New Webinar: Concatenations, Bad File Formats and Other Gremlins

There are certain internationalization (i18n), localization (L10n), and quality assurance (QA) issues that commonly arise in software organizations. As an i18n solutions provider, we see these problems at many of our client organizations when they first come to us for assistance. These issues not only make for poor L10n results or worse, they can even break localized builds and ultimately hurt business performance.

The Most Common i18n Issues

In Lingoport’s upcoming webinar “Concatenations, Bad File Formats and Other Gremlins,” we’ll demonstrate a few of the most common and problematic issues, with solutions for finding and fixing them at their source, rather than finding and fixing them later in testing…or worse, after release when it’s much more costly and time consuming. During the webinar, we’ll look at:

  • Concatenations
  • Improper date formatting
  • Character set issues
  • Dealing with messy resource file formats
  • JSON and YAML issues
  • Continuous QA

Register for Webinar

Date/Time

Date: December 6, 2018
Time: 9am PT | 12pm ET | 18:00 CET
Duration: 45 minutes, plus audience Q&A

Agenda Highlights

  • Identifying common i18n, L10n, and QA issues during global software development
  • Methods for uncovering these issues at their source during development
  • Strategies for fixing issues efficiently, reliably, and in a scalable manner
  • The benefits of continuous QA
  • Audience Q&A

Register for Webinar

 

Webinar Recording: Integrating i18n Expertise with Your Development Team

When working with outside internationalization experts to facilitate the global release of your software products, you’ll be faced with a key challenge: how to best collaborate in a way that drives efficient global releases, while also transferring knowledge to your internal development team.

In Lingoport’s webinar “Integrating i18n Expertise with Your Development Team,” we feature a case study of an i18n engagement with a leading medical and veterinary products and technology company involving Lingoport’s services to internationalize the client’s SaaS application.

Like many managers, our client wanted his team to be a part of the i18n effort, gaining i18n knowledge through the process. At the same time, he also needed to balance his resources with budget, availability, and other concurrent development efforts.

During the webinar, we discuss the initial challenges in finding the right balance, as well as lessons learned and successes achieved.

View i18n Webinar Recording

Agenda Highlights

  • Formulating a plan
  • Assigning work responsibilities
  • Cadence of meetings
  • Project risks
  • Gaining team buy-in
  • How the work gets done
  • Localization in parallel
  • Success stories

Date/Time

  • Date: October 30, 2018
  • Time: 9am PDT | 12pm EDT | 17:00 CET
  • Duration: 45 minutes (plus audience Q&A)

View i18n Webinar Recording

 

Fearlessly Leading Global Expansion [Webinar Transcription]

Today’s economy is increasingly borderless. Global transformation and expansion have become a key driver to company growth. Many industries, however, are not accounting for differences in business practices, culture, and language as they branch outward to different regions and countries.

With this background, check out Lingoport’s interview of Anna Schlegel, Head of Globalization at NetApp and Co-Founder and President of the Board of Women in Localization (4,000+ members), exploring smarter ways to go global and enable your brand to connect more deeply with local users. 

In this webinar recording, you’ll not only uncover what you need for a successful software globalization effort, but also key strategies for effective communication involving global teams, including everyone from executive management to remote team members around the world. Learn to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls that besiege many companies, and so much more. 

View i18n Webinar Recording

Interested in reading the transcription instead of watching the webinar? Say no more! Check out excerpts from the webinar below.

Excerpt 1: “A True Veteran of Internationalization Localization” [00:00:00-00:10:24]

Adam Asnes

We’re fearlessly leading global expansion, a behind-the-scenes discussion with Anna Schlegel and her strategies for global transformation at NetApp. [We’re] very pleased to have Anna with us.

She does… just a fabulous job of escalating localization from a checkmark in many organizations, and a reactive activity, to a true strategy for moving forward, and changing the company’s global footprint.

So, a little bit about Anna. Anna, if you could just say hello, people will hear your voice.

Anna Schlegel

Hello everybody.

Adam Asnes

All right, good, good. Anna’s a true veteran of internationalization and localization. She has 20 years of experience in the industry in many different roles, at a lot of big companies you’ve heard of. She also authored the book, Truly Global: The Theory and Practice of Bringing Your Company to International Markets, and cofounded the 4,000 plus member association, Women in Localization.

A little bit about both: Anna’s book is short and to the point…it’s like a mini cheat sheet of everything she’s learned and concisely put together. So, I do invite you to go and get the book afterward.

Right, let’s get to the questions. The format of this webinar is I’m gonna ask a question, Anna’s gonna answer it and we’ll proceed. Each one of my slides has one to three questions. We’ll probably move ahead regularly, and then at the end, if you could submit your questions or even submit your questions during the webinar, I will take those questions at the end… we’re targeting to finish around half to the hour, whatever your timezone is, and then go into our Q&A period, which usually lasts about 10-15 minutes depending on how active.

So, we’re depending upon you to participate in that last section.

Right, Anna, let’s look at a now and then, kind of like a before and after. Can you describe for us the globalization perspective you see currently at NetApp compared to years ago?

Anna Schlegel

The globalization perspective of years ago… it’s night and day. The reason why I took the job is because I was the head of globalization at VMware at that time, and somebody…[asked] me, “You know what NetApp is?” I’m quite familiar with it, and I looked at the website… they wanted a French website, and I saw some Spanish on the French website…

[So I said,] “I’m taking the job.”

…[back then] there was very little thought on how NetApp was presenting itself or positioning itself globally. And today, it’s a sophisticated machine – one of the best teams in the world… it’s the dream, but it’s taken a long, long, long, long time. It’s night and day [from when I started there].

Adam Asnes

Anyway…so one of my favorite terms you have in your book is “Geo Alignment.” What do you mean by Geo Alignment?

Anna Schlegel

Geo Alignment is a term that we created in my team very quickly… 10 years ago.

So one of the first things that I noticed was… the headquarters. NetApp is a US company, thousands of employees… [I asked] “where are these thousands of employees? Who is driving the agenda here?” And I saw that most of the employees were in the United States, most of the employees driving the larger goals for the company were based in Sunnyvale at headquarters.

I did a mapping of…those goals that are coming about…themes or brand or marketing or product, [and asked] “How do they make it to the offices in Israel? Or the offices in Russia? Or the offices in Korea? How is that connection made?”

And I saw that it was broken at many stages.

And so we’re like, well, we have a Geo Alignment problem. We have a headquarter-to-country problem. And we started mapping how much information can you offer from an enterprise to the actual doers in the country offices, and we created a program we call Geo Alignment… we hired Geo Aligners. And so that right there made the localization team a globalization strategy team.

We opened so much business, we removed so many barriers, and then we tailored the amount of information that somebody at a small office would get, at a medium-sized office would get, or a large office would get.

You can’t treat every country the same; you have to treat them differently. There’s different team sizes; there’s different goals; some products do not resonate in a particular market; some products are encrypted; some products are not allowed; some products haven’t taken off.

When you map all of this, you run business really fast… you stop wasting your time in explaining things that do not resonate or are not relevant in the field. This is the concept of Geo Alignment.

Excerpt 2: “We hear everything. Everything.” [00:10:24-00:24:13]

Adam Asnes

Alright, very good. Moving ahead, what are the roles of key personnel on your team?

Anna Schlegel

We started with being a localization team, we moved to being a globalization team, and then we moved to being the global strategy for NetApp.

And so when you think about that, when you say, “I’m gonna form the global strategy for the company,” you don’t need project managers; you need strategies… and you need metrics people, and you need to dip into trends and analyses, and market trends, and country plans, and country managers…

And we don’t forget the fact that we are the translators, and we are the reviewers, and we are the internationalization engineers, and we are the machine translation experts. So, we have all those roles.

We have a small team of strategists. They’re the ones that look at the country plans for the country that we care about the most… they open up those country plans and they look at what are the products that these country managers want to sell, and that’s what we go and work on.

We have all the typical, traditional roles, from a product lead that does all the product globalization, where we do the internationalization of the product; the localization of the product; the technical publication… that’s one team. We do have a head of localization that: she manages the localization operation… [and] the large millions of volume that we pass as well.

We do have content strategists, because we are very concerned and very passionate about the health of content. [They ask,] “How was it authored? Are the taxonomies proper? “Is the search engine grabbing the right key words?”

