Video Recording of LocalizationWorld Presentation: Intro to Internationalization and Localization

Internationalization and Localization experts Adam Asnes, of Lingoport, and Angelika Zerfaß, of zaac, recently presented at LocWorld in Seattle. Their session “Intro to Internationalization and Localization” was moderated by Daniel Goldschmidt, principal consultant and cofounder of RIGI Localization Solutions, and is now available for online viewing.

The one-hour recording of their presentation provides an overview over the different areas in internationalization and localization projects where best practices exist — starting from the concept of internationalization and how it is applied to project management dos and don’ts and the tools and technologies used in the field.

Shrinking the Triangle

This article was originally featured in the Oct./Nov. 2010 issue of MultiLingual Computing Magazine, in Adam Asnes’ Business Side column. Read article “Shrinking the Triangle” on MultiLingual’s Website.

Good, Quick, and Cheap?

Good, quick, cheap – pick any two. Project managers will tell you this project triangle is the way it has to be. Fair enough in the short run, but there is a dynamic perspective to this particular triangle that static view will ignore.

Fulfilling New Market Vistas and Adaptation

A truism of technology is that it serves as a great flattener, ultimately destroying pricing and economies in one area, only to give rise to new and hopefully broadening opportunities. The rise and effect of communication technologies that join markets, customers and workers are a remarkable example accelerating change in the speed of fulfilling new market vistas and adaptation. Our industry thrives in this, connecting products, messages, vendors, clients and communities in far flung cultures. Yet, the barrier to entering the localization industry is really not so tough. You need a bit of expertise, contacts, some sales savvy and you’re in business. No expensive machinery, or large capitalization needed. But at some point, you’re going to need something to help you shrink the distances separating good, quick and cheap.

Fast, Cheap, and Good

So how’s business? And if you’re on the client side, how’s budgets?  It seems our industry hasn’t seen the brunt of revenue devastation that many others have in the current economic slowdown. And as some measure of that, recent vendor and buyer surveys from Common Sense Advisory have provided more than anecdotal support for relative industry strength and confidence – even if vendors seem to be more optimistic than clients. On a personal level, this in turn feeds my confidence as a business owner to expand offerings, spend more on R&D, marketing, and (gasp), even hire a new employees.

On Internationalization

Internationalization, which is what my firm concentrates on, is actually a pretty good harbinger of the mood of the tech industry. That’s because internationalization requires a fresh and significant investment in future revenues, rather than maintaining localization on an existing product distribution release schedule. In fact, internationalization can stick out as a pretty large budget item at a time when tech companies have done well to minimize expenses and maximize profits on less to flat revenues. And while you never want to believe too deeply in generalized economic trajectories when getting specific about company forecasts, the investors’ expression “the trend is your friend” comes to mind. This means the onus has never been stronger on emphasizing the business case for internationalization and ultimately succeeding in new markets, while also finding new ways to bring together best of breed technology and people to make the work cost less with more predictability. It’s a great story, but the pressure remains on to tighten that triangle. Internationalization and Localization must compete with any number of other potential revenue opportunities, strategic initiatives and cost pressures.

I don’t want to imply that there isn’t a great deal of truth behind the good, quick or cheap triangle, but we are especially pressed to tighten the space between those choices. Whenever I hear someone use that saying, and it’s usually when someone is trying to sell me something, I’m always looking for a way out. How do we continuously find ways to produce better things, faster and for a lower cost? That’s what the promise of technology, combined with improved people processes and greater access to knowledge all have to offer. But particularly in the localization industry, at some point, it’s challenging to get around human processes that don’t scale so well, so we are back to good, quick, cheap – pick any two. Yet we all chip away at this, finding ways to move code or words along faster, better, cheaper. This is basic principle of technical advancement, but often in the throw of daily work, do we give ourselves the time to map out and affect these three competing attributes at once? When we talk with our managers and clients, are we given the latitude, time and budget to change processes and technologies even in the face of competing budget demands?

Tightening the Triangle

In many cases, the methods of tightening the triangle may not even reside within your firm, or your vendor’s firm. In fact, it may be healthier to look beyond any all-in-one offering. For instance, my firm has been partnering with many vendors right from its inception. We focus on providing internationalization tools and development services, a software development endeavor. Software development is a highly different skill set than managing words for localization, so a natural partnership opportunity arises. We also just began a partnership with a company with a product that supports internationalized documentation writing. That’s a natural fit that only benefits customers. So it makes sense to partner companies, and then go one step further, integrating processes and services together for an outcome that reduces the size of the triangle. Note that I’m not just referring about trading logo’s on websites, which is partnering in name only.

