Why Applications Should Be Localized

In recent years, the need to localize products has grown significantly, above all in the field of IT. Why is there such a focus on localization in this area? It’s a big issue, as so many languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic and many more are spoken in various countries and regions, each with their own variants and forms of expression, different currency symbols, time and date formats, and so on.

What is needed in order for localization to be effective?

The first step is the internationalization of the software, i.e. ensuring that it is designed in a way that makes it possible to localize it for different regions without the developer having to make too many changes in the app’s code or the program for each language. For instance, when creating fields to be filled in, it’s necessary to bear in mind the maximum number of characters for the postal code, as one example, which may vary from one country to another or simply be nonexistent. The characters of phone numbers may also vary. It’s important to take into account that some countries are divided into provinces rather than states. And in some cases, it’s necessary to include a given local copyright law or liability waiver in the app or program itself, whereas this may not be needed in other cases. All of these programming details must be taken into account in carrying out the internationalization.

What is performed during localization?

Besides translating, the person in charge of localization will have to consider various elements in order for the program to be able to enter into the market of the country or region under ideal conditions. It is crucial to identify local sensitivities, to avoid cultural conflicts or those relating to common habits or customs, and recommendations may even be made to change the colors of the interface. Their job is not solely focused on adapting measurement, currency and date formats. That’s why the person responsible for this task must be a native of that place or someone who has lived in the country or region the localization is aimed at over a considerable period of time.

The term “globalization” derives from the union of “internationalization” and “localization,” which is why both of those aspects must be taken into account in order to be successful in a globalized world such as the one we live in at present.