So we participate a lot in content strategies. We… [also] have an operations team: we have a chief of staff that has a small team that does communications, that does all the invoicing, all the vendor relationship, all the QVR’s; and then we have a futurist… a globalization architect that roams around the country looking at…the data cloud services, data services bit. [This team asks,] “How are we going to be delivering our product: via the cloud, or more of the traditional storage security systems there?”

So those are some of the main leads. The other thing that we do that has been the best thing we’ve done in a long time is we united the globalization team with the content strategy team for the company – so now I’m very lucky to run globalization and content strategy. And once you have content strategy, you can influence… [the] content that we write…[the] types of content that we write…we influence that.

View i18n Webinar Recording

Adam Asnes

Very good. So you’re proactive, not just reactively translating. Alright, very good. I’m gonna keep moving along: we could stay on this subject a long time.

How do you garner market information?

Anna Schlegel

We do a few things. So we read… papers, we open country plans, and we run anything that the company does to stay close to their customer…we’re there.

So if [for example] there’s a major… customer conference,… we have a booth there; we talk; we do surveys; we get a lot of responses through that process… [whether] online or in person, we are always there.

We’re constantly grabbing what the market needs, what the customer needs, and we rely a lot on the country managers. It’s that Geo Alignment…

Adam Asnes

That’s no shortage of work, to get worldwide opinion flowing towards you. That’s pretty cool.

Anna Schlegel

Yeah, it is very well organized, so there’s a process for that. It’s not that I pick up the phone whenever I feel like it, [like] “Hey, how’s it going in France?” No, we have the right team… we create small tiger teams that we call Champion teams that gather market information for every single department that we support.

Adam Asnes

Alright, very good. I’m gonna move on to the next slide which is a pretty loaded single question, right?

Let’s talk about the stakeholders at NetApp, and the objections you hear, and how you work with then.

Anna Schlegel

The objections I hear come from…up and down the chain, so it comes from the highest executives to individual contributors that are working at a project level. And the list is very long: there is no money; there is no mandate; how do you know; who are you; what’s your title; how long have you been at NetApp; people understand English in Japan; I don’t have money; my boss has never said anything about this; what is internationalization; or we are in other countries?

We hear everything. Everything.

So the way to confront these objections is: we are so well prepared. We’re so well prepared with the analysis and the data, and I don’t let just anybody represent the team. I mean we have very specific people in my team that go and fight those battles, and we preload and we train and we prepare…

Adam Asnes

Right. Well, I do wanna emphasize that in our position, we have seen that it’s one thing when a company has a commercial product… it’s sometimes a little easier to get a localization program in place. But when a product is technical, like NetApp products are, one of the pushbacks that we see in a lot of customers is, “We don’t have to translate because all of our customers speak English because they have to.” What would you say to that as a sample objection?

Anna Schlegel

Sure. So we have the data on English tolerance for our product type. We have a lot of competitive analysis also, so we know what are the equivalent products to ours. And we know if they’ve been globalized or not. We talk a lot with the channel also, so channel partners in Japan, China. We are a vendor. We are a vendor to major organizations like the Chinese government…

…So, we know the English tolerance, we know in what situations that’s true and what situations it’s not true, so we’re very careful… We study what products we need to globalize and what products we don’t need to globalize.

Again, we are in the data storage business… we need to be very careful with language tolerance. We are dealing with highly trained engineers around the world. But it’s very different if you’re dealing with a business in Beijing than if you’re trying to sell something into a remote province of a third tier, fourth tier city, you do need to be localized.

And to that point, we just globalize the product, period. Because it’s just gonna reach a much larger pool of people…

Adam Asnes

Okay. So make sure the product is internationalized and you’re ready and, go ahead.

Anna Schlegel

Yeah, I mean product internationalization is just the most basic thing you have to do, so that’s number one. And then you do a study of language tolerance for your product, and then you pick your countries. And it’s very different, you need to have a language map for all these departments you’re supporting. It’s not the same language; it doesn’t have to be the same language.

Excerpt 3: “Luck Meets the Well Prepared”- [00:24:57-00:34:25]

Anna Schlegel

How do we target countries? So, we target countries by understanding their companies, so we are very well aligned with the general managers for APAC, for EMEA, for the Americas. And then we all have specific budgets, so you put your eggs in several areas and not in other places, right? So again, we target the country differently, we target the countries through a reciprocal process of annual grading plan, where we know exactly what are the countries where we’re gonna globalize for what languages.

The second question, “what local data do you measure for executive and stakeholder review” – so we have this mapping because we serve 14 departments and each department tackles different languages…we line up to 14 executives, and so we’re constantly presenting this to the 14 groups through these little champion teams or tiger teams that I was explaining before.

And so we talk about the good, the bad, the average, the opportunity, and that’s how we keep tracks with the executives.

Adam Asnes

Very good… now we get into helping people: the general attributes. What are some of the key personnel attributes you look for on your globalization team?

Anna Schlegel

Do you know the word “Grit”? Grit, G-R-I-T? That’s what we’re looking for. So it, it’s tough, right? I mean, we are in the Silicon Valley where many, many companies are offshoring, outsourcing, looking for lower cost solutions. And we, I think the globalization team were in 20 or 22 different countries. So the key attribute is patience, is continuous learning, is shake it out, don’t be afraid, you know, step up, lead.

We make everybody lead a major program or project, so we spend a lot of time training on how to lead something that they have in their head that will go to our mission. So trainable. I’m very passionate and very on top of some specific things, so people that don’t shy away from very open conversation; we do a lot of candor, we do a lot of, how are we gonna talk to each other, so we do a lot of values training also.

Teamwork. People that can work really well in a team, is very important-

Adam Asnes

Good. This is really great. I wrote down patience, continuous learning, shake it up, trainable, passionate, open conversations, values teamwork. Very good.

So looking back on your career, what might you have done a little differently knowing what you know now?

Anna Schlegel

I remember when I started, I was always the pain in the butt in the meetings, saying, well, “You haven’t thought about localization.” And I know that I used to be the pain in the room, like, “Well this doesn’t look like this is globalized or internationalized, or why haven’t you done this, or you don’t know better,” I used to be a bit of a smartass person years ago, and I don’t think that helped me.

What I learned was it was much better to listen and then go and ask after the meeting, or tackle this very difficult conversation, ’cause they’re usually about somebody wasn’t thinking in the proper, or somebody doesn’t know what they don’t know. So going after the meeting, maybe, to ask about globalization plans and sitting one-on-one, rather than putting people and evidence in big large rooms, because I think I made a lot of people feel very uncomfortable.

But that’s something I learned, and then, so having these more strategic conversations outside of the major forums is better, is much better. That way you create the relationship with the person to say, “Hey, you know, do you understand what localization is, what we do? Have you ever thought about how this will resonate in Korea?” You know, that.

View i18n Webinar Recording

Adam Asnes

Okay, very good. And any particular advice? I mean you’ve got this incredible machine going, but there’s people on this call that don’t, necessarily, and are just getting started. What advice might you give to people starting out in globalization leadership?

Anna Schlegel

So number one, be very patient. When I started at NetApp, I was one person. You need to be very patient, you need to be very brave; very brave. The way I went from one person to many is I decided to come up with the 12th session task force, I called it a task force, and I went to grab different people from different teams, I’m like, would you help me figure this globalization thing out?

…I would say ask your vendors for help, to strategize. You can have your vendors if you’re on your own or it’s a very small team, you can put a vendor day, you can put a globalization day, your vendors will help you. Even if you’re on your own.

There are people out there who can help you look bigger or amplify what you want to do. The other thing I would say: Join forums… If you don’t belong to a forum, you should join one, because you’re gonna find the people like the way I found Adam, right?

And so you start creating these networks, and Adam is who taught me about internationalization, so you need to network. Networking would be something very important.

And the other thing I would say if you’re a localization manager just with a band of one or two or three is to start creating some sort of awareness, so maybe you create a monthly newsletter or a quarterly newsletter. There’s so much information out there, that you can start parsing that out or mailing that out through the company as a subscription model and see who would be interested.

So thinking, what are the things that you can do, when you start moving those engines, things start to happen. Luck meets the well prepared, so sitting alone and just sending products to the localization vendor is not healthy if you wanna move from localization to globalization.