Exports to from Germany to China are up by almost 60% this year. No other segment of German foreign trade is growing as quickly. It follows that this kind of economic relationship ties nations, politics, workforces, just as much as goods and services. We are seeing the triangle getting smaller in action.

Though China rightfully gets lots of press, there are other places having very exciting growing trends. In fact, the fastest forecasted economic GDP growth rate for 2010 is actually from Qatar (16.4% – EconomyWatch.com).  2010 to 2020 has been predicted to be the African decade, with rapid growth forecast for many nations on that continent. How will this affect our triangle and our industry? Probably quite nicely!

There Will Be Winners and Losers

But there’s more to this equation. With these trends for global markets gaining purchasing power, there is also ample opportunity for the flow of technology to go the other way. All that market diversity, along with developing labor shakes things up. One would hope that the opportunities make up for the commercial pricing stress that could accompany expansion, but there will be winners and losers.  Additionally, we can expect new opportunities from untraditional channels. For example, we currently have a new client which is essentially a financial group that purchased Chinese technology and is remarketing it elsewhere. In this case, they are not considering entering the US market just yet, but starting in places like India where competition is not so dense. So they are buying good technology for less money, to sell to new markets with lower barriers to entry. I’d call that a creative way to tighten the triangle.

About the Author

Adam Asnes is President and CEO at Lingoport and enjoys investigating how globalization technology affects businesses expanding their worldwide reach. Adam is a sought after speaker at industry events and a columnist on globalization technology as it affects businesses expanding their worldwide reach. He often writes articles for localization, internationalization and globalization industry publications and enjoys cycling and Colorado’s Rocky Mountains; he can be reached by clicking here.

Lingoport’s Internationalization (I18n) and Localization (L10n) Tools and Consulting Solutions

Founded in 2001, Lingoport provides extensive software localization and internationalization consulting services. Lingoport’s Globalyzer software, a market leading software internationalization tool, helps entire enterprises and development teams to effectively internationalize existing and newly developed source code and to prepare their applications for localization.

For more information on how Lingoport can assist you with all of your internationalization and localization needs, please contact us at info@lingoport.com, call 303.444.8020, or complete the quote request form.

Watch the Videos from the Boston Localization Technology Round Table

The Boston Localization Technology Round Table event was a great success. Nearly 40 customer-side industry professionals registered for the live event, and 100+ people registered for viewing the live-stream from the event.

For each of us presenting, it was a great chance to offer something new for the industry—a way to bring the conference to the event attendees and feature best practices and efficiencies offered by five separate but complementary companies. We hope that the attendees learned something, met a colleague or two, and gained some valuable perspective. We all enjoyed the event too and are already planning our next Roundtable in the Bay Area this coming February.

The video recordings of each individual session from the Boston Localization Technology Round Table are now available for viewing on the Lingoport Website.

Click here to view the rest of the videos from the Boston Localization Technology Round Table event.

Don’t hesitate to contact the presenters directly if should you have any questions or if you would like to learn more about their services and tools:

Clay Tablet
Robinson Kelly
rkelly at clay-tablet.com
www.clay-tablet.com

Asia Online
Kirti Vashee
kirti.vashee at asiaonline.net
www.asiaonline.net

Milengo
Adam Blau
adam.blau at milengo.com
www.milengo.com

acrolinx
Kent Taylor
Kent.Taylor at acrolinx.com
www.acrolinx.com

Lingoport
Adam Asnes
aasnes at lingoport.com
www.lingoport.com

The Localization Technology Round Table: Boston October 2010

The Localization Technology Round Table, held on Tuesday, October 19th in Boston, Massachusetts in front of a live audience and streamed online to a worldwide audience, brought together 5 industry leaders to present an open technology framework that speeds up time to market and drastically reduces your localization and translation costs.

Together, Lingoport, acrolinx, Clay Tablet, Milengo and Asia Online showed how advanced, modular localization technology addresses the challenges faced when launching products or services to international markets in multiple languages.

