What is the Localization Process?

by Stacey Cho                                          

As a TLM major myself, I find explaining localization to others is not as easy as it seems. Conversations with various people have revealed that there are many who consider localization as translation, international product adaptation, or even product marketing.

However, localization refers to “the adaption of a product, application or document content to meet the language, cultural and other requirements of a specific target market (a locale).” (Source: W3C) In addition, localization incorporates a variety of technological aspects that make it a truly exciting field that creates a modern bridge between cultures.

In order to make this happen, projects are often given to LSP (language/localization service providers) and undergo a localization process. Each project may require unique processes of its own, but here is an example of a general process:

  1. Engineering

When an LSP receives a project, let’s say a website, it is sent to engineering so that the engineers are able to prep the file for translation. What this means for a website is that engineers extract the texts required for translation so that the translators can translate it.

  1. Translation

Translation refers to, you guessed it, the actual translation process. The LSP uses in-house translators or outsources the translation so that it is adapted into the target language. During this process, the translators must take note to not only change the language, but ensure that it is appropriate to the context of the source language, the culturally relevant to the target country, use correct terminology, and more.

  1. LQA

During the editing process, a second pair of eyes is used to go over the translated content. LQA may be responsible for catching inconsistent use of terminology, checking for accurate cultural or technical context, finding any missed translations, and making sure that the translation “flows” smoothly without any grammar or spelling errors.

  1. Engineering

Once the translated text has been approved by LQA, it is sent back to Engineering where they will integrate the translation into the original source format provided by the client. This may require some desktop publishing skills (with programs such as Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, etc.) or use of different computer related languages (for a website, HTML, CSS, etc.)

  1. MQA

After the engineers have completed integrating the translations, the assets are sent to MQA, where they are checked to see if they have been integrated correctly. During this process, some issues that MQA may look for are those related to spacing, font size, colors, margins, overrun texts, and more. In short, MQA is responsible for ensuring that the target file looks as closely as possible to the source file as possible.

  1. Delivery

After all of the QA has been complete, the file is now ready for delivery. Once they are delivered to the client, they may undergo another set of client reviews that may result in more changes.

This was a general overview of the localization project management process. There is much more to this, of course, including the various tools used in project management (such as WorldServer) and CAT tools. The TLM major offers hands-on practice with these tools as well as a closer look at how localization project management works!

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