Adam Asnes

“Luck meets the well prepared”- very good.

Excerpt 4: Q/A Session [00:34:29-00:44:28]

Adam Asnes

Alright, so we’re into the QA part of our presentation. We have a couple of questions already, which is great, which I’ll read off, and we’ll continue on…

Our first question here is from Gary: what are the top three questions you ask a new product team or business unit?

Anna Schlegel

A new product team, I ask who’s the development manager, who’s the release manager, and who’s the executive.

And then you have a conversation with them, and some of the first questions can be, “Have you ever thought of going global?” Many, many times, the product teams are formed by excellent developers or QA leads that have done this in other companies, maybe they’re not doing this in your company, so one of the questions would be, “Did you do this at IBM? Did you do this at VMware?” One of the questions I ask is “Where did you work before?”

But you want to find the right people, and you want to start having the conversation. Some other way of looking at this is, can I look at the business requirements? Because many, many times, the product managers are working through business requirements, and so you need- it’s almost like pulling a thread of like, who didn’t put the right business requirement for the product to go global? Maybe it was product marketing, or there’s so many disconnects, again, that Geo Alignment of doing the detective work of who didn’t put the right requirements, why did they think that placing this product in Japan is not a good idea?

It might be because it is not a good idea, but you need to find out if the product is in the country manager’s plan.

And so that’s why you wanna prepare before you go to these product teams, just say like, “Hey, have you realized that there is a lot of action around this particular product in China, or in Japan, or in Italy, wherever.”

Adam Asnes

Really good. Alright, I should move us on to the next question, we have quite a few here: Jack…said globalization is going through growing pains…What is your take on this?

Anna Schlegel

It’s very true! So for example, Jack, I travel a lot to China, so many, many Chinese companies are trying to [go] global and they don’t know how to, so that would be one thing. The other thing that I would say is many are looking for US companies to help them with joint ventures or EM partnerships to get in to a particular country like the states. You have a lot of nationalistic spirit popping through, a lot of countries tightening borders, and so that’s part of what he’s talking about: entering countries is very complicated. You have the government in between, they might wanna tax you higher, they might wanna put impediments into the global trade compliance; I mean, there’s so many issues around global trade compliance, and you constantly need to be looking at new tax laws. Is it worth it to put a product in a country that’s gonna give you low revenue?

So that’s why you need to be very, very careful into where you’re putting your product. What are the countries, and you need your legal teams, and you need your global trade compliance teams lined up. Just localizing to localize is not a good strategy any more.

Adam Asnes

Right. Gotcha.

What do you say are your current biggest challenges when it comes to the way forward with globalization in the near future?

Anna Schlegel

The rapid growth of data, the way that artificial intelligence is offering very quick response back into vertical access. So how are we gonna be able to keep up with the decision making process of, data’s coming in very quickly through artificial intelligence where you used to have dozens of analysts trying to figure a particular problem, you can figure it out in seconds with something like IBM Watson.

So how are you able to react to that is gonna be the advantage of any company. And so how fast you can globalize that, how fast can you put it on digital, you know the digital transformation, the access to data and information, that is, I think, the next frontier here.

Adam Asnes

Alright, so I’m gonna call it good here; we’re at the end of our time. Thank you very much, Anna, this was really a special webinar for me to hear this strategic view. I think this is really a beautiful thing, because we work with a lot of companies around the world, and they are really struggling to get where you are now.

So clearly you’ve had a vision for this that you’ve realized, but there’s as you’ve said, luck meets the well prepared, you’ve really done your work over the years. It hasn’t been instant. And I think that comes through. Again, everybody, if you don’t have it, go and buy a copy of Truly Global; it’s well worth the read, and find some people to network with and mentor and help you, whether you’re on top of the world or just getting into it, there’s always a place for that…

Again, thank you Anna, and to everyone who joined us, thank you for joining us; the recording will be available shortly, it usually just takes us a few days, and you’ll get a notice about it.

Take care everyone!

Anna Schlegel

And thank you, Adam! Thank you.

Adam Asnes

Alright, bye bye!

Anna Schlegel

Bye bye everybody.

Technology for Better Global Collaboration

 

The State of the Internationalization & Localization Industry [Webinar Transcription]

Globalization is becoming an integral part of how business gets done. So naturally, there’s been lots of talk of continuous globalization in software development. However, there’s a clear gap between what people say about the current state of continuous globalization, and where people would ideally like their organizations to be.

Lingoport wanted to uncover the reality and so launched The State of Continuous Internationalization and Localization Survey to identify the actual state of the industry.

Watch Lingoport’s Adam Asnes and Nimdzi’s Renato Beninatto webinar recording, sharing insights from the survey results on where the future is taking us.

In this recording you’ll not only uncover the leading globalization opportunities in the market today, but also effective approaches to leading globalization at a growing enterprise, the ideal role of globalization vendor partners, and much more.

View Webinar Recording

Interested in reading the transcription instead of watching the webinar? No problem, we’ve got you covered. Check out excerpts from the webinar below.

Excerpt 1: Introduction [00:00:00 – 10:00:00]

Adam Asnes: 

This is Adam Asnes at Lingoport… with Renato Beninatto. We’re going to be discussing a survey that we gave, briefly, and then we will also be getting into ten questions with Renato. I’ll be making all introductions and going through this.

…Renato Beninatto has really had quite a career within the industry and it’s very exciting. He’s been on the executive teams; [like] many of you … of many large localization companies. He’s run his own localization company, he’s been a consultant in the industry, he’s been a marketing executive, he’s been a sales executive… [Renato] specializes in making companies successful in global markets, and in starting businesses that span across boards.

…So, we had this survey in December and January of this year to look and find out, what is the state of continuous globalization? There’s been lots of talk of continuous globalization, and honestly there’s a gap between what people say about the current vision of continuous globalization, and where people would like to be. And we wanted to really focus on that in our survey, to understand that.

[We found there]… is a very commonly reported disconnect with developers, management, and localization teams. There is a leadership recognition issue of getting management to understand, and perhaps a leadership gap within the localization industry itself… Very clearly there were budget woes reported in terms of getting enough money to do what people wanted to do…

So, there’s kind of good news and bad news. The bad news is there’s a long way to go, the good news is people are really interested in going there.

Alright now, on to our live guest. I don’t want to short change Renato with time. Renato!

Excerpt 2: Localization and Company Success Predictors [00:10:00-00:20:00]

Renato Beninatto:

Hi!

Adam Asnes:

Hi! Alright, very good. Tell us about your latest venture, Nimdzi. What is it, who are you serving, and how are you helping? That’s a big single question.

Renato Beninatto:

Yeah, well then I’ll keep it short. We are doing market research and analysis in this space. It’s my second venture in this area. I started a company called Common Sense Advisory, that some of you know, and… after going through ten years away from this space, I thought that there was room for a new look at how you share information and you gather information about the space.

The work that you did, the kind of survey that you did, is a fantastic job and actually I went through the analysis that was done, and I’m not surprised. I mean, one of the conclusions that you can take from the study that you have is that there’s a lot of room for growth, improvement, and development. The thing that has changed is that, with the proliferation of technologies and the changes in processes that have happened, you have created more confusion and decision making becomes harder. So, there is a role for independent consultants, independent analysts in this space to help organizations run and make decisions that are not only based on marketing materials from the suppliers…

So, I wrote this book, The General Theory of the Translation Company, which looks at how LSP’s provide their services and how they create value for the clients. The key, the central theme of the book is the value creation: what are the activities inside an organization that create value for the final client? It’s a book that is designed for everybody in the industry. If buyers, publishers, end users of translation optimization want to understand how the process works, they have that formally there. If translators who are at the other end of the process want to know how the sausage factory works, that’s what the book provides.

So, we work mostly with end clients, providing them guidance and helping their decision process.

Adam Asnes:

[Is there] a common theme in localization [that] involves justifying the business case to upper management?

Renato Beninatto:

The answer is no… the reality is that unless the organization, the upper management as you call [it], has decided to go global and have an international presence, making the case and building it from the bottom up is still very hard. And there is one reason for that: it’s that translation and localization are afterthoughts. They are really something that is seldom designed into the product or the service, and usually the person… and we have organizations here at different levels of experience and maturity. But in a traditional organization, somebody is picked.

