How to Solve the 5 Most Common Technical Issues in Localization
Or you’re already knee-deep in managing your team’s localization efforts and feeling overwhelmed with all the technical jargon.
If you feel like this kid in the image above when navigating the localization process, don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place.
This post will cover the 5 most common issues that come up in the technical side of the localization process and how you can easily navigate these problems with the help of the right tools.
Problem #1: Translations don’t fit on the UI
Languages have different lengths, depending on many factors like sentence structure and size of words. A natural change that occurs when you localize your content is that the length of your text will increase or decrease by up to 30% at times (for example, between Spanish and English.)
While this may not be an issue for a 30% longer conversation in Spanish, it can be a big problem when it comes to fitting translated text back into a space in your interface designed for text 30% shorter.
Problem #2: Plurality is tricky in some languages
An important step in localization is to make sure that you support plural forms.
Did you know: different languages have different rules for forming plurals. In English, there are only two forms: a singular form for “one” (i.e. 1 apple) and a plural form for “everything else EXCEPT FOR one, including zero” (i.e. x apples).
This is simple, but it gets more complicated. Other languages, like Russian, make many more distinctions in plurals. In Russian, there are different linguistic forms for plurals for numbers ending in 1 (except 11), numbers ending in 2-4 (except 12, 14), and other numbers.
Which means that after you put your translated text back into your app, your device may not necessarily know 1) which words are plural, and 2) what plurals types they are. This is even more relevant to languages like French, where adjectives are modified by gender and quantity.
Problem #3: No standardized method for extracting strings
Having more options is always a good thing, right? Actually, not in the case of localization. One major problem in extracting strings from your product is that there isn’t one direct way of doing it, depending on what platforms you’re using.
Because there’s no structured way of doing it, troubleshooting for the technical side of localization can become very challenging.
Problem #4: Missing or wrong translation strings
If you made an error in string extraction (which results in wrong or missing strings), you won’t find out if the strings are usable and functional until afteryou go through the whole translation process.
This is time-consuming and costly, not to mention manually having to go through your code to find the bugs afterward.
Problem #5: Too much time spent on manual work
If you haven’t guessed it already, the technical workflow in localization involves lots of manual steps: extracting strings, testing them, uploading them onto a platform, then re-integrating all the strings back into your product. This can take up many hours that could have been spent on less tedious tasks.