“Software as a service”, or “SaaS” applications, have been steadily increasing in the marketplace as core business tools for enterprise users. As these programs increasingly move to the cloud, multiple language support is needed to support business units worldwide.
While SaaS is relatively new, the architecture it is based on is founded in older technology. From a localization perspective, SaaS applications can be easily localized because it is so similar to the localization of software. The challenge in localizing SaaS applications lies within how the firm designs and implements the deployment process for the application. This is referred to as the “deployer”, the way in which the SaaS application is delivered, and the “deployed”, the actual SaaS application being provided to the user.
The “deployer” for a SaaS application is generally a web-based application or site from which a user can request an application. Like any other web-oriented site, the firm needs to decide how they would like to “display” the localized versions. Different methods can include displaying the language on demand within the application itself, or having static sites for each language. Functionality between the deployer of the SaaS application and the deployed application itself can have an impact as well. It is important to know if the localized deployer will have access to only the deployed applications that are localized for the same language, or if the user can choose to use any language they wish within the deployed application.
If the deployed SaaS application is a third party application, then you will be limited as to what languages will be available. If the same firm develops both the deployer and the deployed application, then it may make more sense to localize both components. As the deployed SaaS application can also be anything from a web-based application to an installable desktop application, other challenges may depend on “how” these were designed to function.