I like to tell this story. When I was a tax consultant at Arthur Anderson in one of my first jobs in my career, very early on, my boss came to me one day and asked, Renato, how do you come to work? I said, I take the bus. Good, [he said], you’re a transportation expert. Maybe localization people in the industry aren’t just people that speak a foreign language; they are part of the organization and they take upon themselves this initiative to build a globalization practice in their organization, or somebody tells them, oh because you speak a foreign language, you are the expert in this space.

Adam Asnes:

What are some of the success predictors for companies entering new markets?

Renato Beninatto:

Okay, this is an interesting conversation point. Everybody wants to have a secret recipe of how do I become successful going into a new market. And this is case by case, product by product. It’s very different if you are a consumer product [or] if you are an enterprise product and there are many facets to that process. But, some things that all successful companies have in common is, first, they literally speak the language of the local market. Having a local partner or a local consultant or somebody that gives you local insights about the country that you’re trying to enter will always give you an advantage, [even] for the silliest things…

One of the studies that we have done recently is about global payments: getting paid in different markets is an issue for almost every company. How do people prefer to pay for goods and services. A credit card is not as widespread outside of the United States as it is in the United States. So even though eCommerce is present everywhere, if you’re in China, if you’re going to China and you don’t have an Alipay, you’re probably not going to be successful in selling your product online. So a partnership with a local expert or a local insider is always good. Another predictor is using research, understanding what is the landscape in the market, if there are products that are similar to yours and how do you stack against those products. This is also an important thing. We’re going to talk later about the risk of copycats and things like that.

Excerpt 3: Localization Opportunities and Globalization Initiatives [00:20:00-00:32:00]

Adam Asnes:

What are some of the leading localization opportunities that you are hearing about?

Renato Beninatto:

[The] market of language services is pervasive. Every human activity, every business activity in the world requires some sort of translation or localization. People prefer to consume their products in their local language. That’s an axiom, it goes without saying. So the opportunities that are growing have to do with areas of the economy that have growth because translation and localization is not an end activity in itself, it follows other business activities and it’s a consequential activity, not an end activity. So I would say the areas that you would see this in the performance of the LSPs in certain verticals, there are certain areas that have much higher growth than others. So if you look at things like entertainment, gaming, multi-media, and regulated industries like life sciences, the financial sector, now there is a big boom… These regulated areas are huge opportunities for growth. This is where growth is happening.

The localization industry doesn’t grow in a uniform way. It grows at different speeds in different markets at different times. So if you look at, for example, eCommerce, that’s a segment that is pretty much stagnant and it’s very prone to automation. So there is an increasing volume of it but not necessarily an increasing revenue in that area. So I would say all the big areas where you see manufacturing in other areas that is not taking off, it’s essentially a stagnant market. If you look at the cost of goods in the economy, they tend to be flat or actually going down. And that reflects in the expenditure that companies have for their translations and localizations. So I think that the leading areas are the ones related to entertainment. I like to call one of the big shocks that we have in the last two years in the language business is the Netflix affect. The fact that Netflix decided overnight to go into 100 countries and you started to have a shortage of translators for video subtitling and dubbing in 26 languages that they started using. Look where the economy is going and the growing companies in the space, and this is where opportunity lies.

Adam Asnes:

I’m gonna add that we’ve seen an uptick in companies engaging with us and our software not in the U.S., writing software in their own, for instance, Chinese – all their strings are in Chinese, but now they’re looking to reach other markets which aren’t just the U.S. So we’re seeing it go the other way.

Renato Beninatto:

Absolutely… I actually go frequently to China, I love that country, and I love the market. I was there recently in October of last year with a friend, and she was saying that she thought that the West was more advanced than Asia and when she arrived in Shanghai said, “Oh my god, I’m living in the future. This is the future.” China in many aspects is much, much ahead of the United States and even Europe in many, many areas. But the thing about China is that the Chinese large organizations, Ali Baba, Baidu, and companies like that, they still have so much room for growth in their local market that they are not necessarily focusing on growing into the international markets. Their international expansion is very small compared to the giants here in the United States and Europe. When they decide to go internationally, then we’re going to see a really, really big uptake in this business. Tell your kids to learn Chinese!

View Webinar Recording

Adam Asnes:

All right. Are companies taking global user experience for granted or are they understanding it’s not only about translating?

Renato Beninatto:

It’s very hard to answer a question that starts with “are companies” because companies are very different. What I can say is that user experience has been a topic that has gained traction in the last, I don’t know, eight, nine, 10 years. Mostly because of the development of mobile technologies. So user experience, it used to be an after thought and it’s become really an important part of software design and development. Companies… [generally] have a chief user experience officer and are really looking at how customers interact with their technology. But the key element driving this is the mobile revolution. As they say, the future is mobile, the future is Android, IOS has a very small percentage of the market besides the North Atlantic area. In the case of mobile, text comes less important and it’s all about motions and minimal viable content. You can say a lot more with a button then you would say with words.

I think that it’s become very important but that depends a lot of the maturity of the company that depends a lot on how the relationship goes. One of the things that I would say is that user experience is very, very different in [inaudible 00:27:19] markets. If you look at Japan, China, and Holland for example, you can launch a product in Holland or in Scandinavia in English and you wouldn’t notice much loss in opportunity there. But if you go to China where more than 90 percent … It’s a mono legal country, more than 90 percent of the country doesn’t speak English. You need to have a unique experience there. You need to understand that everything goes through WeChat, everything goes through search environment, Baidu and Ali Baba and all those big environments there. If you go to Japan, most of the world uses WhatsApp, China uses WeChat, Japan uses Line and Korea also uses Line. These are … Business environments that are not even taken into consideration in many cases… It’s not only about translating, it’s definitely understanding how people consume information in the local markets and what are the platforms that they prefer and your user experience needs to match that experience.

Adam Asnes:

…If you were leading globalization at an enterprise that is expanding it’s globalization emphasis, what sort of initiatives would you consider?

Renato Beninatto:

First of all, I would be aware of the copycat effect. If you launch a business or a product in the United States, you don’t have the privilege of having a captive market and waiting until your product is mature to go to other markets. There are businesses in Europe, a company Rocket Internet and plenty of businesses in Asia whose business model is essentially “Look what is going on in the United States, what new products are taking off, let’s copy that model and launch it here locally and create our brand before this American brand comes over”. And this is a real threat. This is something that you need to be aware of. If you don’t globalize from the beginning, if you don’t launch your product locally, you will suffer from the copycat effect.

The other initiative that companies should consider involves diversity – having diverse leadership and input from executive level staff from different areas of the world. They say one of the sins of diversity is that a diverse group is smarter than a smart group because diversity brings different insights and brings different outlooks on things. And I think that GE and Cisco have led with initiatives like this where they have appointed chief globalization officers from different countries, living in different countries to participate at board level and top management levels in their companies. So these are the things that if you really want to, there is a big different between being a multi-national company, being an international company, and being a global company. If you really want to be global, you have to act as a global company.

Excerpt 4: Globalization Vendors and Vendor Services [00:32:00-00:42:30]

Adam Asnes:

What is the ideal role of globalization vendor partners?

Renato Beninatto:

I think that what a globalization partner, and partner is the key word here, the biggest value that a partner gives to a client is allowing their buyer to have a good night’s sleep. The role of the globalization vendor is to deal with everything that is transactional, that is operational, that is procedural, and let the client representative, their direct contact on the client’s side deal with strategic and internal elements of the globalization process. Today, there are very mature suppliers that can handle all the needs of a big organization. One of the trends that I’ve seen in the last four, five years is for the very mature companies, the top companies in the world, they have realized that the traditional approach of working with two, three, four vendors at the same time and splitting work among them by language or by volume was actually creating a backlash. And companies are moving more to a single-sourcing model because the vendors are financially stable, and organizationally mature enough to be ready to deliver all the activities related to globalization as an outsource service.

So at a very high end, the size of internal departments is shrinking, and more is being outsourced just as in other areas that are not core competencies in organizations… like customer support and first level support. Things that can be outsourced are outsourced so that companies can focus on the things that really generate revenue for them. So the ideal role of a good globalization partner is not to surprise their clients, is to give them, like I said, a good night’s sleep and take all the monkeys off their shoulders so that they can focus on things and grow internally as executives in the organization.

