Should I Localize My Software?
Localization is the process by which a product is adapted to meet linguistic and cultural requirements of another country or region, for instance, English to Greek software localization. This process involves removing all user-visible pieces that are specific to the English language and adapting it to the Greek language.
Why is localization necessary?
Software localization is necessary because without it, it can render a product useless. For instance, if you have a phone that is configured in a foreign language, you are not going to understand how to set it up to work the way you need it to. But if the phone’s software is localized, it is going to work for you and anyone who lives in a country the software has been localized to.
But it is not just the text that has to be localized. The design needs to be localized because how we do things is not uniform globally. In America, text is read left to write, but in other languages such as Hebrew and Arabic, it is read right to left. Symbols and pictures need to be reviewed to make sure they are not offensive to a localized market. For instance, the “OK” hand symbol used in America is offensive in other countries. So, all images and symbols have to be evaluated and revised in order to make the software localized to a specific culture.
Further, in the United States, the date is written as month, day, and year. In other countries, however, the date is written as day, month, and year. Or one country may use commas to separate thousands from hundreds, while other countries use a period to make that distinction.
Additionally, you have to consider the user experience. The way information is presented or organized can be different between countries. One country makes like a minimalist approach, where the information is streamlined in sidebars or with links they can follow. Other countries may feel this is lacking and not giving them enough information to choose from.
Do I need to localize my software?
Whether or not you need to localize your software depends on whether you are trying to reach a global market or if you have a diverse or multicultural community in your local area. If you are and if you do, then you probably should consider localization. Without it, you risk not making a good impact on an international level or not reaching your local multicultural groups, and it could end up damaging your brand identity. On the other hand, when you do localize, it can give you a leg up on the competition and enable you to expand into new markets.
This means everything from symbols, currency symbols, and measurement elements need to be localized. Any geopolitical sensitivities need to be considered. Any linguistic nuances have to be factored in. This is all easy to do if you are in the software development stages as compared to reworking software that has already been developed.
Software, games, and apps are no longer just unique to one country but are, instead, crossing international borders. Localizing your software is an easy and cost-effective way to reach new markets and make you stand out above your competition. In case you are in need of reaching the Greek market, feel free to send me a quote so I can assist you with your English to Greek software localization project.