Nowadays, building has become more complex and high-tech than ever. Construction companies, architects and clients alike expect the superintendent to use the latest Construction Management Technology to ensure that building projects are run on time, meet safety standard, and within budget. Construction Management Technology has come a long way in simplifying projects and allowing for real time data entry; from adding notes, to uploading photos, to signing and sending reports. This means that demand for these software applications is increasing.
If your company provides Construction Project Management Software, Construction Accounting Software, Construction Design Software or any related Software for the construction industry, then you should consider localizing your construction software product to sell to a global market and increase your revenue.
Here are a few tips to ensure that your first-time localization is successful:
Tip One: Translate Terminology Correctly
Construction terminology can be tricky, particularly when taken out of context in software strings. To ensure terminology is accurate in the translation, follow these important steps:
- Develop a glossary of key terms in your software and add definitions and translations. Have this glossary translated first. If you have internal reviewers who will examine the translation, get their approval on the glossary first before beginning the translation.
- Select translators with Construction Software experience. Translators or even basic software translators cannot usually handle the unique Construction terminology with aplomb. They need to be familiar with the construction industry and have a thorough understanding of terms in both source and target languages. Translators who have done a large volume of Construction Software translations are usually best suited to these projects.
- Expect translators to research terms in each target market. Terminology is always evolving so it is necessary to check current industry norms by examining existing documents in each target language. A quick scan of industry blogs, publications, standards organizations, and industry groups can reveal appropriate terminology.
- Provide translators with software context. When translating software strings that are out of context is it easy for translators to make incorrect assumptions about meaning. To avoid these incorrect assumptions, it is helpful to provide translators with access to the running application or screen captures showing strings in context.
Tip Two: Test Localized Applications
After the translation has been completed it is essential to undertake thorough localization testing to run and examine the application in each target language. This testing should be completed by people who have a thorough understanding of the application in addition to being native speakers of their respective target languages. Here are a few suggestions:
- Outline test scripts to expose key user interface elements. Some screens are difficult to reach for testers, requiring specific settings to be selected, data to be entered, or error conditions to be forced. Sending your localization provider detailed instructions in test scripts will help ensure testers find and fix everything.
- Look for non-linguistic errors. Construction Software often has text length restrictions, with little space for translations in longer languages. During testing it is important to look for truncated strings and controls that have automatically expanded into neighboring screen elements. Other internationalization issues can also be found, such as character encoding, sort order, time and date formats, and number formatting.
- Provide complete environment. Construction applications often have unique testing requirements since they depend on specific hardware and network configurations. If these elements cannot be easily replicated by your localization testing partner, you may want to consider inviting linguistic testers to work onsite at your facility. Alternatively, you can have internal employees create screen captures of the localized user interface and send them to your localization partner for review in context.
Tip Three: Protect Software during Translation
It is particularly critical to ensure the security of your Construction Software Application while being localized. You need to guarantee that no malware is inserted into the localized files and maintain the confidentiality of your application architecture. Follow these simple rules:
- Limit access to raw files. Your localization provider should have tools to parse the files you provide for translation in order to provide translators with access to the text to be translated online or in segmented file while protecting the remainder of the code and markup. Translators should not receive raw files to translate.
- Ensure translators have signed strict non-disclosure agreements. By emphasizing the importance of confidentiality, you and your localization partner communicate to translators the need to refrain from discussing or sharing their work on your application.
- Work with full-time professional translators consistently from one project to the next. Instead of hiring individual contractors who translate in their spare time at home and may even work for your competitors during the day, choose a translation partner that relies on full-time professional translators. Require the same people to work on your applications between components and from one version to the next. Consistency in translators creates more buy-in, higher security, and a greater mutual trust.
- Require final file integrity checks. After the translation has been completed it is important to programmatically verify that the only differences in localized files are user-facing text. No surrounding code or markup elements should vary between the source- and target-language files. In addition to maintaining application security, this step will also facilitate builds by providing clean files free of discrepancies in spacing, line breaks, byte order markers, and encoding.
These are just three tips that you can use if you are considering translating Construction Software Applications.
However, if you are embarking on a global release effort soon, then one helpful initial step is to complete a pseudo translation to:
• Ensure all strings are externalized
• Test if your application can accommodate text expansion that occurs in many languages
• Check that character encoding settings allow correct display of characters from your target languages