Hot Topic: Translation For Another Market

How to Localize Your Product

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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

by Daria Kelly Uhlig, Demand Media

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