Software localization

Service scope

We offer the following services for software localization projects:

  • Engineering
  • Software translation
  • Mobile application translation
  • Testing
  • Screenshooting
  • Language work

The difference

Software translation has several special characteristics compared to regular translation. These require special tools, processes and experience.

Terminology and style guide

Translation is typically one of the last phases in the software delivery process. The intention of the software companies is to keep the time-to-market timeframe as short as possible. Software translation therefore almost always requires the teamwork of several translators. A well-defined glossary and style guide at the start of translation is a must to avoid inconsistencies and to achieve good quality.

User Interface translation

There are various technical and linguistic aspects translators have to keep in mind during the translation of UI elements.

Variables. First of all, variables have to be identified by the translators. This sounds easy, but there are often so-called ‘speaking’ variables, which can be easily mistaken to be translatable text (e.g. ‘DATE’). Then translators have to find out or guess what will appear instead of the variable (a number? a date? some text?) and have to position it correctly within the string.

Hotkeys. Translators must identify and set hotkeys correctly.

String length. Translators must pay attention to the maximum length limit of strings.

UI element type. Messages, menus, buttons, checkboxes, radio buttons, fields… All of these UI element types have special characteristics which must be taken into account during translation. ‘Open’ can have different meanings as a menu element or as a field status text.

Context. A particular string can have totally different meanings depending on where it appears on the screen. Even the operating system or, for mobile applications, the phone type has an influence on the translation.

Abbreviations. Programs are often full of one or two-letter abbreviations, which are sometimes very hard to translate.

Software translation tools used by MorphoLogic localisation support translators in these tasks and provide various technical and linguistic QA checking functions.

Translation sequence

The right sequence plays an important role in software translation processes. Parallel translation of the user interface and the documentation should, in most cases, be avoided, otherwise referrals to the UI in the documentation cannot be kept consistent. On the other hand, as documentation and help provide much more contextual information, misinterpreted UI translations can be identified and corrected. UI translation should therefore be not closed before the whole project ends.

Online help, end-user documentation and training material

During the translation of such materials, it is essential that the translator care to search for the exact translation of referenced user interface elements.


To see our language portfolio, check out the Languages page.