Attendees were not only able to learn the key considerations when taking an international product from design to launch through, Internationalization, Information Authoring, Content Management, and Localization and Translation Automation but also learned how this is achievable quickly, and with fewer resources, while maintaining a consistent brand and user experience that builds value, saves time and reduces costs.

Simply click the below videos to view the sessions again in full length. The links to the presentations in PDF format can be found right below the videos.

Machine Translation Technology Integration by Kirti Vashee of Asia Online
A leader in Translation Technology shows how Machine Translation can make a huge impact on localization productivity delivering more words, faster and at a lower average cost.

You’ll learn:

  • How the real time content model is set to change the localization landscape and how MT is poised to address this challenge.
  • How MT can enable new kinds of projects never considered before, including those with millions of words.
  • How large volume MT projects can facilitate rapid market expansion

Download Kirti’s Machine Translation Technology Integration Presentation in PDF format

Lingoport, an Internationalization and Localization Company

Software Internationalization Best Practices by Adam Asnes of Lingoport
A leader in software internationalization solutions introduces the challenge of taking a complex software/hardware product to market in multiple languages. Lingoport will show how internationalization at the earliest stages of product design results in gains in efficiency and cost reductions further down the localization value chain.

You’ll learn:

  • How to make your software work in all languages
  • Why translation is crucial to sales success
  • How internationalization drives efficiency in the localization value chain

Download Adam’s Internationalization Presentation in PDF format.

acrolinx

Information Quality Management Solutions by Kent Taylor of acrolinx
The world’s leading provider of Information Quality Management Solutions will show how to deliver quality product and technical information faster and for less money, despite time-to-market pressures, insufficient editing staff, and rapidly changing technology.

You’ll learn:

  • How to save 15% – 25% on translation costs with quality source content
  • What you need to know to improve your processes today
  • Quality Management in the Information Development Environment

Download Kent’s Information Quality Management Solutions Presentation in PDF format

Clay Tablet

Content Management, Customer Relationship Management and Product Information Management System Integration by Robinson Kelly of Clay Tablet
A leader in localization efficiency solutions shows how automated translation processes make it simple to deliver product support and technical content from any Content Management, Customer Relationship Management or Product Information Management system and deliver significant reductions in localization costs and time to market.

You’ll learn:

  • How Business Information Systems can be leveraged to deliver multilingual content.
  • How sending content for translation is easy and hassle free
  • How an automated workflow improves time to market and reduces costs when launching international products.

Download Robinson’sContent Management, Customer Relationship Management and Product Information Management System IntegrationPresentation in PDF format.

Milengo

Localization and Translation Best Practices by Adam Blau of Milengo
A global provider of language services to Fortune 500 companies shows how multi-language vendors blend advanced localization workflows and technology to deliver multi-language translations quicker and, at a lower cost.

You’ll learn:

  • How rapid market expansion requires rapid translation results
  • Why human translation is important and the areas it really makes a difference
  • How machines and humans can work together to tackle large volume multi language projects

Download Adam’s Localization and Translation Best Practices Presentation in PDF format.

Speakers

Read more

Localization Technology Roundtable Event Series

Are you challenged with finding more efficient ways to launch your company’s solutions faster, with fewer resources, and less expensive in multiple languages? Are you faced with maintaining a consistent brand and user experience when entering new global markets?

Lingoport, a leading provider of software internationalization tools and services, acrolinx, the world’s leading provider of Information Quality Management software, Milengo, a global language service provider, Asia Online, a provider of near-human quality mass translations, and Clay Tablet, a provider of translation integration software systems, have joined forces  and will present how advanced, modular globalization, localization, and translation technologies simplify the process when launching products or services to international markets in multiple languages.

Event: “Localization Technology Roundtable”

Dates and Locations:

  • Tuesday, October 19th in Boston
  • Wednesday, October 20th in New York
  • Thursday, October 21st in Washington, DC.

Agenda and Registration: http://www.lingoport.com/localization-technology-roundtable

Cost: Complimentary

Presenters: Adam Asnes, Lingoport President and CEO, Kent Taylor, VP and General Manager at acrolinx, Robinson Kelly, Founder and CEO of Clay Tablet, Renato Beninatto, CEO of Milengo, and Kirti Vashee, Vice President of Sales, Americas and Europe of Asia Online

Who should attend: The Localization Technology Roundtable Event Series targets Senior Executives responsible for international market share, Technical/Engineering Managers, as well as professionals involved in helping their company succeed in international markets.