Adam Asnes:

You’ve acknowledged that Translation Memory is old technology at this point. What do you see as up and coming?

Renato Beninatto:

Okay, it’s so funny that about 10 years ago I said that Translation Memory in five years, Translation Memory was going to become free or irrelevant. And I think that we’re there. You have tools online, you have Omega T, which is open source, you have MateCat, another open source tool. You can even use Google Translator Tool Kit as a free translation memory tool that anybody can use in the market. The big topic in our industry is neuro machine translation but I don’t think that that is the most relevant thing from a localization process point of view. What is up and coming are solutions similar to what Lingoport provides, and there are other providers in the marketplace that do that. What is up and coming and what differentiates companies is the ability to integrate with any other tool that affects the localization process.

The technology today, as always, the role of technology is to automate repetitive manual tasks. You will hear people saying, “Well, but when will this stop?”. It will never stop because every automation creates a new process and that new process after a few months or years is ready for being automated also. And I’ve been seeing this happen over and over and over again. So Translation Memory today is a feature. It’s something that is there. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few more years Translation Memory is not even mentioned, [or] taken for granted. I think it’s old and what is up and coming is processed more than language processing.

Adam Asnes:

There’s been an emphasis on TMS and CAT tools being synonymous with technology in our industry. I always look at that and say this requires expertise on the part of the customer. When should customers actually consider such technologies versus vendor services?

Renato Beninatto:

I think that this is a great question, Adam, because this talks to the total cost of ownership aspect… how many companies and many of the participants in this webinar are certainly still working on Idiom platforms. Idiom was a decision that was made 15, 20 years ago. This was implemented, it was integrated, it’s part of the development process, and it’s very hard to break away from that. I see in the engagements that I have with clients that many of them are trying to get out of that technology that was developed in, I don’t know, Windows XP environment or Vista. I don’t know what it was, to something that is more agile and flexible. Because all the other technologies are changing.

Like I said before, I think that the winning companies and the winning technologies moving forward will be the ones that can easily integrate into processes. It’s this API economy concept that allows organizations on the go to switch technologies easily based on their ease of integration with other tools.

We need to be realistic and understand that globalization technology is not a top priority for any CIO. They are not going to stop selecting an ERP system or a content management system for the whole enterprise because it doesn’t have localization features. It’s always going to be an afterthought. And the few times when that happens it’s a long process and takes a long time.

I personally believe that because I am a service kind of person and I believe more in service than technology because technology will change. I mean, the technology that we will be using and talking about 10 years from now has nothing to do with the technologies that we’re dealing with today. I mean, Google didn’t exist 15 years ago when we were working in translation and localization, and today it’s an integral part of anything that we do… it’s better to select in an enterprise environment, to select a vendor that can solve the localization problem to the client as a black box. What is the technology that they use in the background doesn’t really matter as long as the process is transparent? I know that you have a solution at Lingoport and there are many suppliers in the industry that have this solution that detects changes in the source content and triggers a localization process when the change happens. And that automation based on machine learning and monitoring will win over time.

So if I had to choose what technology or TMS … and the point is and it’s part of your question, very seldom people consider that to make a decision based on the technology will require somebody to manage and to be trained and to be involved in that technology on a regular basis. So this is more staff, this is more people to manage when you really want to have this process as automated and as carefree as possible.

I like to say as long as we have control of your content and you manage the transition. It’s like they say, you have to talk about divorce before you get married. If you secure that you can move and change vendors seamlessly from the beginning of your relationship, you will be safe engaging in a relationship with a stable supplier.

…If I were going to buy a localization today, I would buy it as a service, not as a product.

Excerpt 5: Business Models and The Voice Experience [00:43:00-56:17]

Adam Asnes:

How do you see using technology to connect all developers, marketing teams, localization teams, in country offices and even vendors in globalization teamwork?

Renato Beninatto:

I think that that’s the role of technology in our space. That’s really the value that technology brings. It’s essentially automating processes in making it seamless inside the organization. A global organization will be working in 10 different time zones and you cannot have a single point of failure in an individual in one location. [If] that person is not there to send the email… everything will be delayed.

Like you mentioned in your survey, the majority of companies are… not working in an automated way. So I think that using good technology, using cloud-based solutions that integrate all the different functions that are involved in localization is the way to go. Talk to the people that are doing that kind of stuff because ultimately, what you want … and this would be my last comment. I think that the trend that we want to see is for companies to move from managing activities to managing exceptions.

Once everything that is repetitive is automated, you start being responsible only for looking at the thing that didn’t work. You only look at the things that are outside of the traditional process. Tasks that are repetitive and predictable, they can totally be automated. Your span of control and your capacity of managing automated processes increases significantly because you only work at that flashing red light or yellow light, “Hey, we have a problem here. We have somebody that hasn’t picked up this project in half an hour. Maybe we need a human to interfere here.” And you take away the traditional. There are some areas that are very prone to this type of automation like vendor management, like content detection, and things like that.

Adam Asnes:

Right. Right. Right… All right. So I’m going to open this up for questions from the audiences… I’m going to start with our friend, Alexander. Both of us know him very well.

All right. In software development and continuous delivery, it just doesn’t make sense both for the buyer and for the provider to pay the fixed per-word rate for translating only a handful of words at every spread. How will translations earn money and add value in the future? What do you think about the per-word rates versus per-hourly rates of flat fees and minimum fees?

View Webinar Recording

Renato Beninatto:

This is a business negotiation discussion. The per-word rate is a very simple traditional way that we have been using in this space. And at the end of the day, everybody’s going to convert that to a certain metric and to define, oh, is this good enough or not enough for me.

The reality is that per word, per hour, per minute, per comma, per paragraph, per line as in German, these are ways to measure effort. I’ve seen multiple attempts and models to solve this discussion. I think there is a right way. There is the way that to negotiate and whatever you negotiate that is accepted by the parties is a good deal. The moment it starts being a good deal, you will start seeing a decrease in the performance and it’s time to negotiate again. I think that in the sprint and agile model a per-hour rate or a weekly metric you decide to use to pay for the availability of the resources is fair.

Adam Asnes:

All right, other questions here. You mentioned single sourcing. That seems like both a sales challenge for vendors to break in in large companies as well as a vulnerability on the vendor side because if the vendor is wrapped around say two or three customers that end up making up most of their company business, that actually destabilizes those vendors a little bit. What do you have to say about that situation?

Renato Beninatto:

So I’ve been involved in three situations where clients have moved from multiple vendors to single vendors. And the points that are raised are fair but they’re no different and maybe even easier than to… three or four different vendors. Now, some organization will have eight vendors but they will single source certain areas of the business. So one company will give all the consumer products to one vendor and all the enterprise products to other vendors. Another company will have three or four divisions and they will work with two vendors and split the process because these are divisions that have different processes and different ways to address the problem.

Definitely and what we have seen is that the risk, there is a risk, but it’s lower than having to handle [multiple vendors]. So, in one of the organizations that I was involved, the internal organization had over 100 employees in the localization department. And after the single sourcing decision, this group went down to five people because all those other 95 functions were handled by the single vendor that was doing that. So that single sourcing approach makes the vendor become like a department of the client.

There’s always risks, and you have to evaluate what they are, but you need to have a certain level of maturity from the vendor and the buyer, also.

Adam Asnes:

All right. I have a question here. [As a] leading opportunity, you mentioned the voice experience. What are the challenges that you see or how you think it can affect the industry?

Renato Beninatto:

The voice space is very interesting because that’s the hardest one to automate. There are attempts and there is a lot of pretty good artificial voice that’s available in the market but for the entertainment market, it’s still the artistic element is the one that is hardest to automate. So some companies in this space, the ones that are working with the film distributors, with Netflix, with Disney, Pixar and so on, they are actually investing in this high margin niche of voiceovers. Because of this, they believe are the ones that are going to be the last frontier in automation, that the content can be machine translated but the interpretation needs to be human. That’s another dimension that you can look at as part of the opportunity. It’s a kind of a protection from automation.

The State of Continuous i18n & L10n Survey Results

The Ultimate Guide to JavaScript i18n

Why It’s Important to Internationalize Your JavaScript

Internationalization (i18n) is the process of preparing software so that it supports local languages and cultural settings. In other words, JavaScript i18n is the process of making your JavaScript application localization-ready. An internationalized product supports the requirements of local markets around the world, functioning more appropriately based on local norms and better meeting in-country user expectations.

