What exactly is localization?
Thread poster: Cristina Heraud-van Tol

Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:26
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 26, 2005

At the moment, many agencies are recruiting translators who can offer localization services. In a way to get more jobs, I have started learning how to use CAT and TM tools, as well as DTP tools; now, I am also quite interested in learning about localization, but have no idea of what is means exactly. Perhaps somebody can tell me about it, or give me some examples. Thank you.


Can Altinbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:26
Japanese to English
+ ...
Adapting software to a particular locale Jun 26, 2005

Localization is the process of taking software that exists in one locale, the U. S., for example, and making it usable in another, say Japan.

Translating everything that the user sees - menu items, messages, text in dialog boxes, etc., is a big part of this. It is important not to forget to examine icons and other graphics. For example, a piece of software I know uses a "football" helmet to denote competition. This icon may fall apart in some countries. Certain signs, colors, etc., are deemed offensive in some countries.

Dialog box sizes that are fit to English text will be too small for Japanese and German. Dates , money, even the fact that decimal points and thousands separators are different between countries - there are lots of things to work out.

You cannot successfully localize until you have finished internationalizing software. A lot of software is written with no consideration as to how they might be run in other countries in other languages. One common sign is messages written directly into the code. There is no way to get this translated into other languages without major changes.

Both of these are major undertakings. Localization involves engineering, documentation, translators, editors, project managers, testers.


sarahl (X)
Local time: 02:26
English to French
+ ...
Adapting to a specific country Jun 26, 2005

The definition given By Can sensei is the original meaning.

However, localization is used for more than software in this time and day. Marketing comes to mind, as marketers will want to adjust their sales pitch to their target audience.




Bilore  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:26
English to French
+ ...
more details here Jun 26, 2005

Hi Cristina,

Maybe you'll find more details following this link:


Carley Hydusik  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:26
Russian to English
+ ...
Ask the Canadians Jun 26, 2005

Canada is at the forefront of developments in localization. They are developing specializations in localization and postgraduate training in this field. See the Université de Montréal, McGill University, the Université du Québec en Outaouais. Here is one link to get you started:



Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 02:26
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Sometimes, the experience will come when you're volunteering... Jun 26, 2005

Due to my background in Data Processing, I have been contributing some of my free time between projects to the open source community, that is, those developers who create great programs and applications that a distributed for free over the internet. Most of the times, they'll have the source code posted on their website or they can send it directly to you. Some files will be recognized by Trados Tag Editor, while others will probably be a common txt file you'll have to translate using Notepad. I have also downloaded PHP Edit, which allows me to view the PHP files with their codes marked in other font colors, making the visualization easier.

Well, since these people also dedicate their time to developing and tweaking their programs, they're not willing to pay (nor would have a corporation to back them) for the localization job. But it's a great experience and you learn a lot from these small projects. Having some of these programs in your resume will attract big clients for sure!

Good luck!


Elzbieta Pulawska  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:26
English to Polish
+ ...
LISA Jul 4, 2005

You may want to checj the site of the Localisation Industry Standards Association (LISA) at http://www.lisa.org/. There are great articles and information on localistaion to be found there.


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