Software localisation is the process of adapting the software product to the linguistic, cultural and technological requirements of the target market. It represents a complex process requiring experience and training, and should be left to experienced individuals.
Whether it is about desktop applications or software programmes applied on a large scale or those incorporated into electronic or medical devices, each local user will require their version in his/her native language.
Studies have shown that clients are much more willing to acquire a localised product and to even continue purchasing from the same supplier, provided they are satisfied. Moreover, localisation involves lower costs for the supplier, when it comes to service/client support as a localised product can be understood by locals and, therefore, needs no additional explanations.
There are numerous issues requiring close attention in the software localisation process, such as:
Linguistic accuracy and image translation - all visual forms, starting with images, logos and icons must be translated into the target language.
Also, attention should be paid to support materials, user guides, support messages and error messages.
Numbers/Date/Time formats - with differing calendars, celebrations, work weeks and time zones; the way these formats are transposed can vary significantly from one country to another.
Numbers are also written differently, particularly when it comes to decimal separators.
Terminological consistency - the translation of the icon and its mention in the user's guide must always be identical to avoid any misinterpretations and confusions on the part of the user.
Measuring units, addresses and currency conversion - weighing and measuring units and addresses differ from one culture to another (there are, for example, countries with no postal codes), and it goes without saying that currencies change depending on the country/zone.
Adapting to the local culture - images must be updated according to the age, ethnicity, religion and local culture.
It is recommended that certain colours, numbers and even cultural references and expressions are avoided depending on the country.