Localisation Challenges in Software Development

Last Updated On: April 10, 2023

inTranslation News, Translation Trends

software localisation

What is localization in software development?

Software localization is the process used to adapt the software to both the language and culture of the end user, from appropriate standards of measurement to video and graphic designs. It involves not just translation, but also design changes so that the look of the software and its feel appear natural to the targeted user.

Some common changes when localizing software are:

  • changing the local currency; 
  • changing measurements;
  • adapting to the appropriate use of images;
  • adapting to relevant color schemes. 

As soon as these changes have been made, software users will feel far more comfortable when they are navigating their way through the software program and they should believe that the software has been developed just for them.


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    Challenges of localizing software

    It is not easy adapting software and these are some of the challenges:

    • getting the context completely accurate;
    • localization is a costly and time-consuming process;
    • technical issues of software localization can occur;
    • inconsistency with translations makes localization more difficult;
    • some software has display and design issues making it more difficult to successfully localize;
    • coding process may be longer;
    • developers need to have some specialized skills;
    • a technical translation is required.

    Once the above challenges have been successfully tackled there are many benefits of software localisation.

    What are the advantages of software localization?

    1. Improve the software’s credibility

    A good image gains and retains software users but the best way to build a good image is to communicate with the potential customer and offer them a product that they will benefit from. The user of software needs to be able to see that a software company wants to help its users and will do what it takes to provide an appropriate product.

    2. Ensures a better understanding of the product’s functionalities

    If a customer can fully understand and interact easily with the text found in the software, it will also use the product correctly and become familiar with its functionalities. It is only if all the menu lists, buttons, messages, commands, and notifications are written clearly, that a customer will easily be able to recognise all the benefits of using a software application. There won’t be any language barriers standing in the way of the user so the user will gain the most that’s possible from using the software product.

    3. Reaches a larger audience

    More than 80 percent of the world’s population isn’t fluent in English, so localizing software into key languages will instantly expand the software’s user base. Many surveys have revealed that about 72 percent of customers spend the majority of their internet time on websites aired in their native languages and are likely to purchase a software product compiled in their own languages.  

    Once you have localized your software it becomes far easier to enter new markets. More localization means more products can be sold throughout the world. This increases profits as well as strengthens a company’s position in both the global and local markets.

    4. Decreases churn

    A large part of software’s success is lowering the churn rate so by improving the customer’s experience with the localization of instructions, providing help docs, and intuitive UIs there is a greater chance of keeping that customer. For a small start-up the larger the number of customers you can keep, the quicker the start-up will reach its maximum growth.


    Professional software localization ensures that you will expand your market reach and increase your customer satisfaction which will lead to greater uptake by others of the software product.

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