Why should you attend:

The Localization Technology Roundtable Event Series allows attendees to:

  • Access a wealth of information from globalization and localization industry experts.
  • Discover new technologies and techniques to launch products worldwide faster and cheaper.
  • Share information with industry leaders and network with their peers in an informal atmosphere.

Your company’s offerings for world markets are often critical factors for growth, profitability and long term value. This is a unique opportunity to learn from experienced industry veterans about practical ways to measurably improve what can easily be either one of the greatest strengths of your company, or a messy, delayed and expensive misadventure.

For additional information, please feel free to contact Chris Raulf by email at craulf@lingoport.com or call 303.444.8020 x705.

Not Just Software. Medical Device Software.

Guest Blog post by Andres Heuberger, CEO and Founder of ForeignExchange Translations.

While any software localization can be challenging, medical device software adds yet another layer of complexity to the equation. This complexity comes from the fact that software is so integral to the functioning and therapy of a device that is keeping a person alive. Regulators are acknowledging this and device companies have to deal with new rules and new challenges.

Software Localization, Internationalization, and TranslationWith the advent of the new Medical Device Directive (MDD) amended by Directive 2007/47/EC and implemented six months ago, software is now included in the definition of a medical device. It does not matter whether the software is integrated into the actual device or is a stand-alone product. Software validation will also be an Essential Requirement (ER 12.1a) under the MDD. Annex I, Essential Requirement 12.1 has been amended to include that software must be validated, taking into account the principles of development lifecycle, risk management, validation and verification. In this context, proper software internationalization is even more important.

Software code needs to be able to handle different characters such as diacritical marks, as well as user inputs. User prompts need to be unambiguous and clear, especially since the prompts can be presented at times of user stress and emergency situations. Some device companies have started to use cognitive debriefing techniques which were, until now, reserved for the validation of pharmaceutical patient-reported outcomes, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of software interfaces. Having to carry this out in multiple languages and geographies can complicate development projects, not to mention the costs involved. On the translation side of medical device software, there is a narrow skill set for linguists, who must be able to translate software strings out of context, understand medical terminology and, in many cases, be savvy enough to test localized software on different platforms.

All is not bleak though. The companies who are most successful with their software localization are the ones who build projects specifications with localization in mind from the start and who lean on their translation providers for support from project inception through to final testing. It’s a brave new world, and medical device companies have no choice but to embrace it and understand the regulations and implications while devising new ways of working.

ForeignExchange Translations provides specialized medical translation and localization solutions to pharmaceutical and medical device companies. For more information, visit www.fxtrans.com.

The Localization Technology Round Table Event Series

View all presentations here

The Localization Technology Round Table brings together five industry leaders to present an open technology framework that speeds up time to market and drastically reduces your localization and translation costs.

Together, Lingoport, Acrolinx, Clay Tablet, Milengo and Asia Online will show how advanced, modular localization technology addresses the challenges faced when launching products or services to international markets in multiple languages.

You’ll learn the key considerations when taking an international product from design to launch through, Internationalization, Information Authoring, Content Management, Localization and Translation Automation.

And you’ll learn how this is achievable quickly, and with fewer resources, while maintaining a consistent brand and user experience that builds value, saves time and reduces costs.

You will also:

  • Access a wealth of localization experience from industry experts
  • Discover new technologies and new ways of working that are already changing the localization landscape
  • Learn strategies that can streamline your localization efforts and help you quickly launch products worldwide
  • Share information with like-minded peers and learn proven practices that you’ll find nowhere else

The Localization Technology Round Table event is free of charge, space is limited, and scheduled to be held at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel on Tuesday, October 19th in Boston.

Please note that the Wednesday, October 20th event in New York and the Thursday, October 21st event in Washington, DC will have to be rescheduled for 2011.

Agenda

8am – 9am: Continental Breakfast and Networking

9am: Introduction

Renato Beninatto from Milengo provides an introduction to the event, the speakers and an overview of the presentations.

9:05am: Software Internationalization Best Practices by Adam Asnes of Lingoport
A leader in software internationalization solutions introduces the challenge of taking a complex software/hardware product to market in multiple languages. Lingoport will show how internationalization at the earliest stages of product design results in gains in efficiency and cost reductions further down the localization value chain.

