Localization is not limited to translation of the interface into another language. It is a multi-level operation, the first steps of which can be performed even if the interface is left intact, and the last steps require interaction between programmers, designers and translators:
1. Providing support for language and national standards is a necessary minimum so that the program can perform its functions in another country. Modern operating systems take on many of these issues, but a programmer must also be skilled enough to use their capabilities.
- Correct operation in a localized operating system, for games on TV set-top boxes - TV standard (PAL or NTSC).
- Make sure that the program meets the commodity laws of the target country. In particular: publish documentation in the target language, adjust functionality to patents, antitrust laws, laws on printing, on storage of personal data... Thus, in Windows 98 time zone lighting has disappeared due to disputed areas: it is extremely difficult to please both disputed countries.
- Displaying language characters. Preparing localized fonts, if needed. Adapting to other scripts can be quite complicated.
- Other actions with language - text input, alphabetic sorting, string operations, spelling dictionaries, transfer rules, etc.
- Standards of the target country directly related to the functioning of the programme: The format of date, time, fractional and multi-digit numbers; Features of human names; Symbols of currency; Formats of paper; System of measures; Features of legislation, such as Tax system; Documents issued by the government - social security number, taxpayer identification number, passport number; Requirements to software for government agencies - data openness, encryption standards, etc.
2. Translation of texts in the program interface into the target language.
- In complex software not all parts should be translated. For example, many do not agree with the translation of the names of Excel functions into Russian. Some OS errors are displayed when the computer is not yet able to display Russian letters, while the expert, to whom these messages are addressed, will understand the English letters.
- Correct alignment and placement of interface elements taking into account that string-maps in different languages can have significantly different sizes (for example, an ordinary message in English, being translated into German, usually becomes 17.3% longer). In addition, there are languages with right to left (Arabic, Hebrew) and top to bottom (Japanese) spelling;
- The translation of terminology is extremely important. For example, the term "browser" used by Windows to refer to a browser is controversial.
- If there is text in images, it needs to be redrawn. If there are speech messages, they need to be spoken.
3. Fine tuning for the target country.
- Working with word forms. An example is the notorious "Found 3 files".
- Additional standards that do not affect the basic functionality of the program. For example: date/time format in media player, typographical features.
- To provide interoperability of the localised program with initial. For example: we have introduced the formula "x*2,5" in the document. - Will it work if you open it in the English version? Have we established a network game of Russian and English - will not break the connection by referring to the mismatch of versions?
- To ensure interoperability of the program with software distributed in the target country. For example, accounting programs vary from country to country, and "1C: Enterprise" is little known outside Russia and former USSR republics.
- Taking into account the national mentality. For example: red color in Russians is associated not only with danger, but also with a holiday. In games you often have to change your humor, and occasionally - even correct the plot (for example, in Syberia 2 Turkish immigrant Sirkos turned into a Jew Zukerman).
- Drawing graphics (splash screens, icons, etc.) to the realities of another country. For example, road signs, plugs and sockets, mailboxes may look different in different countries. The globe is turned to the viewer by the part of the light on which the product is calculated. In the UK, the switch is turned on at the bottom position, and in the former USSR, the switch is turned on at the top position. Icons are redrawn very rarely, so designers initially try to make them as "international" as possible.
- Correcting clipart libraries. For example, images of local holidays are added. In Muslim countries, clipart is fundamentally revised - all images of humans and animals are removed, and added arabesques.