SimulTrans Localization Blog: SimulTips

Software Localization with Passolo

[fa icon="calendar"] April 10, 2018 / by Niall Curran

Passolo blog image

In the localization industry, there are many tools that LSPs (Language Services Providers) can choose from to prepare content for translators to translate. But these localization software tools do more than just allow for content to be easily translated. They are used by the localization software engineers before translation starts to prepare the files and tag content, and after translation finishes to run Quality Checks and ensure the correct functionality of the localized software.

What localization tools are used to translate my software?

 There are many localization tools and TMS (Translation Management Systems) in the market, some are company proprietary and some are available to purchase.

However, some tools are better suited for the translation of UI (user interface) projects. This is because translators and engineers can visualize the UI and see what they are translating: UI strings, dialogue boxes, menu items, etc.

  • SDL Passolo
  • memoQ

Other tools are better suited for the translation of Help or Documentation projects for which it is not essential to visualize the context.

  • SDL Trados Studio
  • SDL WorldServer

And different tools are used for website localization where translators need to know whether they are translating a banner, a keyword, or an ad.

  • Smartling
  • PhraseApp

What file formats can these localization tools handle?

Each tool handles numerous software related files, for example:

  1. .rc
  2. .exe
  3. .dll
  4. .json
  5. .yaml
  6. .po
  7. .resx
  8. .properties
  9. .xlf
  10. .strings
  11. .xls/.xlsx
  12. .csv
  13. .xml

Also, they can handle any text-based file (any file that can be opened in a text editor, e.g. Notepad). For files other than the above mentioned, for example, .doc/.docx, .pdf, etc., SDL Trados Studio, and memoQ, are better.

Example of files open in a visual software localization tool

Below shows an example of a .strings file and how it appears once it is open in the visual software localization tool Passolo.

The top section shows the format of the file is:

“String ID” = “Translatable Text”

The translator enters the translation in the Properties area. Note how a translator cannot modify the English string or the String ID which are elements that must remain intact in the file.

passolo image


Example of a string containing HTML text with and without Inline Patterns / Tags

Inline Patterns / Tags are used to mark text, for example HTML code, as non-translatable.

  • Without Inline Pattern / Tag

inline image 1

  • With Inline Pattern / Tag

inline image 2

Note: text within Inline Patterns / Tags are excluded from the word count.

Other examples of where Inline Patterns / Tags would be used are placeholders, for example, %s, %1$s, {0}. 

Example of Quality Assurance Checks

Most software localization tools have a standard set of inbuilt Quality Assurance Checks. These are the type of QA checks a software engineer will run with a tool such as Passolo after the file is returned from the translator:

  • Check that Inline Patterns / Tags in the translation have not been deleted or modified. This is because the translator is free to move the Inline Pattern to suit the translation, but they cannot be deleted.
  • Check for translation consistency. This is because some software files may contain the same English string multiple times over multiples files, for example: About %s. SDL Passolo validates all instances to ensure they have been translated consistently.
  • Check the translation field isn’t left blank. This is because a blank space will create problems.
  • Check for spaces/tabs before and/or after the English string, for example,
    " 1) First numbered point ". SDL Passolo QA checks validates to ensure the spaces/tabs have been kept in the translation.
  • Check for translation length restrictions. SDL Passolo validates to ensure the translation does not exceed the length restriction.

Example of a Software Localization Process

There are three steps in the localization process where a software translation tool is used:


localization workflow passolo


  • During the Project Preparation step where the software engineer will use tools like Passolo to prepare the file and tag content not for translation.
  • During the Translation step, where the Translator will also open the prepped files using Passolo and translate directly in the tool.
  • During the Quality Assurance Step, where the software engineer will run the QA checks after the file has been translated and fix any errors found.

To summarize, visual localization software tools not only allow the translators to translate the original content into another language, it also helps software engineers prepare the files for translation correctly and run checks after translation to ensure the correct functionality of the translated software.

Therefore, it is important to select the correct tool for each project to have a smooth localization process and avoid costly and time-consuming errors.

Learn more about Software Localization by downloading our free checklist below:

Download your Software Localization Checklist

Topics: Software Localization

Niall Curran

Written by Niall Curran

With over 20 years in the localization industry, Niall has gained extensive expertise in Software, Documentation, and Multimedia localization. As part of the Engineering team in SimulTrans, Niall is involved in file analysis, production, and provides support to vendors and clients alike throughout the localization cycle.