You’ll learn:

  • How to make your software work in all languages
  • Why translation is crucial to sales success
  • How internationalization drives efficiency in the localization value chain

Acrolinx - Technology for Information Quality

9:20am: Information Quality Management Solutions by Kent Taylor of acrolinx
The world’s leading provider of Information Quality Management Solutions will show how to deliver quality product and technical information faster and for less money, despite time-to-market pressures, insufficient editing staff, and rapidly changing technology.

You’ll learn:

  • How to save 15% – 25% on translation costs with quality source content
  • What you need to know to improve your processes today
  • Quality Management in the Information Development Environment

Clay Tablet Technologies

9:35am: Content Management, Customer Relationship Management and Product Information Management System Integration by Robinson Kelly of Clay Tablet
A leader in localization efficiency solutions shows how automated translation processes make it simple to deliver product support and technical content from any Content Management, Customer Relationship Management or Product Information Management system and deliver significant reductions in localization costs and time to market.

You’ll learn:

  • How Business Information Systems can be leveraged to deliver multilingual content.
  • How sending content for translation is easy and hassle free
  • How an automated workflow improves time to market and reduces costs when launching international products.

9:50am: Break and refreshments

Milengo

10:00am: Localization and Translation Best Practices by Renato Beninatto of Milengo
A global provider of language services to Fortune 500 companies shows how multi-language vendors blend advanced localization workflows and technology to deliver multi-language translations quicker and, at a lower cost.

You’ll learn:

  • How rapid market expansion requires rapid translation results
  • Why human translation is important and the areas it really makes a difference
  • How machines and humans can work together to tackle large volume multi language projects

Asia Online

10:15am: Machine Translation Technology Integration by Kirti Vashee of Asia Online
A leader in Translation Technology shows how Machine Translation can make a huge impact on localization productivity delivering more words, faster and at a lower average cost.

You’ll learn:

  • How the real time content model is set to change the localization landscape and how MT is poised to address this challenge.
  • How MT can enable new kinds of projects never considered before, including those with millions of words.
  • How large volume MT projects can facilitate rapid market expansion

10:30am: Q&A

10:50am: Break / Refreshments

11am – 2pm: Networking / Consultation / One-on-one Discussions

In the final part of the event you’ll have the opportunity to speak individually with any of the presenters to answer your questions and discuss how the concepts covered can benefit you.

Speakers

Renato Beninatto
CEO & Chief Instigator at Milengo

Renato BeninattoRenato is a corporate strategist and market research evangelist with nearly 30 years of executive-level leadership in the localization industry. A native of Brazil, Renato serves on the Advisory Board of Localization World and remains an active member of several industry groups worldwide, including the American Translators Association (ATA), the European Language Industry Association, the Association of Language Companies (ALC), and the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA).

Kent Taylor
General Manager at acrolinx

Kent TaylorKent Taylor defines himself as a Recovering Pubs Director and a 30-year enterprise publishing veteran, experienced in all aspects of information development and delivery, with a strong focus on people, process, technology, and quality.  And, he is always seeking the Holy Grail: cost, quality, and timeliness – all at the same time!

Kirti Vashee
Vice President of Enterprise Translation Sales at Asia Online

Kirti VasheeKirti Vashee is a seasoned sales and marketing executive of technology products who has built a reputation as an evangelist for SMT technology. He has been a prominent and accomplished speaker on automated translation technology in a variety of localization and globalization technology focused conferences around the world.

Robinson Kelly
CEO & Founder of Clay Tablet Technologies

Robinson KellyRobinson is a technology entrepreneur and business start-up veteran. Clay Tablet is the fourth start-up technology company he’s been involved with over the past 15 years, including, working in Silicon Valley launching a content management firm. Robinson is now responsible for the sustained growth of the company by driving strategy, managing major partnerships, setting goals and directing the team.


President & CEO of Lingoport

Adam Asnes founded Lingoport in 2001 after seeing firsthand that the niche for software globalization engineering products and services was underserved in the localization industry. Adam AsnesLingoport helps globally focused technology companies adapt their software for worldwide markets with expert internationalization and localization consulting and Globalyzer software. Globalyzer, a market leading software internationalization tool, helps entire enterprises and development teams to effectively internationalize existing and newly developed source code and to prepare their applications for localization.


