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Large-scale localization project

Efforts necessary to localize and then support large international software application with a number of target languages are often underestimated. Usually that happens this way people translate small pilot application to a couple of languages in several days and assume that whole localization efforts will take around one month or something like that. But that assumption is wrong for several reasons, and we will discuss them below.

First of all, localization problem usually are much more acute for large project. In small project, you can usually just translate resource files, fix several internationalization problem and then you have ready translated application. Not so for large project with large number of interdependent modules. If you change code in one place, problems may appear in completely different piece of code. So you have to retest whole application after fixing internationalization bugs.

Second, translation costs are rising much faster than number of languages. Laws of Complexity can be applied here directly. Usually if you need to translate your application to one or two languages, localization manager can handle work with translator. If you have 30-40 languages, you need a special person, who will coordinate work with translators. For every small change to dialog string in original application, you will have to contact every translator, and ask him to translate this new string. Change that took 5 minutes of software developers time, can now take several man-days or even month.

Specialized software localization tools, such as Lingobit Localizer, help overcome some problems, and they make localization work immensely more manageable. Lingobit Localizer has advanced report functionality that helps translators and managers alike track project progress and detect deadlock before they impact release date.