localize. For example, the locale might require that all software interfaces be in the native language, or that shelf labels or packaging be translated. Confirm which dialect is required in locales where two or more dialects are common.
2. Assess the scope of the project. Analyze all aspects of the product you intend to localize. Include noncode portions of software with which users interact, keyboard characters and symbols, documentation, packaging and labels. Review support channels, including websites consumers in the locale might use to learn about your product or seek support in its use. Compile a master list of each element that needs to be localized.
3. Plan the localization project. Assign accountability for each element. Establish a schedule that includes a timeline for milestones. Prepare and distribute a contact list of team members.
4. Document relevant information, such as software platforms, version numbers and previous translations, if they exist, that team members are likely to refer to frequently.
5. Create a glossary with nomenclature that standardizes important or confusing terms. Include technical terms, abbreviations, trademarks, slogans and other verbiage that needs to be part of a shared vocabulary. Work with the translator and area experts to determine whether cultural sensitivities require changes to product names or terminology.
6. Assess graphics in the user interface and website as well as on packaging, signage and product documentation. Ensure that they’re inoffensive to users in the locale and that they accurately represent those users.
7. Make a list, with screen shots as well as file descriptions, dates and sizes, of all graphic user interface files. Notate the list to show which files will be translated and which files will not be translated.
8. Specify preferences regarding transmission of localized files.Consider the directory structure, file transfer methods and file-naming conventions. Prepare similar delivery instructions for other projects elements, such as package graphics.
9. Execute the translations.
10. Conduct engineering-related testing of compiled software, websites and other digital products for localization and linguistic accuracy. Perform quality assurance on nondigital project elements.
Source: How to Localize Your Product