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Why Does Software Translation Matter for Business Success?

Every business seeking international growth will be faced with the question if it is worth to translate their software or not. Here are some clear indicators that show why software translation is critical for business success:


Access to New Markets

The prevailing myth that the whole world speaks English is easily debunked when looking at the facts: Native English speakers constitute only 25% of the world’s internet users. Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic are closing in fast and show tremendous growth rates in their user base, unlike English.

This points to massive growth opportunities for all businesses who dare to expand beyond their home territory. Now is the right time for companies to conquer new markets. It has never been easier, thanks to the internet. The entrance is reserved for those, however, who can offer their software in the local language.


Increased User Base and Sales

Research by CSA suggests that companies can increase their customer base and sales by speaking the local language of their prospects. Customers have a clear preference for their mother tongue. If they can’t read the instructions and fully understand the software, they are much less likely to use and buy it.

Businesses also have to consider that people are usually searching for software with terms in their native language. If their software is not translated, it might not even show up in the search results and become a viable option for a trial. To keep the barrier to trials as low as possible, it has to speak the local language. 


Improved Customer Satisfaction

Nowadays, everybody expects a seamless experience with any new software or website. People are not afraid to abandon an application immediately if their expectations are not fulfilled. There are plenty of options available on the market. 

User retention is a major KPI for software companies. That is why so many of them are thoroughly focussed on customer satisfaction and are doing everything possible to create a satisfying user experience. Language is at the very core of this.

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What Is Software Translation?

Software translation is not a standalone process, but rather one part of a larger effort to make a software speak, look, and act like a product that is native to a particular market. For a business to effectively plan and execute the expansion into a new market, it should fully understand the definitions of and differences between translation, localization, and internationalization. 


Software Translation Defined 

Translation means conveying the meaning of written information from one language to another. In the process, the translator has to consider the regional and cultural differences between the two languages to preserve the original intent and tone of the message. When translating software in particular, it is critical to take into consideration the context in which the user is interacting with the application. 


The Difference Between Translation and Localization

Translation and localization are often wrongly used interchangeably. Localization (l10n) means adapting software to a specific target market. Translation is only one part of this process which can also include the modification of content, graphics, layouts, design, formats, and currencies. L10n is basically the design of a whole new user experience that makes the software look and feel entirely local. 


A Word on Internationalization

Internationalization (i18n) is a critical step in the software development process that enables localization and translation on a technical level. It separates localizable elements of the software, like the text, from the source code to ensure that the software can be adapted to fit various languages and locales easily. Skipping i18n is not an option for businesses that follow a global growth strategy. 

What are the Advantages of a Software Translation Service?

Traditionally, documents (e.g., marketing material) were sent to a translation office, and a few days later, the translated version would be returned. Software translation can’t work in the same way, unfortunately, because software is written in code, which translators typically won’t understand. 

The language has to be separated from the source code and made accessible for translators. This is just one part of the process that professional software translation services handle. There are many advantages associated with using a translation service over attempting to translate a software manually.


Decreased Time-to-Market 

The time-to-market has become a critical metric for start-ups and established companies alike on their pursuit of the number one position in their industry. The faster new software or a mere feature can be released, the earlier the team can learn from real user experiences and make further improvements. 

Software translation services have increased the speed with which software can be translated substantially leading to a quicker time-to-market. Ideally, the software translation process becomes an integral part of the full development cycle, made possible through integrated translation tools.


Guaranteed Translation Quality 

Localization management software is all about encouraging team collaboration. Rather than Software translation services only rely on professional translators. Those increase the quality and consistency of their translations through tools like automated quality assurance, translation memory, and terminology management.

Furthermore, software translation services will ensure that the translators know the full context around the translation (e.g., the purpose of the software, the target audience). There is no doubt that the right words will be used at all times and mistakes will be identified and fixed automatically. 


Centralization for an Efficient Project Management

When you have all your files, images, strings for translation, and instructions in one place on a translation management system, everybody works on the same page. This makes for efficient project management, and it also allows upper management and even customers to get an overall glance of project status at any moment. Everything is ordered and centralized and with no key files sitting on an employee’s home computer.


