Book – Localizing Apps

bookThough this book is written for translators to introduce them to the entire ecosystem of localization, it is very helpful for marketers who wants to understand this ecosystem, as localization is the habitat where all international marketing initiatives live.

The book explains Internationalization principles and it becomes very clear why not following them lead to very expensive changes.  Though Internationalization and Translation Memory seem to be known concepts, the need for a style guide in each language before the process starts was a new “check box” to check from my perspective.  And, as in purely English content, any SEO efforts would be more effective before the style guide locks certain concepts into requirements.

  • Part of the internationalization is also internationalization of the source language copy.  Though users take 20% – 30% more time to read text from an online source compared to the printed text and will most likely scan online copy, machine translation tools process the text in its entirety.
  • Controlled Language (CL) is a language restricted in some form has been used originally to avoid ambiguity by Caterpillar for the instruction manuals.  Controlled Language increases the accuracy of Machine Translation (MT), though other benefits were more difficult to quantify.
  • Companies typically have “translation guidelines” for their organization.  Sometimes, these guidelines are public, and sometimes they are considered intellectual property a company does not release.  When guidelines are public, they become widely used in the industry, and experienced translators are aware about the guidelines, what speed up their projects (the translators do not need to familiarize themselves with a new set of guidelines before starting a new project).
  • Translation Memory (TM) needs to be managed, otherwise, inconsistencies can creep up into the organization’s TM and productivity of translators can be affected.
  • Some of legal requirements can be part of Translation Guidelines.  For example, Microsoft warned translators that “absolute expressions leaving no room for exception or failure, like solves all issues, fully secure, at any time are a serious legal risk on the French, Canadian, and Belgian markets.”
  • Very interesting perspective on translation technology: “Without such systems translation process tend to be inefficient.  This does not mean, however, that using such system will guarantee smooth localization projects.  If a system is chosen for the wrong reasons or is deployed in a hasty manner without providing appropriate support to its users, its adoption and subsequent use may lead to inefficiencies.”
  • Machine Translation, when used correctly, can increase translation efficiency and consistency, when used incorrectly, can produce humorous results or life-threatening inaccurate translation.apps
  • Term “gisting” – process of extraction some high-level information from a piece of text.  Machine Translation might be used for gisting purpose; however, the amount of needed accuracy might be different for a person knowledgeable in the topic and a person who is new to the topic.
  • American and Japanese users believe that more graphics rather than fewer, make instructions easier to follow 🙂
  • The challenge of transreation (per Adobe): “The challenge here is the balance between giving more flexibility and freedom of expression to the regions and the use of productivity tools such as Translation Memory.  If we want to leverage the savings that TMs and other tools offer to localization (and we do), we can offer some flexibility in the target content but not as much as sometimes the regions would like to have.”