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Localization (also known as "l10n") is the adaptation of a product, software, application or document content so that it meets the requirements of the specific target market or locale. [1] The localization process revolves around translation of the content. However, it can also include other elements such as:

  • Modifying graphics to target markets
  • Redesigning content to suit the market audience's tastes
  • Changing the layout for proper text display
  • Converting phone numbers, currencies, hours, dates to local formats
  • Following legal requirements and regulations [2]

The ultimate goal of localization is for the look and feel of the product to be natural in the target market. The audience should feel a connection to the product and feel as though it was made for them. Creating a successful user experience drives your marketing strategy and business goals by connecting with consumers on a deeper level. [3]

Localization can also be referred to as "l10n" where the number "10" is the number of letters between the l and n.

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The history of localization goes back to the 1980s. Desktop computers were not just for the engineer anymore and they began to make an appearance in homes and offices. These every day users therefore needed software that would help them do their work efficiently and in a way that met the local language, standards and habits. [4]

Software companies also began to look for an international audience. They had successfully achieved target market goals and looked to expand. Everyday users in other countries therefore would need the software to be adapted in a way where they could work efficiently. [5] With localizing software or content, words were not the only thing being translated. Dates had to be formatted, layout had to adapted to display text properly and legal requirements had to be met among other elements.

In the early 1980s most software vendors started in-house translation departments or outsourced translation work to freelance translators or in-country product distributors. The increasing size and complexity of localization projects soon forced companies to an outsourcing model. In the mid 1980s, the first multi-language vendors (MLVs) were formed. New companies such as INK (now Lionbridge) or IDOC (now Bowne Global Solutions) specialized in the management and translation of technical documentation and software. Existing companies with other core competencies, such as Berlitz, started translation divisions that could handle multilingual translation and localization projects. [6]:5

Development of Unicode in 1987 affected the localization industry to a large extent. Another important change was the introduction of a "single world-wide binary", i.e. development of one version of a program that supports all languages. This single binary was often combined with "resource-only DLL files", where all user interface text elements, such as dialog box options, menus and error messages, were centralized. All program code was separated from the resources which meant that applications could be run in another language by replacing the resource-only DLL with a localized version.[6]:9

  Educational level: this is a research resource.

Key Concepts and TermsEdit


Translation is the process of taking one word or text in the source language and changing it to the equivalent target language.


Localization is the linguistic and cultural adaptation of digital content to the requirements and the locale of a foreign market; it includes the provision of services and technologies for the management of multilingualism across the digital global information flow. Thus, localization activities include translation and a wide range of additional activities.[7] True localization considers language, culture, customs and the characteristics of the target locale. It frequently involves changes to the software’s writing system and may change keyboard use and fonts as well as date, time and monetary formats. The common abbreviation for localization is l10n where the 10 refers to the ten letters between the l and the n.[8]


Designing software code and resources so that resources can be localized with no changes in the source code.


The process of developing a program core whose features and code design are not solely based on a single language or locale. Instead, their design is developed for the input, display, and output of a defined set of Unicode-supported language scripts and data related to specific locales. [9]


Designing software for the input, display, and output of a defined set of Unicode supported language scripts and data relating to specific locales and cultures. The common abbreviation for globalization is g11n where the 11 refers to the eleven letters between the g and the n.


The state of a product when it is properly globalized and is easy to customize and localize.

Global ReadinessEdit

The process to make sure the content is optimized to globally appropriate. It has to consider the readers' cultures, beliefs, languages, locations, etc. In order to let the readers get the original intended meaning without distortion or being offended.


Designing software that is componentized and extensible to allow for replacement, addition and/or subtraction of features necessary for a given market.


A language and geographic region that also includes common language and cultural information. Thus French-France (fr-fr), French-Canada (fr-ca), French-Belgium (fr-be) are different locales. Locale also refers to the features of a user’s computing environment that are dependent on geographic location, language and cultural information. A locale specifically determines conventions such as sort order rules; date, time and currency formats; keyboard layout; and other cultural conventions.


Transcreation is the process of translating the meaning of a product in the source language to the target language. While not obvious at first, it is different from translation. A technical document may needed to be translated in a specific way where the techniques, definitions and processes to do not get lost in translation. Transcreation on the other hand can be used by marketing teams that want to take a logo and translate its essence to to the target language. They translate the logo and recreate it to meet the target market's needs.

Before LocalizationEdit

Getting a product ready for international markets


Internationalization often abbreviated as I18n, is the process of designing and developing a software application in a way that it can be adapted to different languages and regions without changing the source code. It is also called translation or localization enablement. During the Internationalization process there are many differences to be taken into account that go way beyond the mere translation of words and phrases. For example different national conventions and standard locale data.

A collection of such differences is provided by the Unicode Common Locale Data Repository.

The internationalization process is to enable easy localization for the target locale.

