25 October 2022

Software localization: how it works and all the benefits

Categoria: Linguistic Services

Software localization is a service that offers significant benefits to those who produce and market software, and especially its users, yet few people know how it works. This is why we have decided to explore this topic.

It is first worth recalling what is meant by localization. In the language sector, the term refers to a language service distinct from traditional translation. Localizing a text means not only making it understandable linguistically, but also culturally.

Language is full of expressions with meanings closely related to their respective cultures: Just think of idioms or puns which, if translated literally, would be meaningless to those immersed in a different cultural context.

Moreover, localization is not limited to culturally transposing text, but also applies to other elements such as icons, images, symbols, etc., which is why it is also performed on software. An icon that is obviously a mailbox to people in one country might look like cheese in another.

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How it works

The ultimate goal of software localization is to obtain a product that is specifically designed and built for users in the target market. This is not easy to achieve, but it is nonetheless feasible, especially if you hire a team of experts.

So how does software localization work? The answer is simple: It entails a well-structured work process.

First, in a preliminary preparation stage, the components to be worked on are identified. In addition to the elements visible to users, known as the “user interface”, software consists of a sublayer of code and technical elements necessary for its operation, which should not be translated or modified to avoid impairing the software’s functionality.

Next comes the operational part, which involves translating and localizing the previously identified components. At this stage, the text is transposed into the required language and all necessary changes are made so that the software is understandable and familiar with respect to the user’s cultural references.

Finally, a double review is done, first of a purely linguistic nature, and then of a technical nature. These are checks made by different professionals than those involved in the previous stage, based on a procedure commonly used in the language industry to ensure that the requested service, in this case software localization, is absolutely accurate. Those who do the initial work are too closely involved in the project and therefore lose the critical perspective needed to detect errors or oversights, which is why third-party professionals are used. They are approaching the localized software for the first time and can more objectively assess its adequacy.

Specifically, language revision is done by a native translator who specializes in localization and checks for possible linguistic errors. Correct transcription of any software’s content is a prerequisite to marketing it in another country. Its proper functioning is equally crucial, which is why a technical check is also made. In other words, you test the software to make sure that there are no bugs, that the text is properly visible, and that all other elements are positioned in the right way.

Once these checks have been passed, localization can be considered complete and the software can be promoted and sold in the target country. While conquering a new market requires a complex strategy consisting of targeted and multifaceted actions, localization is one of the key actions since it yields numerous benefits.


Software localization has significant benefits for the end user and, consequently, also for those who produce and market it.

People who interact with localized software find it easier to understand how it works, to explore its potential, and to evaluate its usefulness. Indeed, most people prefer to interact with products created in their native language so that they have full control in managing the product.

Putting the user in a position to operate the software quickly and easily has a positive impact on the user experience and is also a strong indication of the producer company’s transparency. The combination of these two elements is the starting point for building and cultivating a strong brand reputation, a factor that should not be overlooked, especially when entering new markets.

This aspect is certainly a great advantage for software marketers, although it is not the only benefit. Localization also potentially expands the pool of users who may be interested in the product. If the localization is done well, it will not be long before the software conquers the new market, resulting in an exponential increase in sales.

An additional benefit to consider is potential savings in after-sales customer service costs. The easier a software is to use, the less external support users will need.

Localization should therefore not be regarded as an ancillary service, but as an essential component of the overseas expansion strategy. To replicate the success achieved in the home country, however, you need to hire localization professionals.

At Way2Global we have been providing software localization services for more than 30 years. We do this through a team of native-speaking linguists who specialize in this specific field, through a structured and certified work cycle, using of state-of-the-art language industry technologies.

Contact us to request a quote or more information, it’s free!


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    Laura Gori is the Founder and CEO of Way2Global, a women-led translation agency startup with a Benefit ethos. After 30 years at the helm of a small multinational localization company, Laura decided to make a fresh start and founded Way2Global to conduct business in a way that benefits society and the environment, while promoting corporate growth. A fervent advocate of Benefit Corporations and women’s empowerment, Laura takes every opportunity to spread awareness on these issues and contribute to a fairer, more egalitarian and sustainable economy for all.
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