So, you’re ready to release a brand-new app – you’ve made sure the new design is on point and there is not a single bug in the code – but how does the app work in other languages? If it only works well in English, you may well find yourself reworking the entire thing to support other target languages, as you didn’t take software localisation into account when writing the code. In this article, we look at the biggest mistakes you need to avoid in software localisation.
What is App Localisation?
App localisation, or internationalization, is the process of developing your app so that is can easily be localised into other languages. This is a process that is a whole lot easier if you do it right from the beginning. Here are 7 software localisation mistakes you can avoid when localising your app.
- Software Localisation and Embedding Text into the Code
This slows down the process of software localisation, as the translator has to read the code to figure out which segments must be translated. Instead, use separate resource files with strings that include product names, titles, error messages, and other text users will see when they use your app. Place the user-visible strings into the resource files, and give each string a name, and then specify the different translation values for each string.
- Pixel Layouts
Don’t think that every language is as thorough as English. English is often compact, unlike Finnish, for example, where the translations can vary in both density and length. Fail to prepare for this, and your string may overlap other controls, and your interface will have to be edited after translation.
- Software Localisation and Not Specifying a Country
Some languages can differ depending on the language, since different regions can speak and spell the same language with different nuances. Specifying the language but not the country code can cause difficulties with software localisation.
- Concatenated Strings
There are developers that love using sentenced using placeholders where the order of phrases and words are hard-coded. But, using conditional statements and then conditionalizing single terms or even a portion of a sentence into a few different keys can cause confusion during the localisation process.
- Hard-Coded Dates, Times, Units, and Numbers
There’s a lot more to software localisation than just words – it’s really about adopting the entire culture. Hard-coded data can cause trouble during the process of translation, since different countries and languages have different time and date formats.
- Corrupt Characters
When you use the wrong characters during the coding process, the source code handles strings with datatype that can’t handle Unicode, and this will cause translations to break. Programming languages tend to store files with the system’s default encoding, but if your server is English and your users are Chinese, the characters may get corrupted.
- Software Localisation and Failing to Consider Vertical Writing or Languages that go from Left to Right
There are some languages, like Hebrew, that go from right to left, and others that go vertically, so when creating your app, prepare for complex text flow.
Keeping software localisation in mind when creating your app can make the process much easier. If you avoid these 7 pitfalls, you should be able to fully localise your app and open it up to the international market.