Internationalization typically entails:

  • Designing and developing in a way that removes barriers to localization or international deployment. This includes such things as enabling the use of Unicode, or ensuring the proper handling of legacy character encodings where appropriate, taking care over the concatenation of strings, avoiding dependance in code of user-interface string values, etc.
  • Providing support for features that may not be used until localization occurs. For example, adding markup in your DTD to support bidirectional text, or for identifying language. Or adding to CSS support for vertical text or other non-Latin typographic features.
  • Enabling code to support local, regional, language, or culturally related preferences. Typically this involves incorporating predefined localization data and features derived from existing libraries or user preferences. Examples include date and time formats, local calendars, number formats and numeral systems, sorting and presentation of lists, handling of personal names and forms of address, etc.
  • Separating localizable elements from source code or content, such that localized alternatives can be loaded or selected based on the user's international preferences as needed.[10]

Internationalization links and resourcesEdit


Localizability is an intermediate process for verifying that a globalized application is ready for localization.[11]. Localizability testing verifies that the user interface of the program being tested can be easily adapted into any local market (locale) without modifying source code. This important process helps ensure the functionality of the application by discovering and fixing errors in source code.

Cultural considerationsEdit

  • Avoiding offending users

Culture has a huge impact on the way we do and say things, on what we read and listen and on the way we think. This is why the impact of culture on website localization is enormous. Companies have invested a lot of money to make sure that they are not offending and are meeting the cultural appropriateness steps to satisfy their audience.

  • Use of images and symbols

Images and symbols are the first thing on a website that people pay attention at. Just because they are not in a written language, it doesn't mean they are without meaning. They carry many subtle cultural messages within them and can tell a lot of information about a service or product. For this reason, it is very important to be aware that they could have negative connotations that will affect the consumers. For example, a travel website showing women in bikinis, partying and been informal will not be considered appropriate and will not be successful in Muslim countries. In some circumstances it could even lead to legal restrictions and penalties. It is usually recommended to avoid the use of hand symbols, gestures and body parts, religious symbols that are not globally recognized, animal symbols, graphical elements with text or a single letter. They can typically be replaced by abstract illustrations, geometric shapes, globally recognized symbols or other standardized images.

  • Historical background of a locale and Maps

The treatment of maps in localization can present problems for countries or regions with disputed borders or territories. Current examples of disputed areas include Kashmir (India and Pakistan), the West Bank (Israel and Palestine), Taiwan (the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan)), and Crimea (Russia and Ukraine). For localization, decisions have to be made about how to portray the disputed territories. This problem is especially relevant when localizing map applications and GIS software. One solution is to mark such territories as "disputed" on maps. But this is not always possible if local regulations stipulate how the maps should be displayed. In some cases there can also be conflicting geographic names, e.g. when the countries or entities that lay claim to disputed regions have different official languages and/or writing systems.

Issues with maps can also arise in marketing, advertising, and other creative domains. For example, in January 2016 a Coca Cola campaign on the Russian social media site vKontakte posted an Orthodox Christmas greeting using a map of Russia without Crimea. Groups of Russians criticized the omission of Crimea in the advertisement, and Coca Cola responded by publishing a new advertisement with a map of Russia that included Crimea. But Coca Cola's second attempt drew criticism from groups of Ukrainians, who protested the company's decision indicated Crimea as part of Russia and not Ukraine.[12]

India claims the entire erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir based on an instrument of accession signed in 1947. Pakistan claims Jammu and Kashmir based on its majority Muslim population, whereas China claims the Shaksam Valley and Aksai Chin.

  • Flags

Problems may also arise from the use of flags. A clear example of how a little mistake can affect an entire population is the event that took place during the Olympic Games in Rio 2016. On the first day of the games, the incorrect Chinese flag was used during the medal ceremony of the women's volleyball. The errors in the flag were immediately pointed out and new correct flags were used for the remaining medal ceremonies in which China was involved. Unfortunately, the mistake reappeared at the end of the games with the display of the wrong flag once again. The proper Chinese flag features one big star surrounded with four smaller stars against a red background. The larger yellow star represents the Communist Party of China, and the four smaller stars symbolize the solidarity of Chinese people of all social classes and ethnic groups under the leadership of the CPC. In the correct version the four smaller stars all point towards the big star. But in the incorrect one that appeared at Rio 2016 the four smaller stars were parallel to each other. [13]

When used to represent languages, flags related issues can be seen, for example, in a menu option for changing a website or application's display language. Some examples to illustrate this point:

  • Some countries have more than one widely spoken language. In Belgium, French and Dutch are spoken by large portions of the population, and German is a third official language. In India, more than 30 languages are each spoken by over 1 million people[14].
  • There are many languages that are commonly spoken in more than one country. For example, the Portuguese language could in theory be represented by the flags of Portugal, Brazil, or a number of other Lusophone countries such as Cape Verde or East Timor.
  • Some countries have very similar flags. The national flags of Romania and Chad are almost identical, whereas the official language of Romania is Romanian, and Chad's official languages are Arabic and French.

In each of these cases, using a single national flag to represent a language could be at best ambiguous, and at worst contentious or offensive.

  • Religion

Having a good understanding of what is and is not acceptable is crucial especially for countries where religion is present in law.

Countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Pakistan operate mostly or entirely under Sharia law (the moral code and religious law for the Islamic faith). The usage of scantily-clad women in bikinis, beer drinking and gambling in marketing materials is forbidden in countries under Sharia law and food must not be advertised during Ramadan (a time of fasting). Localization strategy in these countries have to take their religious law into considerations.

