A localization tool is software used to facilitate the localization management process through automation. It provides a complete overview of the process, streamlines management, and enables quality assurance for localization projects.
Additionally, some common features allow separate creation of tasks, offer compatibility with all commonly used file formats, management of permissions, as well as creation and upload of glossaries or other translation resources.
How do localization tools aid the localization process?
Different localization tools serve different localization needs. As workflows and project management evolve with technological advances and user requirements, new features or integration possibilities progressively arise in parallel.
Localization tools mainly tackle specific task areas that are related to the localization process. These areas do not necessarily target the same user groups. Some features of localization tools cater to all user groups. However, there can be specific features or tools that focus on delivering specific solutions for more specialized user groups, like developers, UI designers, and localization managers.
Comprehensive localization tools address a variety of user groups. They offer general features and user-group specific features that in combination allow for an organized workflow and task management for any localization project.
Some of the core functionalities of a comprehensive localization tool are:
- Synchronization for version control,
- Format conversion,
- Analytics and statistics,
- Permission management,
- Activity tracking,
- Task assignment,
- Creation and maintenance of translation memories and glossaries (term bases),
- Intelligent suggestions,
- Screenshots for context-provision,
These different features have a great deal of influence over localization-relevant workflows in the following areas:
- Terminology management,
- Translation automation,
- Computer-assisted translation (CAT),
- Quality assurance automation,
- File sharing,
- File management,
- Version control,
- Bug tracking platforms,
- Desktop publishing.
Some of these localization tools can be integrated with content management systems and code repositories. This allows for further automation of localization-related tasks, such as string extraction, as well as format and layout retention. Some of the tools embrace a number of areas, trying to logically combine features for an optimized workflow.
Other localization tools are designed to tackle the challenges that come with complex project management, while simultaneously allowing for vendor management and invoicing. Depending on the industry in question, some localization tools offer only specialized tasks.
This is the case for software localization, where aspects, such as separation between translatables and untranslatables, hard and soft coded strings, version control, and bug tracking are essential to retaining the functionality of the source content in the localized version.
What are the benefits of a localization tool?
Automating and optimizing any and all workflows and tasks connected to localization projects can only prove useful if the implementation of those tools improves workflows for all target user groups.
As a result, not all benefits may have the same effect for all user groups. Nevertheless, localization tools offer the following advantages:
- Increase of efficiency and collaboration for all user groups,
- Automation of all repetitive tasks and routines otherwise carried out manually,
- Using one localization tool as the single source of truth for all localization projects,
- Retaining of format and code across all versions,
- Easy tracking, control, and reporting of progress,
- Division of assignments into jobs that can take place simultaneously,
- Leveraging and optimization of new and existing translation resources,
- Improvement of consistency and accuracy,
- Reduction of time, costs, and other overhead,
- Simultaneous access to multilingual content,
- Shortening of development and release cycles.
To find the best localization tool or a combination of tools for specific use cases, a previous analysis of requirements and budget will help with assessing the needs for a localization project or a business. Setting up the right ecosystem that consists of a beneficial combination of various tools will substantially enhance localization workflows and project management.
Why is the use of localization tools important?
Today’s fast-paced global business environment demands shorter product development cycles with shorter time-to-market, as well as simultaneous accessibility and availability of multilingual content. This, in turn, triggers shifts in traditional use of tools for task management.
Localization tools offer solutions to optimize, support, and facilitate related workflows across relevant user groups. Because of that, they help in cutting costs and time, reducing risks, fostering collaboration, improving reporting, and preventing frustration for users tackling localization projects.
In order to take advantage of the benefits that localization tools offer, a previous analysis of business and project requirements can be of help. It is not only important to make use of localization tools, but crucial to adapt the right ones for the specific use case.