Benefits of JavaScript i18n include:

  • Higher quality software that meets the technical and cultural needs of multiple locales
  • Reduced time, cost, and effort for localization (L10n)
  • Single source code for all languages of the product
  • Simpler, easier maintenance for future iterations of the product
  • Greater in-country customer acceptance and satisfaction

The global software market is increasingly growing in demand and volume. Many major software companies derive the majority of their revenue from markets other than the country in which the company was founded. Going global often leads to revenue growth for software organizations.

If you have international users, or if you plan to move into additional international markets, it behooves you to not only internationalize your JavaScript but to also localize your product to deliver both the linguistic and cultural experience that a local user would (and should) expect.

The Risks of Not Internationalizing Your JavaScript

If you choose to skip internationalizing your JavaScript, be prepared for several significantly negative ramifications, including lower sales, weakened competitiveness, and frustrated local users.

It will start when your JavaScript application is confusing to use for a native speaker. When they review and spread the word about the product’s subpar and confusing interface your initial market impression will be poor. Although your audience will want your software’s functionality, they will want and expect an experience tailored to their needs, much as you’ve accounted for in your domestic market.

You may be able to attract early adopters without internationalizing, but for many markets you won’t be able to achieve deeper market penetration. Users will be contacting you and tying up your tech support to understand miscommunicated or simply poorly identified aspects of your program and likely demanding fixes for a number of small internationalization bugs that should have been addressed before the program was released. As word spreads you will have introduced a need for direct competition to your offering in the market.

There’s a better way. Internationalize from the start and satisfy the needs of local users in your global markets.

JavaScript Internationalization Resources

Internationalization & Localization Software

Lingoport Suite is your operating system for exceptional global software, empowering more than 300,000 developers to release software in global markets successfully.

  • Internationalization Software
    With Lingoport Globalyzer, find and fix i18n issues that inhibit localization and global user experience during development. Catch up on i18n technical debt. Avoid rework. Eliminate the manual tracking of locale updates. Collaborate on your i18n efforts via Slack.
  • Localization Process Software
    Make localization proactive using Lingoport Resource Manager. Eliminate error-prone, tedious, manual processes that slow down localization. Detect & manage changes to resource files in your source code. Streamline translation jobs. Automate localization updates between development and translation. Collaborate on your L10n efforts via Slack.
  • Linguistic QA Software
    With Lingoport InContext QA, quickly identify an issue during linguistic QA, enter in a new translation, edit directly on your screen, enter a bug, and have the file automatically updated after approval using your workflows. You’ll be editing directly in the context of your software. No more screenshots!

Questions?

Questions about JavaScript i18n? Contact us for a consultation or to schedule a demo of Lingoport Suite, our i18n software suite.

How to Identify an Internationalization (i18n) False Positive | Lingoport

What is a false positive

‘False Positive’ is a common term used when dealing with any automated checking system when an error is reported and the user deems that it doesn’t need to be fixed. You have likely run across a false positive or ‘false alarm’ when working with a grammar check in a word processor.

False positives occur for a few reasons. Software is complex, and it can be safer to over-report than over correct. When measuring complex conditions there will be instances where something that would be an error to one person would not be an error to another. Initially, it needs to be reported. As reporting is managed and controlled, the ease of use with the error reporting will increase. It is expected that users understand and address false positives to make the most of whichever system they are working with.

What is an i18n false positive?

There are some quirks that set i18n (internationalization) false positives apart.

False Positive Example

False Positive Example

It can be difficult to locate a false positive when it relates to an issue but doesn’t actually identify a problem that needs to be addressed.

False Positives vs Issues

Software internationalization rule sets are broken down into 4 categories of detection types:

  • Embedded Strings – Any hard-coded string in the application that will need to be translated.
  • Locale-Sensitive Methods – For example, Date/Time, Encoding, or String Concatenation methods.
  • General Patterns – For example, hard coded fonts, encodings, or date formats: ‘ASCII’, ‘ARIAL’, ‘mm/dd/yy’.
  • Static File References – Application references to static files, some of which may need to be localized.

How to fix an i18n false positive

Any quality automated reporting system will have a way to identify similar false positive patterns. A simple example would be if a grammar check was identifying Art as a word that shouldn’t be capitalized in the middle of a sentence. Despite this being the name of someone commonly referred to in the user’s work, the user would identify the error and tell the system to stop reporting the false positive.

When addressing an i18n related false positive in Globalyzer, Lingoport’s i18n software that identifies and fixes i18n issues during development and enables users to eliminate i18n technical debt, new rule filters need to be created. Doing so requires filling out a simple form.

String Method Filter

A more technical overview of Globalyzer’s specific requirements for manually addressing false positives can be found here

Rule filters help by identifying patterns within the reporting system and refining them to the user’s specific requirements. Individual issues can be flagged for removal at the user’s discretion as well.

What if this could automatically be solved?

To achieve seamless global software development that incorporates i18n into the development process itself, it’s necessary to address the complexities of false positives and to learn to manage them efficiently. However, manually checking i18n false positives is simply too cumbersome for today’s fast-paced agile development.

Lingoport is excited to announce we are fixing this problem with Machine Learning!

The power leveraged from machine learning is more complex than simply writing rule filters automatically. Soon i18n error reports will become dynamic documents that allow any organization to spend less time identifying errors and more time optimizing the product.

Ensure your team isn’t wasting time while internationalizing software for the world market. Watch the recording of our machine learning webinar, and discover how machine learning makes i18n false positives a thing of the past.

New Webinar: Pinpointing i18n Issues Quickly with Machine Learning

We invite you to watch a recording of Lingoport’s recent webinar, “Pinpointing i18n Issues Quickly with Machine Learning.” Machine learning is quickly changing the software development and testing landscape. View the recording, and learn to put machine learning to work so that your teams create better internationalized software, faster, easier and more naturally in every sprint.

Date/Time

Date: Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Time: 9am PDT, Noon EDT, 18:00 CEST
Duration: 45 minutes plus Q&A

Internationalization (i18n) Prevents Localization Problems

The best way to deal with i18n issues is to find them as the code is written or committed to source. Now, we have a predictive method to make this type of detection faster and easier than ever before.

Lingoport Globalyzer Now Powered by Machine Learning

The most common objection to i18n detection during development involves dealing with false positives. It takes a sophisticated detection system to distinguish between a true i18n issue and a programming element that looks like a problem but isn’t.

Lingoport’s Globalyzer has had multiple methods to do this by default and through customization for years, but through the implementation of machine learning, we’ve taken a further leap forward for powerful i18n detection even for highly unique software requirements.

What You Will Learn

  • How to bridge gaps between L10n and development
  • Effective i18n issue detection in source code
  • The false positive conundrum
  • Applying machine learning to i18n issue detection
  • Scaling i18n expertise across your development teams
  • Measuring, collaborating and supporting i18n in every sprint

Who Should Attend

  • Localization Managers
  • Development managers
  • Localization and development engineers
  • Product, Program and Project Managers with international objectives

View i18n Webinar Recording

Phasing Software i18n and L10n: What’s Right for Your Company?

Going global is a big step. Moving from the massive challenge of getting a company off the ground and past the initial challenge of proving that your idea can work has already put your company in a league beyond most.

Aside from incidental web traffic and interest from new countries and regions, for many companies, going global means setting up partnerships, offices and agents. For software, it also means internationalizing and localizing software so that it’s competitive and meets sales requirements. Internationalization (i18n) of your software is a business case driven undertaking, in response to opportunities and strategy. It is not like a feature that you might add in a sprint or two.

That said, all global targets are not equal in terms of technical requirements. This post gives you a brief overview of stages of software i18n and localization (L10n) and what opportunities each may open for your company. It’s not intended as a technical resource, but more as a primer for product and localization managers.

The Basics

Venice, Italy

  • Internationalization, often abbreviated as i18n (i – then 18 letters – n), is the process of making a single code base locale-independent so the application can be easily localized to other locales with no source code changes.
  • Localization, often abbreviated as L10n (L– then 10 letters– n), is the translation and application of locale-specific terms and style so that a product is locale-specific – that is, it looks and reads like a product native to the market in which it is being sold.
  • Globalization, sometimes abbreviated as g11n (g– then 11 letters– n), includes both internationalization and localization together and often refers to the entire process of supporting other locales.
  • A locale in computing is a set of parameters that defines the user’s language, region and any special variant preferences that the user wants to see in their user interface. Usually a locale identifier consists of at least a language identifier and a region identifier. Consider that in both the US and the UK, the typical language is English, but other parameters such as date format, temperature and even some spelling is different.