Another example of localization without religious consideration is the case with a Microsoft Xbox game. In 2003, Kakuto Chojin: Back Alley Brutal, developed by Dream Publishing and published by Microsoft Game Studios in 2002, was pulled of shelves just a few months after it was released after receiving an extremely vocal and negative reaction due to religious content deemed offensive. The Xbox Game featured a level with a background sound effect featuring a passage from the Quran being repeated over and over. Since the majority of Muslims believe the Qur’an should be handled with the utmost respect as it is the literal word of God, there was considerable outrage among many groups for the perceived lack of deference afforded to the Qur’an in the Xbox game. To date there has not been any evidence that Kakuto Chojin was re-released.

  • Animals

Animals can have different meanings between cultures and people from different cultures could have positive or negative feelings towards the same animal.

For example, when Apple launched their iPhone X with the new Animoji function, there is an introduction sentence in their US webpage "Reveal your inner panda, pig, or robot.[15]" The 3 animals are localized in China as panda, rabbit, robot[16]; As panda, robot, unicorn in Portugal[17]; and panda, monkey, robot in Egypt[18].

  • Colors

Colors mean different things to different people. They can have different connotations based on age, gender or even on the cultural symbolism they can acquire. For instance, younger consumers and women have a tendency towards bright and warm colors, whereas older consumers and men usually prefer darker and cooler colors. This is just a basic example to lead us towards the importance of establishing our target audience. Colors are also loaded with cultural meanings and sensitive to many different interpretations that need to be taken in consideration in website localization. For example, in Japan and China white is commonly associated with mourning and death while in Western cultures is usually considered pure and holy. In Europe and Western countries red is associated with danger, death and passion, while in China is good luck and happiness. In Africa certain colors represent different tribes. This doesn't mean that other cultures are not aware of the different meanings of colors or how are they used. However, it is important to know what they are representing in the product and what message that color choice is attempting to communicate.

Design for Language SwitchingEdit


  • Language fallback

Language fallback is a concept by which if a product user in a specified region does not have their settings to the locale that has been chosen for localization in that region, the product will automatically revert to, or fallback, to a default language. In many cases, this may be English for a global audience, but that is not necessarily the case. For example, countries and regions which have multiple official languages and/or regional languages may have the fallback language as the most widely spoken language. As a case in point, Spain could have up to 3-5 locale options for users depending on how specified a product's user base would be in that country. Using this example, if the product were being used in Catalunya, the likely default setting would be Catalan (Català), but a likely fallback would be Spanish.

Language fallback can also apply to situations where products are not completely localized to a specified market. In these situations, a product would be partially localized and the specified language may not support all features. Therefore, for the unsupported features, a default language fallback will either need to be selected by the user or will be automatically chosen by the products settings. To illustrate this point, imagine that a product has features ABCD and the default product language is English. However, the user would like to use the product in Swedish, but Swedish is only currently supported for features ABC. The likely outcome to this situation would be that the user would be able to use features ABC that have been localized into Swedish and if they choose to use feature D, then the product will revert to the English version.

To further illustrate, one advantage and disadvantage to language fallback settings. If properly chosen, language fallback can help to keep the user engaged in the product by continuing to use the product's features even though it may not be in their preferred language. On the contrary, this is only relevant if the user has a high competency and comprehension of the fallback language chosen. If not, the outcome may lead to less customer satisfaction.

Since user satisfaction is a primary concern, a lot of attention is often paid to chasing the right language fallback to get the best possible engagement. Some popular blog site's such as even offer plugins which can help to ensure that a proper fallback language is chosen. Other methods include adding rules to specify the process of falling back to other related dialects where a high level of mutual intelligibility would be apparent. American English and British English would be one common situation. Brazilian Portuguese to Continental Portuguese could also be an obvious transition.

Language Switching in SoftwareEdit

Software developers use different solutions for detecting and displaying different languages. Common methods include detecting the OS region setting or the default language, or simply allowing the user to choose what language they wish to install. Additionally, software may be localized to different languages but will require the user to install additional language files in order to enable them. Language switching interface buttons, usually seen on websites, are not common in software. Most solutions allow the user to change the display language of the software through a settings or preferences menu and may require a restart of the program before the new language can display.

For Windows OS, every locale, such as English (United States), corresponds to a language identifier in the registry[19]. Every supported language of the operating system has a unique identifier. Identifiers for the default system locale and the user-defined locale exist for use, as well. While programming their software for Windows, developers may use the Multilingual User Interface (MUI)[20] which enables support for localization of user interfaces and allows the application to retrieve these language identifiers.

Some older software is not coded with Unicode support. If the user tries to run this software with a mismatched locale setting, the text displayed within the program may become unreadable. This happens because Windows loads the code page for the user's locale and matches text bytes within the software to corresponding characters in the code page; if the proper character does not have an equivalent in the code page, it will not display properly or it will display a corresponding character in the current locale's code page but not a character that is used in a separate locale's code page. In order to solve this, the user must change their locale in the "Language for non-Unicode programs"[21] setting within Control Panel and restart their system to load the correct code page.

Language Switching on WebsitesEdit

The are many things to consider when designing a language switcher for a website, such as:

  • Quantity of available languages.

The quantity of available languages will influence on the style of the language switcher to be chosen. It's always good to have an UI that demands the less clicks as possible.

  • Fallback language, in case no default language is found.

It’s very important to programmatically set the current language of the webpage, even when is not possible to determine the user's language. The reason for that is so braille devices or screen readers can identify the language that should be used at the start point.