The Pros and Cons of Simship

Today, most companies planning the worldwide release of a product will likely debate the merits of whether or not to “simship” (i.e. releasing a product worldwide all at once rather than in their home market first with localized versions available later). While companies new to global markets may shy away from “simship,” more established worldwide companies have embraced the “simship” strategy for several significant reasons. First, localizing and releasing their product in all markets at once allows these companies to generate global revenues faster (rather than just in their home market).  Second, delays can be costly. By making localization a tail-end process, companies are only deferring the work and, more important, missing the opportunity to trouble-shoot their product across all localized platforms before release.  Third, new internationalization technologies are making the process more agile, allowing more frequent product releases worldwide.

In short, while a “simship” approach may mean more up-front costs and more time required before a product is released, emerging companies new to the global marketplace should give “simship” serious consideration. As more established worldwide companies will attest to, the benefits of the “simship” approach far outweigh the initial sacrifices.

For additional information on this topic, please also refer to Adam Asnes’ article: The Business Why and How of Simship

Webinar Video: Internationalization in Action

It can be daunting to figure out how to best approach and perform an internationalization effort on a large source code base. Do it poorly and you’re stuck in an expensive cycle of delays and sub-par localization results. Consequently, you may also delay or miss out on budgeted revenue from foreign target markets.

As part of this webinar recording, Lingoport President and CEO Adam Asnes will use an open source code base as an example, and evaluate the programmatic elements of the application that are affected by locale requirements. Adam will comb through the code using Globalyzer, Lingoport’s software internationalization software, to find and externalize internationalization issues.

This interactive one-hour webinar recording covers a variety of topics, including:

  • A short primer on internationalization and localization basics
  • Considering locale and technology requirements
  • Analyzing your code base for internationalization issues
    • Identify and externalize embedded strings
    • Locale-sensitive methods/functions and classes
    • Programming patterns
    • Filtering your results
    • Integrating internationalization into your development teams
    • Questions and answers

Join us for a hands-on webinar featuring practical real world advice based on extensive software globalization experience over a wide breadth of technologies and applications. The information covered in this presentation is aimed toward professionals faced with ongoing internationalization issues, including:

  • Technical managers
  • Software developers
  • Localization engineers and managers
  • Internationalization engineers and managers
  • Product managers
  • And anyone wanting to increase and solidify their internationalization and localization knowledge


The Business Why and How of Simship

This article was originally featured in the July/August 2010 issue of MultiLingual Computing Magazine, in Adam Asnes’ Business Side column. 

The subject of managing releases over worldwide markets can be a contentious one, with pros and cons on either side of business and development cases. The concept of simship is that if you are releasing your product to worldwide markets, you do it all at once rather than first releasing to your home market and then following with localized versions later. I can’t say that any one approach is right for all organizations, business situations and products, but I can share with you some of the organizational, procedural and business issues that contribute to successful simship global releases.

When a company commits to product releases that serve a worldwide customer base, there’s a long shadow cast on revenue, marketing, sales teams and of course development practices and testing. It’s a challenging logistical undertaking to release software products in multiple markets, requiring well-integrated planning and practices. It’s no wonder simship is viewed alternatively as difficult and impractical to the best thing a company can do. Let’s consider a few of the issues within any organization, starting with the business case.

Internationalization and localization are always in pursuit of a business case, and one exists both for and against simship. That said, the business cases tend to vary based on the global perspective and maturity of the company. The case for simship is strongest among experienced global companies. Their revenues are already global, so delaying releases for localized versions only serves to delay resulting new release revenues. There may be good reason for adding secondary tiers for some local release schedules, but products really should be internationalized, with a clear path for localization and testing within the development path. In practice this isn’t the reality, but there’s quite a bit of agreement and successful data on the business case existing for simship with this class of company.

When companies are relatively new to global markets, they generally tend to put less of an emphasis on simship with new releases, and more of an emphasis on market or business agreements as drivers for their efforts. Perhaps they have a new customer or distributor that must have a localized version. In that case, synchronizing new version development with localization is usually—but not always—an afterthought. This is because the company sees its prime revenues being driven by current product customers. New releases boost sales, renewals and competition, so that connection is strongest where the current customers are. We’d still argue that even under these circumstances, simship should not be pushed aside, as there are gains to be made both for revenues and operations.

