Understanding Context Implications in Software Localization

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Understanding the importance of context in software localization is crucial for achieving accurate translations. A lack of context can create errors and lead to user confusion by altering the intended meaning.

For many marketers, “Content is King” is a guiding principle; however, for localization and translation experts, the mantra shifts to “Context is King.”

5 reasons why context is important

Accuracy and relevance

Context provides crucial information that affects the choice of words and phrases, ensuring translations are not only accurate but also relevant to the specific usage within the application. This is particularly important in complex applications where the same word could have different meanings based on its context.

Here is a quick example of how your choice of words may change depending on the context. Let‚Äôs take the verb ‚ÄúSET‚ÄĚ:

Setting a meeting = Scheduling
Setting up an account = Creating 
Setting preferences = Customizing 
Setting goals = Defining 
Setting a theme = Choosing
Setting a budget = Establishing 

User experience 

To succeed in global markets, software must feel native to its users. Translations with context help achieve this by ensuring that all localized content resonates with cultural nuances and user expectations in certain markets.

why localisation is important?

Efficiency and Productivity 

Providing translators or reviewers with access to the context in which the text appears not only increases efficiency but also the speed of translations. This reduces the need for back-and-forth clarifications and revisions, speeding up the entire localization process.

Context is everything when it comes to localizing software. Providing context to a linguist significantly increases the chances of getting an accurate translation the first time around. Screenshots are a great way to communicate context, as they allow the translator to see the string ‘in action’.

Luz Pineda
Sr. Technical Project Manager at Motorola Solutions Company

Quality Assurance

Context also helps in maintaining consistency across the software’s user interface, documentation, and marketing materials. It allows for LQA (Linguistic Quality Assurance) to be more effectively integrated into the localization workflow, catching and correcting potential errors or inconsistencies before they reach the end-user.

Reducing Localization Costs

Lastly, improving accuracy and efficiency, and reducing the speed of translation saves money that would otherwise be lost on rework, fixing errors, and product release delays.

Here is an example of how the cost of  i18n bugs fixing increases on a later stage.

Finally, increased accuracy and efficiency, and reduced translation speed, save money that would otherwise be lost on rework, bug fixes, and product release delays.

Here's an example of how the cost of fixing i18n errors increases at a later stage.

Providing context for software localization

‚Äč‚ÄčWhile the benefits are clear, when you are working with a software product and dealing with translating code strings, you might find such a seemingly easy task as providing context for translation very challenging. And here is why:

Access and Security Concerns

It’s not only that developers are very protective of their code, but granting translators access to code repositories poses security risks. As a localization manager, you need to find a way to provide the context without code access.

Resistance from Developers

Developers may be resistant to integrating new tools or processes that interact with their codebase, especially if they perceive it as intrusive or likely to disrupt their workflow. Another challenge you will face is convincing them to adopt a tool you find. 

You may also encounter situations where developers are not collaborative, requiring you to find workarounds that do not require direct developer involvement or significant changes to their workflow.

Integration with existing workflows

Even if you find a solution that fits developers, you need to bear in mind that any new solution must integrate seamlessly with existing workflows, including development, localization, and QA processes, and it should not require significant changes or additional workload from the development team.

One solution that meets all these requirements is a Localyzer with InContext feature. 

How does Localyzer solve access and security concerns? 

Localyzer retrieves your UI strings directly from the software repositories, sends them to your translation system (TMS, Vanfor, or MT), and brings them back to the repositories right where they were taken, all with a visual context provided to the translator. There is no need to give the translator access to the code.

How does Localyzer deal with developers’ resistance? 

Localyzer and its InContext features do not require DevOps changes. We create our products with the main goal of taking the localization burden off developers and making communication between them and localization professionals smooth.

With Localyzer and InContext, developers are relieved of the burden of manually capturing screenshots or annotating strings with comments. These elements are automatically gathered and linked with the corresponding files and strings during the routine process of conducting a unit test before submission. This integration seamlessly blends into their existing workflow.

How does Localyzer integrate with existing workflows? 

Easily! Localyzer (just like other Lingoport products) is not a TMS; it serves as an add-on and can be integrated into any workflow you already have, be that a Translation Management System, Translation provider, or MT engine. Lingoport has strong partnerships with the biggest players on the market such as RWS, XTM, Memoq, so the integration process will be supported from all sides.

And on top of that, Localyzer is integrated with Figma, which allows you to preview and adapt your multilingual designs without leaving Figma interface. So, not only your translators but also designers can work in perfect synchronization. 

‚ÄúLocalyzer is truly a game-changer for us‚ÄĚ – Measurabl

I cannot express enough how much Localyzer has streamlined our localization process. Translations have become so easy and agile – it’s truly a game-changer for us. As we develop new features, we’re able to see what our application will look like in every language, ensuring that we meet the needs of all our users globally

‚ě°ÔłŹ Want to learn more about Localyzer? Request a personalized demo



Picture of Kate Vostokova
Kate Vostokova
Kate is a seasoned B2B content marketing manager with a five-year journey in the localization industry. She is passionate about crafting various types of content to educate people about internationalization (i18n), localization, and the latest technological advances, including Large Language Models (LLMs).
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