  • Graphic representation of the available languages.

The use of flags to represent a language might not be good depending on the languages available and the possibility of the addition of new languages.

  • Location of the language switcher on the page.

The language switcher has to be in a visible area, so that if any language selection error occur and the user cannot read the current language, he/she can still find the switcher and change the language. The best approach is to follow the standard area where the language switcher is present in most of the international websites, which is on the top right. However, if your UI is good enough, you might be able to have the language switcher in a different place and still succeed.

  • Accessibility

The language switcher should use html tags that are made for listing options, so the screen reader is able to present the languages available to the user. Make use of ARIA attributes whenever necessary to make it easier for the user to find the language switcher.

Localization StrategyEdit

Picking marketsEdit

Companies and organizations wanting to branch out to other regions in the world and localize their products should consider the following things:[22][22][22][22][22][22][22][21][21][21][21][19][19][19][19][16][16][16][15][11][7][7][7][7]

  • Total Online Population (TOP)
  • Share of TOP
  • World Online Wallet (WOW)
  • Share of WOW

One example of a market ready to break deeper into is the language-rich population of India.  Hindi and English are co-official languages of India.  Hindi, spoken more in the northern part of the country, has speakers totaling about 20% of the population.  In the southern part of the country, people who don’t speak Hindi will instead communicate in English or their local language.  English, at over 125 million speakers, is generally the language of India’s elite and since colonial times has been the language of government, education, technology, media, and science.  However, the Indian Constitution guarantees all Indian citizens the right to express themselves to any government agency in their own tongue, and individual states have the right to adopt any regional language as a language of state government and education. No one single language is spoken across the subcontinent, or even within one state. 

India is home to more than one billion people and over 1,500 mother languages and, additionally, several hundred dialects.  In 2001, census data showed that 29 of these languages are spoken by over one million citizens each, and 60 of the total languages are spoken by over 100,000 citizens each.  The Indian government only uses 23 of these languages officially in settings such as government, hospitals, and business. 

This tells us that there are millions of Indian citizens, who speak neither English, Hindi or the other 21 official languages, whom multinational business have not been able to reach. 

People all over the world are hungry to have access to the internet and instant communication in the language they feel most secure in.  With the reach of technology, such as smart phones, into more rural areas, for example, there is a much higher potential to close the gap between international companies and millions of new potential clients.  Samsung and a handful of other companies have already begun making mobile devices that support 22 regional Indian languages.  Localizing websites, mobile devices, and apps into more Indian languages will open the door to generating more profit in India’s untapped markets.  

Legal considerationsEdit

European Union – medical device informationEdit

The medical device information on the product label and instructions for use must be available in the national language(s) of the final user. Refer to European Union Council Directive 93/42/EEC, Article 4(4).

French language laws (Canada, France)Edit

The Charter of the French Language, also known as Bill 101, is a 1977 law in the province of Quebec in Canada that defines French as the only official language of Quebec and frames fundamental language rights of all Quebecois. The provincial government body responsible for enforcing the Charter is the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF). The law stipulates that product labels, their instructions, manuals and warranty certificates as well as public signs, posters and commercial advertising must be in French. If a sign is bilingual or if separate signs are used for different languages, the French text must be predominant (e.g. the French text is twice as big as the other language and/or there are twice as many signs in French). The Charter also regulates the use of the French language in business and commerce. For example, software used by employees must be available in French, unless no French version exists. Similarly, on September 10, 2007, the OQLF and the Entertainment Software Association of Canada announced a new agreement regarding the distribution of video games in the province of Quebec:

  • Since Sept. 10, 2007, the packaging and instructions of any new video game sold in Quebec must be in French.
  • Since Oct. 1st, 2007, any new computer software must be available in French if a French version exists elsewhere in the world.
  • Since April 1st, 2009, any new generation console video game (Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Sony PlayStation 3, Sony PSP and any newer model) must be available in French if a French version exists elsewhere in the world.
  • If the French and English versions are available separately, any retailer wanting to sell or rent the English version must also offer the French version.
  • If no French version exists, the English version may be sold only if the packaging and instructions are in French.

The Toubon law of 1994 is a French law mandating the use of the French language in several areas, among them official government publications, advertisements, commercial contracts, government-financed schools or the work place. Since it stipulates that "any document that contains obligations for the employee or provisions whose knowledge is necessary for the performance of one's work must be written in French", software developed outside of France must have its user interface and instruction manuals translated into French.

Turkish consumer protection lawEdit

Consumer Protection Law No. 6502 regulates sales to consumers over the internet and other digital platforms and defines the rules of advertisement to protect consumers. The Regulation for Distance Contracts also aims to protect consumer rights in e-commerce transactions.[23]

Data LocalizationEdit

Data localization refers to the set of laws enacted by a state or country that requires foreign companies to store citizens’ data within its borders. This means that data of the specific nation’s citizens has to be collected, processed, and stored inside the country, before being transferred internationally, and transferred only after meeting local privacy or data protection laws. Such regulations impact email communication, personal records, and social media services.

Data localization derives from the concept of data sovereignty which requires that records about a nation's citizens or residents follow its personal or financial data processing laws, however, data localization goes a step further and requires that initial collection, processing, and storage of data occur first within the national boundaries of the particular country enacting the law.