Time and Revenue Projections

Attached to initial time to release and revenue opportunities are quarterly and annual growth numbers. If a product is expected to grow sales by percentages outlined and expected in a marketing plan over months, quarters and years, significant delays in turn make those projections difficult, if not impossible, to meet. Delays add up to real dollars. Now let’s leave the business case behind and look at software development organizations. It is extremely common among both development and localization teams to view localization as a tail-end process. But this is a critically limiting perception if your company is committing itself to serve global customers. Practically, a company shouldn’t build a product with a requirement as major as supporting multiple locales as a tail-end process. Even in cases where legacy code is now being first internationalized for global customers, once that adaptation is complete, from then on localization should be included as an expected part of the development process. That means including requirements for planning, architecture, development implementation, testing and release.

I asked my internationalization colleague Tex Texin to add some words about this. He seconded that as with many other aspects of globalizing applications, development organizations tend to see just the work and delay to releasing their product and not the benefits. And although we work to plan to minimize the pain, there is cost to achieving simship. However, exercising the localized versions often uncovers critical problems in the product core that can require urgent updates, recalls or even the creation of specialized tools to repair customer data in the field. In that context, simship is not only a requirement to be in the international markets and significantly enhance revenue, but is an important part of product testing preventing problems that are costly to repair and damaging to both reputation and future domestic sales.

Tactics

Simship nearly always seems to be the outcome of an internationalization implementation. So, we have some experience working with legacy code that we are internationalizing and then merging with concurrent new development, building localization proactively into the process.

We find and work with the localizable content embedded in the code first. We gain a clear estimate of localization costs by examining those strings, even while they are still embedded in the code using static source analysis. That’s important because it allows the budget and financing mechanisms of an organization more time to accurately fund the localization. Then we systematically provide externalized strings for localization as we go along in the project, rather than waiting until the end. We also perform static analysis on concurrent new feature development so that when we merge legacy and new code, we minimize the risk of expensive surprises. We build functional internationalization and localization test cases and execute both. The internationalization functional testing can be performed by testers regardless of linguistic proficiency. However, because we have been localizing all along, we are also quickly ready for linguistic testing. The combined processes are extremely effective in finding both functional and linguistic defects that may have passed through if performed as an afterthought.

Agile Development: It’s one thing to talk about including localization into your internationalization and development process on large-scale efforts, but what about smaller scale and rapid agile releases? Turns out it’s really no different. I talked to Mike McKenna, globalization manager at Yahoo!, to get some perspective. An extreme example is the release cycles for Flickr, Yahoo!’s photo sharing social network. Flickr sometimes rolls out four to six releases per day, holding the expectation that developers can get immediate access to translations they may need, likely to be small UI changes. Then they pride themselves with directly connecting their developers to users, without intermediaries, to fix issues that may arise from localization or functional changes.

Yahoo! has other software, such as its Open Strategy Platform or Yahoo! Application Platform, which typically have six-week release cycles. In this case, there is a UI freeze before the release sprint so that localization can be integrated into the final release sprint. Developers work with their localization managers and ensure any last-minute tweaks that may become necessary to the UI during the release sprint are well coordinated.

Security: Let’s go back using our timetunnel to the 1990s: Windows 95 was first released in August 1995, its first service pack was released in February 1996 and the second pack in 1998. The localized versions were always lagging behind: Microsoft first released the “Enabled“ version, which was not localized but could run software in your language. A few months later, Microsoft released the localized version. Today, Microsoft and other companies release security patches on a monthly basis if not on a weekly basis. Can you imagine releasing the patch in North America first and only a few months later in the rest of the world? Simship enables the release of security patches and other critical patches on a timely basis to all markets and prevents security glitches.

Internationalization as Enabler

The success of localization and the ability to coordinate simship processes are directly dependent upon the quality of a product’s internationalization as well as the development team’s ongoing internationalization practices. Internationalization is the software development enabler, and without it or without a consistent internationalization benchmark, localization and particularly simship get broken. As the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. Simship takes a little more planning, time, tools and coordination, but it’s hardly an onerous process. Like a lot of things, your organization has to be aware of the benefits and just do it. Then the actual doing is clearly achievable.

About the Author

Adam Asnes is President and CEO at Lingoport and enjoys investigating how globalization technology affects businesses expanding their worldwide reach. Adam is a sought after speaker at industry events and a columnist on globalization technology as it affects businesses expanding their worldwide reach. He often writes articles for localization, internationalization and globalization industry publications and enjoys cycling and Colorado’s Rocky Mountains; he can be reached by clicking here.

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