Software localization services
As more companies begin to produce localized software, they all encounter similar problems in their localization efforts. Most software companies don't posses knowledge of localization process and they dont have translators in-house. So they outsource their software localization efforts. In this article I will tell about problems and pitfalls of using software localization services, and how you can navigate them.
Software localization services firm can be divided into several categories: large multi-language service providers, regional providers (for example, company that translates into Chinese, Korean and Japanese), single language companies and independent contractors. What sort of company you would choose as a software localization service provider depends on your budget, needs and time you can put to manage process.
Using large multi-language service provide is the easiest way to do global localization. Usually these companies possess necessary skills to localize software products and they have people that can help you with globalization. But it comes at a price. Usually services of such companies cost at lease several times more than software localization services of independent translators. On the other hand, you don't have to manage outside translators and such companies provide quality control
Independent contractors are usually much cheaper than specialized companies, but you should consider using them only if are ready to closely manage localization process. Software localization services provided by independent contractor should be supervised meticulously because one day translator can provide you with high-quality translation and next day he will give you a crap. And how can you control output in a foreign language that you don't know? So you should consider software localization services from a one man shop only if you have faith in that person, and you should understand risk that this decision entails.
In my opinion regional companies provide best value for money in software localization services market. They have reasonable rates, usually provide quality control and one shop can manage localization services into several languages. Typically those companies have from 10 to 30 employees so they usually have translator knowledgeable in your area.
Software localization market is fragmented, but there are good, honest and knowledgeable companies on it. Sometimes you have to spend much time before you find suitable partner, but it worth it. Global software market is much larger than local US market, so localization is almost always worth the effort you would spend on it.