For example, Russia, China, Indonesia, and others have enacted economy-wide localization policies that require data to be stored on servers within their respective borders, while other countries, such as Australia, Germany, South Korea, and Venezuela, have enacted industry-specific laws that require certain financial, health and medical information, online publishing, and telecommunications data collected from their citizens to be stored on local servers.[24]

In terms of localizing an internet-based product and/or service, data localization is a key factor to consider when drafting a localization strategy. Localizing into a country with data localization policies will imply larger IT investment and stringent security measures for data related to business operations.

Data Localization Policies Around the World

Currently, there are at least 34 different countries with data localization policies, with China featuring a dozen of them, plus major countries, such as Russia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

To see a list of data localization measures around the world, see the Technology Industry Council’s Snapshot of Data Localization Measures[25]

The aforementioned document captures most of the world’s data-localization policies. The entries with icons show where countries have enacted and implemented data localization policies targeting specific types of data. Other entries cover cases where countries have proposed, but not enacted, data localization policies or provide context for data-related policies, such as in the European Union. The list shows that data localization comes in many forms: while some countries enact blanket bans on data transfers, many are sector specific, and others target specific processes or services. One of the basic problems for companies complying with data localization laws is the difficulty in determining which categories of data need to be locally stored and which can be moved abroad.[26]

Future of Data Localization

For the detractors of data localization, adding restrictions on how and where data is stored or transferred, poses a fundamental threat to the free flow of information across borders and the maintenance of global supply chains. As cross-border trade increasingly moves towards e-commerce and relies on the use of internet technologies such as cloud computing and big data, data localization policies pose a major threat to the economy and businesses’ bottom line. In addition, privacy and security suffer as companies are forced to store data in a way that is not the most efficient or effective and in most cases data security results affected, which is often the officially stated purpose of this type of measure.

The reality is that data localization laws are here to stay. As companies invest in compliance and governments without these laws see the short-term benefits that accrue to the localizing government in the form of increased access to data and a boost to the local economy, more nations may want to get in the localization game.[27]

Localization EconomicsEdit

Terms and ConceptsEdit

  • Localization ROI

Localization ROI, or return on investment refers to the calculation of the benefits or outcome gained as a result of spending money or allocating resources, For instance, it can mean the money earned back in sales resulting from the money a company has invested in a localization program. The return can also refer to increased brand awareness, expanded market share, growth in foreign visitor traffic, etc. Corporate executives often use ROI as a key indicator of global value for their firm and localization managers would often use ROI to demonstrate the business value of localization. [28].

The dynamics of market development plays an important role in localization ROI. As a company progresses from market entry to market expansion and maturity, the localization ROI is likely to pick up. The more mature a product in one country, the higher return on localization investment is expected to be. For instance, if a product has been released in Japan for six years, and consistently available in updated, localized versions for four years, the ROI for localizing the next Japanese release is likely to increase. One reason is that the by leveraging the Translation Memory (TM) after a first release, the efforts and cost of localization will reduce; another reason is that the sales channel, brand awareness, and installed base have been established in the target market already. Therefore, one could use separate benchmarks for different market stage. [29].

  • e-GDP
  • Economic significance of a language
  • Politically-driven localization
  • Localization based on humanitarian grounds

Localization of a product or services driven by the wish to improve the quality of life of people in a less developed economy rather than to pursue economic benefit. Even simple access to translated information has a positive impact on health and could prevent deaths.[30]


Pioneers of Machine Translation

Franco-Armenian Georges Artsouni conducted some of the first experiments with machine translation. In 1933 he designed a storage mechanism out of paper, with which for any word the equivalent in another language could be found and which thus could be used as a bilingual dictionary. A patent was filed for this device, and apparently in 1937 a prototype was presented.

Russian Petr Smirnov-Troyanskii applied for a patent in 1933. His mechanism used a bilingual dictionary and a method to correlate grammatical rules in different languages. The translation process was divided into three phases: transformation of the source text into a logical form based on the source language; transformation of this logical form into a second logical form based on the target language; and transformation of this second logical form into a text in the target language.

Englishman Andrew Donald Booth (1918–2009) was a crystallographer but researched the mechanization of a bilingual dictionary at Birkbeck College (London), for which he was funded in 1947 by the Rockefeller Foundation. He also helped develop mechanical calculators.

Englishman Richard Hook Richens (1919–1984) was a botanist at Cambridge but conducted research on machine translation. In 1956 he invented the first semantic network for computers, which served a pivot language for machine translation.

American Warren Weaver (1894–1978) was a mathematician and is often referred to as the father of machine translation. He regarded Russian as a code “in some strange symbols” that just needs to be decoded. In 1947 he presented a series of essays on machine translation, a memorandum, entitled simply “Translation,” in which he made four basic assumptions to overcome a simplistic word-by-word approach: 1) the translation must be performed within context, 2) there is a logical component in the language, 3) cryptographic methods are possibly applicable and 4) there may be linguistic universals.

Localization by typeEdit

We usually distinguish between software (SW) and user assistance (UA) localization. These two deliverable types are further defined below. As the creation process and the workflows of both deliverables are becoming more and more connected, we see the boundaries between UA and SW become blurred in many areas. Many localization areas, processes and tools can meanwhile be applied for both UA and SW.



