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Software localization tools: an important means for software translation

The localization of software is a multilevel process which involves a variety of specialists in different fields, from localization engineers and translators to quality assurance specialists and project managers. Translation services, being the key element of localization, are offered by thousands of freelancers and agencies. Still, without specialized tools, software localization proves to be a very time-consuming and complicated process. In order to manage the localization procedure effectively and avoid going over the same task again and again, it is advisable to use software localization tools. These tools allow translators to view their translations in context. For instance, translations can be entered directly in a dialog box and then saved.

Software localization tools are tailored to deal with resource code files (RC) or binary files (EXE or DLL), which usually contain only short translatable text strings surrounded by non-translatable code. To make the translation of the application easier, the short text-strings are to be extracted properly, thus providing a convenient graphical user interface (GUI) for the translation. The translated strings are inserted correctly back into the unaltered surrounding code. Besides, localization tools secure the position of controls embedded in the translatable text (for instance, ampersands & and shortcuts Alt+X ), as special controls in the target string have to correspond to those in the source string. It is also essential for the translated string to match the length of the original string; otherwise it may cause inconsistencies (incorrect execution of menus and dialogs) or even malfunctions of the application. Some software localization tools automatically verify the translated resources and allow the user to modify the incorrect target strings. For instance, Lingobit localizer 4.0 checks the translated string list, implementing Validation of the translated text resources, and highlights the strings that may cause troubles, if there are any. With Lingobit Localizer 4.0, you can test the application's functionality as well: Crash finder allows you to execute a command of the localized application and check its functionality.

Software localization tools also contain features for automatically translating updated software with previously translated versions. Localization tools normally have translation memories consisting of string pairs in source and target languages. Some localization tools support a range of translation memories for a number of target languages. This is essential for multilingual localization.