Why Wasn’t It Internationalized in the First Place?

Venice, Italy

In a perfect world, all products would be created with i18n as a fundamental requirement from the start. But often with new product development, teams are just trying to make a product work and see if there’s a response. The initial focus is on relevance and acceptance of the application. Follow-on efforts are feature focused. I18n isn’t really like a feature, as its requirements underpin an entire application.

As mentioned above, going back and internationalizing code requires a business case. It takes time and will distract the development team from new features. There are times when products are rewritten, which is an excellent window to spend some effort on internationalization. In many cases i18n is a good opportunity for outsourcing, bringing in i18n expertise that allows your team to focus elsewhere, while still learning from the experts to ensure that future development will be internationalized. Expert help enables you to implement i18n faster with greater quality and less project risk.

Although people often think i18n is just about string externalization and the resulting localization, there is much more involved. There are locale frameworks that will govern locale behavior, methods/functions/classes that may need to be changed, static files to alter, and even hard coded patterns (e.g. a hard coded font) that may need fixing. Issues like date/time, address, phone number, numerical and measurement formats will have to adapt to local preferences. You’ll need character support, sorting changes and more. String externalization is like the visible part of an iceberg. You see it, but there’s much more below the surface.

Consumer Facing Software

Vernazza, Italy

It’s easy to see how consumer facing software has a higher requirement for i18n and L10n if it’s to gain broad acceptance, even in markets where English is more common.

That said, we do hear the argument that English is commonly used and understood in many places. Remember, if you travel to major cities in Europe, you’ll find that you can get along with English pretty well. But in terms of product preferences, people typically prefer engaging in their own languages. As you get out of major cities, you’ll find less English proficiency. Even with English (which English?) you still have formatting issues as mentioned, like decimal and comma placement in numbers.

Technical Software

Internationalization Phases

We see the “English everywhere” argument even more with technical software. To an extent, if your users are technical (i.e., system administrators), you can use English in more markets. But you’ll fall flat in Asia Pacific countries, such as Japan, Korea and China.

Below is a broad summary of i18n phases or levels which can be applied depending upon the business case. The best is to be global ready for everywhere of course.

Unicode

If your targets are in Western European languages (i.e. French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese and more), you won’t need Unicode support in your application. That said, if you’re working on i18n, I like to recommend that people take on Unicode as early as possible. Most every modern database and programming language offers Unicode support, but you have to enable it. In our experience, Unicode support can be about 25% more work on an i18n implementation (there are exceptions), but remember that if you’re already in the code making i18n changes, it’s more efficient to do it now than restart the process later. This is a generalization, and there are plenty of specific application, business case and market driven exceptions. For example, somebody sold something and you have to deliver your product in Brazilian Portuguese in three months (true story!).

Unicode support will need to be a prerequisite if you have plans for markets/languages with complex scripts such as Japanese, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Hebrew, Arabic and Cyrillic based languages (i.e., Russian).

I18n Phase 1: Data

Internationalization

The very first internationalization priority should be the ability to input, process and transform customer data. In my opinion, this should be a benchmark requirement for any software that could have global customers or enterprise customers, whether or not localization is considered to be in the future. Note that the U/I is not changing in this phase. There is no U/I localization yet.

Even if you are actively selling only in your home country, it’s likely that you will run into customers in other countries, or your customers will have customers in other countries. At least let people enter data in multiple languages and formats. Store it, transform it and retrieve it without corrupting it.

Minimally, accents and diacritics shouldn’t cause character corruption (those square boxes and odd shapes you’ve probably seen). Better yet, add unicode support in the database and source code.  Character corruption shouldn’t be caused via issues in the various components of your product source code.

Character corruption example:

Character Corruption Example

Better if data can be stored and managed in variable formats for information such as date/time, numerical units, addresses, phone numbers and currencies.

Automation is the best approach to achieving this in a seamless, efficient and scalable manner. To that end, Lingoport’s Globalyzer can be used to scan your source code and database scripts to find these issues and guide developers to fix them. Our services team can perform refactoring work, as well.

I18n Phase 1.5: Locale Frameworks

You’ll need a locale framework for each programming language within your source code.

This paves the way for string externalization and presentation which will be needed for localization. Presentation of formats for date/time, numerical units, addresses, phone numbers, collation, currencies and more are also controlled by locale frameworks.

Lingoport’s services teams can help you make the right choices and even implement them for you.

I18n Phase 2: Language and Localization

Italy

String externalization is often what most people think of as the critical i18n and L10n step. User-facing words or strings are removed from being embedded in the source code and replaced with a function call typically to a resource file where the strings will now reside. This way, if the user selects a locale preference (remember those locale frameworks), French in France for example, the code will retrieve the French strings in the resource file for presentation.

String externalization can be tedious and time consuming. The issue is that lots of things may look like strings at the source code level that aren’t actually user-facing strings. Examples are named variables, debug statements and internal queries. Lingoport’s Globalyzer has default and extendable capabilities to aid these distinctions. Globalyzer Workbench enables an i18n engineer to assemble strings, walk through them and then externalize them in bulk.

You’ll also want to test your work. Lingoport’s Resource Manager will automatically generate a pseudo-locale that will help your team functionally test how the software will behave in another language, without the testers needing to understand that target language. Pad characters are added around the original English strings with expansion automatically set based on typical U/I requirements in the target languages. Alternatively, the expansion can be configured manually. This way, testers can immediately see any missed strings or U/I elements that won’t properly expand for likely longer words and changes in fonts in other languages (i.e., German, Chinese).

Pseudo localized page for a family tree application:

Pseudo-localization

I18n Phase 2.5: Workflow

With some software, workflow and processes are different depending on market requirements. This takes market research and coordination with in-country representation. For instance, tax management, or medical administrative software is likely to have different requirements and steps in most markets.

I18n Phase 3: Bidi Support

i18n Phases

If your product is being sold in places using bi-directional languages such as Hebrew or Arabic, you’ll need to enable and test your pages to support U/I mirroring and the bi-directional nature of text that goes right to left, but with left to right elements within. Unicode support is a prerequisite.

Ongoing i18n and L10n

Fight Mojibake!Now that you’ve internationalized and localized your software, your work isn’t over. Your teams will be steadily releasing new features and functionality. I18n surprises can arise down the line that cost time and iterations to fix. It’s not hard for a developer to make a mistake. Just as your teams may continuously measure for coding quality issues and security, i18n quality now becomes another metric.

Localization for every sprint, branch and repository makes for tedious and error prone work that slows agile progress. That process can be automated, taking your developers out of the resource file update nanny business.

Lingoport Suite’s Globalyzer continuously supports i18n from the developer IDE to source repositories. Lingoport’s Resource Manager automates resource file updates from source to translation and back again, with quality checks in each direction. QA is supported as well.

Lingoport Dashboard lets teams see and manage i18n & L10n status and process, supporting i18n issue drill downs to associated source code, issue assignment and completion. Similarly, Localization resource file issues can be itemized and examined.

We’ve seen teams go from 5-week localization update cycles to under 3-days over hundreds of repositories. Our services teams have internationalized many well known applications ranging from small to millions of lines of code, and you would be surprised to see the efficiency gains that are achievable in the development process.

We hope that you find this primer useful as you look to address i18n and L10n of your own software products. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out and a Lingoport team member will be happy to talk through the issues with you.

Other resources:


The State of Continuous i18n & L10n Survey Results

Lingoport to Lead Session on i18n for Startups at 2017 Unicode Conference

I will be taking the stage this week at the Unicode Conference in Santa Clara with Claudia Galvan, Technical Advisor at Early Stage Innovation, to collaboratively lead the session “Practical Approach to Internationalization for Startups.”

The Unicode Consortium is a non-profit corporation “devoted to developing, maintaining, and promoting software internationalization standards and data.” Unicode is the standard by which text is represented in modern software products, and the significance of its adoption in global software development cannot be overstated.