Increased Transparency 

Software translation services provide a full picture of the entire translation process. While the project manager can efficiently handle all aspects of the translation project, the team members have a transparent view of the awaiting, ongoing, and completed tasks.

Besides, software translation tools usually come with handy reporting and analytics features that show KPIs like pieces of content translated, funds spent or quality of translators. Those conveniently support future decision making and resource allocation. 


Integration and Automation

Software translation tools and services can now integrate seamlessly with existing systems and processes via APIs. This decreases the chances for human errors further as most workflows are automated.

A great example of integration is the link between a software translation tool and a Content Management System. The team can work much more efficiently when documents are easily pulled and pushed between the two systems.

What Are the Best Practices for Software Translation?

Software translation management is hard. Mistranslations, broken strings, or a lack of context are just some problems that might come up. However, by avoiding common mistakesand deploying the following best practices, translating software can be much less painful.


Internationalize the Software

This is a critical step in the process that should never be skipped. The developers will save themselves from much trouble when they keep the translation process in mind when creating the original software.

Here are a few key things that should be considered:

Add ample flexibility and space

Languages can vary significantly – from their length of sentences to the reading direction. The designers should plan for sufficient flexibility and space to accommodate any language. 

Avoid linking strings together

By linking strings together, the translator is limited in the space the new language can take up, which could result in a subpar translation. 

Standardize with Unicode

UTF-8 is now the most widely used way to handle multiple languages.


Develop a Solid Plan 

When Alan Lakein said that “failing to plan is planning to fail” he might have had software translation management in mind. Developing a roadmap with clear objectives, milestones, and to-dos is key to leading the team in the right direction. Each team member has to fully understand his or her role and responsibilities in the project before the work can commence. By communicating expectations early, the team can still raise concerns and sort out disputes before it impacts the results.


Use a Software Translation Tool 

Using translation management software from the start keeps not only the project organized and transparent but also improves team collaboration. One common platform allows developers to leave notes for translators providing them with more context and translators to easily clarify why they phrased the text in a certain way. The right software translation tool will automate repetitive tasks and streamline the translation process to avoid lengthy email threads, manual file transfers, and mountains of spreadsheets. 


Provide a Style Guide 

translation style guide is the way to go to maintain consistency when collaborating with a large team of translators. It’s simply a manual that briefs the translators on the rules for tone, style, special terms, and formats. Reference material with examples of right and wrong can be included to make the guide even more valuable. 

Here are a few points with examples which could be covered in a style guide:

  • Voice and tone – should it be formal, professional, upbeat, or conversational?
  • Consistency – should the audience be addressed in the polite or informal form? 
  • Context – who is the target audience? How will they benefit from the software? 
  • Brand – are there specific terms that should be kept the same across all languages?
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Why working with a software translation tool is much easier

You can increase your productivity by automating repeating tasks

You can use past translations and work to accelerate your projects

You can fully prevent simple errors through integrated quality control

You can use the Translation Memory to improve consistency across projects

You can complete your software faster, often with just a few clicks

You can use the same straightforward tool for all tasks across projects

You can generate reports and watch your project status with one click

Why not using a software translation tool is tedious

You won’t be saved from doing most of the work manually

You can’t rely on useful tools such as a Translation Memory

You’ll have to find and fix human errors and mistakes manually

You’ll start every new translation project from scratch

You’ll take much longer to translate a software without the help of technology 

You’ll need to utilize separate tools for different tasks

You’ll have to monitor and report on your project manually

The Benefits of Software Translation Tools in a Nutshell

Using a software translation tool becomes a no-brainer once it is compared to doing all the work manually side-by-side.

Localization Management

Software plays an increasingly important role in the daily lives of billions of people, be it for personal or professional use. Many software companies are ready to capture the attention of an international audience, only to realize that language is still a major barrier to global expansion. 

English may be the primary language for business, but local users of the software feel more comfortable in their native language and might lack the language skills to use the software properly. Not providing a translated version of the software could result in the loss of potentially lucrative business opportunities.

Every software company with the aim to expand internationally will sooner or later look into deploying software translation services. 

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Why Is Localization Management Important for Business?

While English remains the most common language of the internet, Internet Statistics show that Chinese users are almost as numerous. Moreover, English internet users make up just over 25 percent of all internet users (IWS, 2018).