UA localization refers to the translation and adaptation of the content that accompanies a particular program or application. This can include printed materials (in-the-box instructions), but most commonly refers to internet-based user help files, API documentation, etc.[31]. The reasons for localizing UA include meeting legal requirements, reducing customer support requests, and providing a detailed documentation of a program's functionality for advanced users.


Typically, UA localization only begins after the software itself (i.e. the user interface) has been localized. This is to ensure that references to UI elements in the documentation match with the names of those elements in the actual interface. Additionally, it is helpful to include illustrative screenshots in the localized UA (just as you would in the development version), so a localized build should ideally be available so that locale-specific screenshots can be inserted into the localized UA.

Before translation begins, the translator should ideally receive a termbase, style guide, and TM(s) containing legacy translations from past iterations of the project (if applicable)(see 4.7). UA is typically stored in a CMS as files in a markup language like .xml or .dita and organized by locale. Source language documents that have changed since the previous update are gathered together and packaged as a dual-language .xliff (xml localization interface file format) to be handed off to the translator along with the rest of the localization kit (see 4.10). Recyclable content from past .xliff versions and/or .tmx files is also typically leveraged before the kit is handed off.

UA localization processEdit

UA localization is performed in a Translation Environment Tool (also known as a CAT, or Computer Assisted Translation tool) (see 4.12). With these tools, the translator is better able to maintain stylistic and terminological consistency with previous versions of the UA. It is particularly important to make sure that all terms are consistent and up-to-date during the translation process, so the translator may additionally want to use a term extraction tool before starting the actual translation in order to clarify any ambiguities ahead of time. As the translator works through the text, they can leverage "fuzzy matches" (i.e. text segments that partially match previously translated content) in order to ensure consistency and speed up the localization process.


When the translator has finished processing the UA text, they perform QA checks in their CAT tool, approve the segments they translated, and hand back the completed .xliff to the PM or loc engineer. Once the files are checked over, the locale-specific .xml files can then be committed in the CMS and the updated, localized UA can be published.

Localization operations: ModelsEdit


For the In-House model, the localization process is handled within the company by employees (as opposed to an LSP or individual contractors) from start to finish. Advantages include speed of information transfer (no bottlenecks) and better communication between the content writers, developers and translators. Disadvantages include a possible increase in overhead and lack of scalability. [32]


In the outsourcing model the localization processes are outsourced to a third party in their entirety. Small and middle-sized companies might be the ones who have the greatest interest in this model, especially if they have no prior experience in localization and its practices. For them, outsourcing localization to a third party means being able to cut the costs of tools, education, hiring localization experts and translators, licensing and training which otherwise might override the costs of localization itself. The right vendor will be able to ensure better control and quality of the final product because of the availability of resources. A more detailed description of pros and cons of this model can be found at: Pros and cons However, the outsourcing company should assign the role of a subject matter expert (SME) to one of their employees who will be a point of contact for the vendor. [33]

Hybrid in-house/outsourcingEdit

This model supports localization through a combination of in-house resources and third party outsourcing. In this model you can make use of internal resources to perform pre-localization tasks (e.g., term mining/translation to build/update a term database for the third party translator) and to serve as subject matter experts (SMEs) for both the subject matter. While a 100% in-house model has overhead and scalability constraints, this combination model can allow you to scale to support increased scope while retaining a smaller pool of in-house resources for specialized tasks (terminology, style guides, linguistic QA) and to address high priority/short time-line projects.

Community LocalizationEdit

Community Localization is the act to taking job traditionally performed by professional translators and outsourcing it to a preexisting community of partners, end users, and volunteers. This may sometimes be confused with collaborative localization, which is the act of assigning translation to a team of translators using an online translation platform with centralized and shared translation memory to speed up translation by using internet-based translation technology.

If confidentiality is essential, for example in the case of a new product release, community translation is not a good solution. It is not possible and reasonable to expect community members to adhere to a non-disclosure agreement. In this case, professional translation or, if possible, in-house translation is the way to go.

The linguistic quality of community translated content will not equal that of content translated by professionals, although meaning typically will be translated correctly if the community is well-matched with the content. Quality can be increased by using glossaries developed in-house or by professional translators, using peer review and a mechanism to flag totally inappropriate translation, and implementing a separate review phase in the workflow carried out by in-house specialists, professional translators, or a very experienced subset of the community.

There are differences in which languages happens to be successful at doing community translation. Some smaller languages are dying to help you translation, so don’t overlook anyone. Being able to access a lot of these smaller pockets of users quickly can be an effective strategy for some.

An important feature of a successful community localization program is the quality of its moderation team. The best moderators are not those who provided the best translations, but those who voted up the best translation. Moderators’ important job is to actively find “broken windows” in the community to repair—things such as putting out grammar wars, organizing translatathons, glossary term discussions, etc. As a moderator, you have to act as a control and monitoring tool for the health of each community, making sure it has what t needs to be active and productive.