Translating Years of Internationalization Experience

Galvan and I bring extensive internationalization experience to the session. Galvan has led product development at Oracle, Adobe, and Microsoft, with products that have reached billions of people around the world. More recently she has focused on helping startups in Silicon Valley launch products internationally.

I founded Lingoport, the leading software internationalization company in the market, with billions of lines of code scanned, and with the leading i18n and L10n process management solution (Lingoport Resource Manager) saving clients thousands of hours each year.

Making the Business Case

All startups are not created equal in terms of funding, strategy, maturity, and stage of development. The level of cultural understanding of globalization may differ. In addition, there are differences among startups with regards to balancing the creation of technical debt in pursuit of immediate goals at the risk of introducing costs down the road.

Regardless of the startup, it’s critical that the business case is well though-out and understood. Galvan and I will be providing examples of early stage firms that baked globalization into planning once past the prototype MVP stage, as well as those who were forced to address it for a sale.

Strategy Development & Best Practices

In this talk, we will review global strategy development, addressing technical debt, defining international requirements, and i18n and l10n best practices to aid pivoting successfully an early stage startup into a global player. We’ll cover the common challenges that startups face when thinking globally, including money, time, team, and focus, not to mention the handling of diverse programming languages, internationalization and localization knowledge, and scalability. We’ll look at the requirements for successful i18n and L10n, and discuss strategies for companies to consider.

Takeaways

Key takeaways of our session will include:

  • Moving from tactical to strategic product and development planning
  • Addressing technical debt
  • Developing requirements for MVP through common user scenarios
  • Continuous systems and practices for supporting ongoing i18n and L10n

For more information on the Unicode Conference, visit the event website here.

– Adam Asnes, President, Lingoport, Inc.

Continuous Globalization Makes You Fast and Agile

The localization industry has been late to the party regarding continuous integration (CI) of its services with software development. Continuous Globalization is finally getting the attention it deserves now, and that’s a good thing not only for the software industry but also for end users around the world. Here’s what continuous integration, and more specifically continuous internationalization (i18n) and localization (L10n) are, and what it can mean for your software development process.

The Basics of Continuous Globalization

For the uninitiated, Wikipedia defines software continuous integration, or CI,  as the practice of merging all developer working copies to a shared source repository several times a day. Multiple builds and automated tests and quality profiles are run against the code to identify bugs and other issues quickly. The sooner you find those issues, the less costly in time, effort, and money they are to fix. CI is fundamentally supportive of agile development principles. Automated quality profiles can include coding quality measurements, security, and more.

Lingoport has been working with some of the largest, well known global technology brands with its continuous internationalization suite of software, Lingoport Suite, including internationalization support for developers, QA support, and localization streamlining. These products work seamlessly with agile-friendly localization providers, providing software companies with systems and services to back up their fast moving product development efforts.

Beware the Invisible Costs

Happily, we don’t usually have to extol the benefits of CI to development teams. I’ll also note that internationalization (i18n) and localization (L10n) requirements are far more openly received than years ago.

That said, managers will comparison shop to lower localization costs per word but can inexplicably regard engineering costs involved in chasing i18n bugs, accounting for localization file updates, and iterative testing as invisible. That typical process involves manual, error-risk prone work even if there are scripts involved. If anything goes wrong with file formatting or myriad other nits, the time to trace it back and fix it eclipses a few penny savings here and there, and can be downright costly in financial terms and damaging from a brand perspective when viewed holistically.

For example, if you consider a SaaS application, perhaps with 5 to 15+ simultaneous sprints running at any given time and with three to five developers per sprint team, there is a lot of room for i18n issues to arise. The localization for any particular sprint or release might be quite small. For example: a few words added in one menu, a new error message, and some new functionality that add up to five to 10 new files with an average of 34 words needing localization per file. The minute someone has to manually handle any of that, you’re losing money and momentum. It costs far less in money and time if i18n issues are found right during day-to-day development, and the localization flow from repository to translator and back to the repository is managed automatically, including validation checks.

Dealing with Short, Fast Development Cycles

If your teams are agile (most teams are at least using some form of agile methodology now), it is particularly challenging to include both internationalization and localization processes within a two to three week or shorter cycle. However, we’ve seen clients using systems go from 5 week localization turnarounds, to three days. Consider that if your i18n and L10n are not integrated and automated within your sprints, you are defacto pushing them into the backlog. As your developers move on to successive sprints, if there is a problem with i18n and L10n that needs development and QA attention, they have to stop what they are doing, figure out what the problems are, where they are located, and fix them, and then QA must again verify that fix. That costs time, money, and momentum. It also likely means that your globalized users have to wait for new releases.

Keep in mind that many software development projects are moving to micro services architectures, which break repositories into many little components that get mixed and matched based on product configurations. This makes the business case for continuous i18n and L10n even more pronounced.

Human Factor Issues

Let me give you examples of human factor problems that cause quality, development/QA costs and localization delay issues:

A very common developer practice is to concatenate a string or message to the user. The message builds based on elements such as variables, plurals, and conditions that determine what the software needs to convey. This is how developers are taught to write code. It’s very efficient if there’s only one language involved. Even if that concatenated string is properly externalized, the word order is likely to be completely different in another language, making the translated version at best quaint, and at worst nonsensical. Since the translator doesn’t see the whole string together, they can’t produce a quality translation. However, if concatenations are found right in that day’s work for the developer, correction is quick and painless. Wait until testing, and now we have a multi-step process.

Another example is a developer not using a proper class or method that can support locale, or not passing locale to a class. Perhaps they are using a calendar class, such as SimpleDateFormat (Java). This will render a US formatted date just fine and will pass unit tests, but it’s not going to go well on a system with a different locale date formatting preference.

If you catch these sorts of issues as the developer is writing or committing their day’s work, it’s minutes to fix them. Find them later, and likely QA has gotten involved, the developer has to track down the issue (often not obvious to locate in the code), verify it’s fixed and then update a bug report. It’s no wonder these issues slip in favor of a release date.

Automation, Efficiency, and Speed

For QA, a pseudo-locale is created automatically which adds pad characters around strings so that the tester can see the U/I in English. The pad characters prove that the interface can expand to support likely longer translated dialogs and more complex character sets. Again, nobody has to remember to run a script at some point in time. The updates are automatic and continuous. When the interface is changed by the developer, the pseudo-locale update is automatically updated. This gives QA departments immediate functional U/I test cases for every new feature that confirms to worldwide requirements.

For localization, the changed U/I resource files are automatically detected. Those files are then automatically vetted for quality checks (i.e., no duplicate string IDs, proper file formatting, and more) and sent out for translation or pushed into a Translation Management System (TMS). The localization vendor, which must understand and even thrive in agile localization, then delivers the translations, which are updated leveraging a TMS, Localization Vendor Portal or other translation systems, and our Resource Manager process verifies the file formatting again and takes care of updating the source repository.

Nobody has to track down all the resource files, measure for changes, run a script, verify the file formatting, and figure out issues like duplicate string IDs or silly things like a missing curly bracket in the file format. When the translation comes back, there is no need to manually check the files again, track the fact that some translations came back before others, find a missing translation, or some broken file parameter or encoding. That’s all done. If there’s an issue, it’s clearly described and the fix is fast. If as fallible humans we were to miss any of that, it’s often not detected till much later and even so, it can be hard to unravel. Because there is no human processing delay, linguistic testing can begin faster and within context of the application.

Integrating i18n and L10n has another human factor effect that changes the cultural thinking of the company. When measurement and updating is quick, visible, and relatively painless, you change the way that developers think about globalization requirements. You’ll find teams learn to automatically think about the global implications of their development efforts and the needs of new customers, and factor that into their decisions upfront. As one executive described it, the teams moved from being like a US based company that is looking to do international business, to a global mindset, looking to write software for the world. That makes for global product leadership, rather than a simple checkmark for minimal product requirements.

Strengthening Your Competitive Edge in Global Markets

Remember, there are competitors whose primary model is to copy what is successful in some markets, but use a better localized product to outcompete dominant industry players in new markets. Internationalization and localization are now not just about reaching new customers, they are also about defending customers and capitalizing on new opportunities going forward. What some people think is good enough, is not good enough. It’s best to give your global customers a continuous, excellent, up-to-date experience, or someone else will do that for you.

Additional Continuous Globalization Resources