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Software Localization Tools

In general, localization tools are highly specialized applications for the LocalizatioN (L10N) of software. The main source and target formats: resource files (RC) or binary files such as EXE or DLL usually do not contain long translatable text strings surrounded by non-translatable code. Localization tools have to extract these short strings properly, provide a convenient graphical user interface (GUI) for the translation of the strings and save the translations correctly back into the surrounding code. In this process, special attention has to be paid to controls embedded in the translatable text like ampersands (&) and shortcuts (e.g. Alt+D), which have to be translated both unique and easy memorable. Another specialty of software localization is that translated strings should be about the same size as the original text. This is because the translated text needs to fit into the appropriate spaces of dialog windows. If a size-equivalent translation is not possible, resizing procedures for the dialog boxes have to be offered. Real complex translation memories are usually unnecessary for short text strings. A bi- or multilingual terminology base or glossary is usually sufficient.

In contrary, software documentation files (Windows Help format HLP, HTML Help format CHM, Web pages HTML or Adobe Acrobat PDF) contain much more translatable text in much longer text strings. These files are usually better handled by a translation memory (TM) software, which memorizes already used phrases, typically segmented by full-stops, and enable their recycling. TM software usually implements some fuzzy match algorithm to identify the degree of concordance between a new and an already translated segment and allows their insertion into and editing in the authoring environment.

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