Major Challenges with Community LocalizationEdit
  1. Finding communities—Most examples of community localization involve communities that were already involved with the organization ways other than translation: end users, partners or in-house personnel, or volunteer members. Creating end user or partner communities from scratch requires substantial work and support from experienced consultants. It is also possible to enlist help through an open call to translator marketplaces such as Mechanical Turk, Craig’s List, or oDesk. However, when using such an open call to translation marketplaces, it will be necessary to pay the translators unless the translation is for a charity or other non-profit organization with a perceived substantial social benefit.
  2. Matching the content with the communities—Community members are most often not linguists; instead, they are bilinguals with specific domain knowledge. The selected community needs to have both the capacity and the ability (domain knowledge) to translate the content. For some content, such as sales and marketing materials for a commercial enterprise, it will be very difficult to find communities with the ability to translate the content and the motivation to do so.
  3. Aligning community objectives and organization objectives—Most of the community management effort will go toward motivating the communities. Aligning the goals of the community with those of the organization seeking to use community translation is critical tot eh success of community translation. If there is no alignment, communities will falter or, worse, the effort will be perceived as exploitation by the organization. Community localization is not a means to get free translation for the organization’s content. Attempts by an organization to replace its translation service providers and professional translator with free community translation may have quality problems, and in some cases may fail and be criticized. Often when using semi-professional translators through one of the translation marketplaces, it becomes a trade-off between linguistic quality and cost.
  4. Identifying project management controls—Any project manager involved with community translation will wonder how to control deadlines, confidentiality, and quality. Control over deadlines requires a community translation platform that provides a means to set up deadlines and to report progress on a granular level. If missing a deadline becomes likely, the organization can then switch to professional translators.
Common Misconceptions about Community TranslationEdit
  1. Quality will suffer—In reality, the same pitfalls that apply to working with vendors with translations, also apply to working with community localization. Translations should be done in dialog with the initial creators of the content to ensure its meaning is properly interpreted.
  2. The speed at which translations can be completed are not able to be set—In reality, having a good moderation program and keeping a good enough pace is possible by steering users to content with the most priority.
  3. Community localization is cheaper than hiring professional translator—In reality, successful community localization programs costs are even or larger than contracting with a LSP, because salaries, servers, etc. can result in big monthly fees you have to pay even when you do not have a new language or new features to launch.


In brief, crowdsourcing is when an individual, group, or company publishes the user interface strings of their website or product so that anyone with Internet access can help translate/localize the material. Since 2006, crowdsourcing translation and localization has become extremely popular. Some of the most popular websites and products available today were translated through crowdsourcing, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Minecraft, Khan Academy, and TED. The participants range anywhere from five to 450 thousand.

Crowdsourcing is efficient for several reasons:

  1. Little to no linguistic limitations — With crowdsourcing, the amount of languages for which a product can be translated/localized is only limited by the demographic of the users. This is especially beneficial for a product that is already popular world-wide.
  2. Near-immediate results — Because of the vast amount of people who typically participate in crowdsource translation/localization, results often come back almost instantaneously, depending on the size of the source text and amount of translation proofreading that is required.
  3. Financially efficient — One of the more obvious and perhaps greatest benefits of using crowdsourcing is that the low-cost, low-maintenance nature of building (or implementing) a crowdsourcing platform makes it the cheapest option for a company to translated hundreds or thousands of strings.

Despite all the advantages, there are some challenges that should be considered:

  1. Technological limitations — People who are not internet or technology-savvy, and even those who don't have convenient access to the internet contribute very little to crowdsourcing. Because of this, some important languages or dialects can be left out from the results. Companies also need to consider the differences that time-zones can play in the release translated materials.
  2. Variable Quality — If efforts in coordinating the quality control of submitted translations aren't taken very seriously, then the hobbyist translators who most often participate in crowdsourcing may end up harming the product's quality with their unprofessionalism.
  3. Motivation — Because crowdsourcing is done by volunteers for free, keeping the translators/localizers motivated is extremely important. Many companies inspire their volunteers through by gamifying the process and even offering rewards to top, or even all contributors.
  4. Control — Managing a group of hundreds or even thousands can be very difficult. The organization of the crowdsourcing platform and its users needs to be carefully considered and executed.

Localization projects: General workflowsEdit

Pre-translation engineering workEdit

Pre-translation QA workEdit


What is Pseudo Localization We can consider pseudo localization is considered part of the internationalization testing process and is a way to simulate language characteristics while maintaining the readability of the UI, during the design or development phase. No linguistic skills are required to test with pseudo localization and developers and testers can use it to detect and correct a host of i18n/l10n issues, earlier in the development and testing phases for new features. By moving the i18n/l10n bugs detection and correction earlier upper stream we significantly impact development time and cost savings for localization. Pseudo localization works by transforming the resource strings in a way that simulates the characteristics of foreign languages and at the same time the transformation preserves the readability of the UI and messages. It involves localizing your product into an artificial language that includes target language characters but is still readable by your testers.This is ideally done using an automated or semi-automated process. Here are some common language metrics for Pseudoloc.

  • French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Hebrew and Polish text can expand between 15% and 30%.
  • German and Dutch text can expand 35% or more.
  • Chinese, Japanese or Korean text can contract 30% to 55%, but some of these languages don't use spaces and that can also cause text expansion.

There are various pseudo localization patterns and tools out there. Android and iOS platforms have added platform level support for pseudo localization features for developers. There are also Web browser extensions to support pseudo localization. These platforms are using the open source Google pseudo localization tool1. Detectable Issues and Best Practices Pseudo-localization makes it possible to perform the following quality checks during localization-readiness testing:

  • Validation of the completeness and usability of the Localization Kit (files and documentation).
  • Validation that the pseudo-localized software builds successfully.
  • Validation that target language characters display correctly.
  • Validation that screen text strings are not concatenated from fragments.
  • Validation that screen layout accommodates expanded localized strings.
  • Validation that non-localizable software resources are identified and documented.