This means that if your site is in English only, you’re effectively ignoring three-quarters of all internet users! That’s a pretty big market share. Of course, not everyone surfing the net is going to be interested in your product. But with the right market research and localization management tool, you can reach significantly more customers.

Here are just some of the advantages of localization for your business:


Increase Market Share

The right localization management service, website localization tool, or app localization tool will help you target more customers around the world. This will increase your market share with relatively low investment.

Just think about Airbnb. The company that began in its founders’ apartment is now in over 190 countries around the world. Through effective software translation and localization management, the company was able to go from a value of zero to north of approx. $40 billion today.


Grow Revenue

Localizing your content isn’t cheap, especially when you invest in a quality localization management service. However, localization should never be seen as a cost but always an investment. As your share of the market dramatically increases with each country you enter, so do your revenue streams.

There may be no one-size-fits-all localization ROI model for each company. But we do know that Fortune 500 companies that invest in localization report higher revenue.


Gain a Competitive Advantage

In the cutthroat world of business, chances are you’re operating in a competitive market. One fast, effective, and simple way to gain a competitive advantage is through website and app localization.

Remember that 60 percent of users who never buy from an English-only website? If your website is translated and localized to cater to local tastes, you’ll be leagues ahead of your competition still trying to force English onto Spanish-speaking buyers.


Strengthen Cultural Awareness and Be Truly Credible

When you localize your content for your customers you treat everyone as if they’re first-class citizens. Rather than offering a weakly translated version of your original content, you show your customers that you understand and care about their problems, needs, and wishes.

In simple words? You speak their language. You know what products they like and how to communicate them. Imagine trying to promote your winter line of wooly scarves to people living in the Southern hemisphere in a heatwave in summer! With effective localization management, you can become a respected global player.


Boost Global Presence

Just as your market share and revenue grows, so does your global presence. More people become aware of your brand when you reach new markets, strengthening your position. Facebook, for example, reports user saturation in its home market. But India now makes up its fastest-growing user group!

Why Does Software Translation Matter for Business Success?

Every business seeking international growth will be faced with the question if it is worth to translate their software or not. Here are some clear indicators that show why software translation is critical for business success:




Access to New Markets

The prevailing myth that the whole world speaks English is easily debunked when looking at the facts: Native English speakers constitute only 25% of the world’s internet users. Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic are closing in fast and show tremendous growth rates in their user base, unlike English.

This points to massive growth opportunities for all businesses who dare to expand beyond their home territory. Now is the right time for companies to conquer new markets. It has never been easier, thanks to the internet. The entrance is reserved for those, however, who can offer their software in the local language.




Increased User Base and Sales

Research by CSA suggests that companies can increase their customer base and sales by speaking the local language of their prospects. Customers have a clear preference for their mother tongue. If they can’t read the instructions and fully understand the software, they are much less likely to use and buy it.

Businesses also have to consider that people are usually searching for software with terms in their native language. If their software is not translated, it might not even show up in the search results and become a viable option for a trial. To keep the barrier to trials as low as possible, it has to speak the local language.




Improved Customer Satisfaction

Nowadays, everybody expects a seamless experience with any new software or website. People are not afraid to abandon an application immediately if their expectations are not fulfilled. There are plenty of options available on the market. 

User retention is a major KPI for software companies. That is why so many of them are thoroughly focussed on customer satisfaction and are doing everything possible to create a satisfying user experience. Language is at the very core of this.

Why working without a localization platform is painful

You have to carry out lengthy and tiring manual work

There are no useful resources to rely on, such as a Translation Memory

You’ll have to shift through and fix a ton of human errors and mistakes

Start each new localization project from scratch

Take longer to build a product without the use of technology

Employ additional tools for delivering different tasks

Reporting and monitoring will have to be done manually at every step

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Try for Free

Time to Get Started with Phrase

Easy to set up. Free 14-Day Trial. Buy or cancel at any time.

Time to Get Started with Phrase

Easy to set up. Free 14-Day Trial. Buy or cancel at any time.

Try for Free

Time to Get Started with Phrase

Easy to set up. Free 14-Day Trial. Buy or cancel at any time.