Guidelines for pseudo-localization:

  • Simulate the localization process (documented in the Localization Kit) as closely and completely as possible: pseudo-localize text and graphics, change fonts, date formats, etc.
  • Simulate the localizer’s environment as closely as possible. Perform the pseudo-localization on a “clean” machine, not on a development machine.
  • Include target-language characters in the pseudo-localized strings.
  • Choose target language characters that are most likely to be problematic. (The Generic Internationalization / Localization Issues list below provides some examples.)
  • Make string boundaries (beginning and end) obvious so string concatenation will be apparent during testing.
  • Increase the length of pseudo-localized strings to simulate what often happens during translation.
  • Insert target language characters at the beginning of strings, at the end of strings, and around string separators such as tabs and newlines.This makes it easy to distinguish localizable strings from non-localizable strings during testing.
  • Re-order the arguments in at least a sampling of formatted messages, and test that these messages then appear correctly.
  • During testing, you may discover software resources that, in fact, must remain as-is for the software to function correctly (hopefully these are not visible to the user). As you discover them, be sure to identify these strings, preferably using comments in the resource files, or in the Localization Kit documentation.

Take the example of Google pseudo localization patterns, it contains the following features to achieve specific purposes:

Transformation Purpose Dev Best Practices Correct Behavior
Added [ and ] to indicate the start and end of the string. To detect:

1) String concatenation issues. 2) String truncation.

Use complete sentence, with runtime argument placeholder if needed:

This title can only be downloaded 1 more time before {date}.

[Ţĥîš ţîţļé çåñ öñļý ƀé ðöŵñļöåðéð ① ɱöŕé ţîɱé ƀéƒöŕé {date}· one two three four five six]
Character replacement with letters outside of ASCII and/or Latin1 range To Detect

1) Character Encoding Issues. 2) Font and Display Issues.

1) Use UTF-8 as the storing and display encoding and use UTF-16 as the encoding during data transition.

2) Use the proper font and right font size for the best visual on devices.

Characters should be displayed correctly, should not have any tofu squares or question marks. Should not have vertical clipping or overlapping.
String length expansion (usually by 30%) Detect horizontal truncation or overlapping issues for world’s languages. Design and develop with language string length expansion in mind. Allow longer string to wrap instead of being truncated. When line wraps, allow enough vertical space in between lines. Strings should not be truncated or overlap with other UI elements.
Indicators >> and << around value passed by runtime To give a visual hint that string inside >> and << comes from runtime value. Make sure the source of the runtime argument is also localized if needs be. Value inside >> and << should contain cultural appropriate string as well.
Special Right-To-Left simulations Detect RTL layout issues and Bidi issues Make sure to:

1. Set layout to RTL UI 2. Set paragraph direction to rtl

Should not have layout or Bidi Issues.

Pseudo Localization Available Android

iOS Devices



Pseudo-localization is most valuable when your product has not been localized before. It is also important when localizing to a language that is unlike any currently supported language (for example, the first time localizing for a language that uses multibyte characters).As your product matures (from an internationalization / local- ization perspective) you will probably scale back your use of pseudo-localization.


For more see Wikipedia article on Pseudolocalization

Pre-translation language workEdit

Style guidesEdit

Every language has specific linguistic and grammatical rules.

In addition to grammatical and linguistic rules per language, style guides can include universal guidelines about how you would like certain items to be addressed in your documents such as: 1) what the tone of language should be on marketing documents versus technical documents; 2) how to format items like UI terms, dates, footnotes that may appear in localized content; 3) what fonts can be used.

Some companies publicly provide style guides:

Terminology workEdit

Terminology database is a list of domain-relevant terms, and organized and flexible way to collect and reuse terms. It is useful to share the terms with everyone engaged in the localization project. Terminology database might be provided by client company, or they ask LSP to help create. Since target terminology may change during localization cycle, the list may need updates during the project. Terminological candidates can be extracted from existing corpus by simply using Word and Excel, or can be automatically extracted by tools.[34]

Punctuation Style guideEdit

The marks, such as full stop, comma, and brackets, used in writing to separate sentences and their elements and to clarify meaning. Punctuation style guide is usually included in translation style guides.

English Russian French (France) Italian German Spanish Portuguese (Portugal) Japanese Chinese Simplified Chinese Traditional (Taiwan) Korean Arabic
Cases? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No
Quotation marks

- 14:00


- 14:00


- 14:00





Apostrophe TEXT’s TEXT’s TEXT’s TEXT's TEXT’s TEXT’s TEXT's TEXT’s TEXT’s TEXT’s n/a n/a
Percent 100 % 100 % 100 % 100% 100 % 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Decimal separator Period Comma Comma Comma Comma Comma Comma Period Period Period Period Period
10.54 10,54 10,54 10,54 10,54 10,54 10,54 10.54 10.54 10.54 10.54 10.54
Thousand separator Comma Non-breaking space Non-breaking space Period Period Period Period Comma Comma Comma Comma None
100,540 100 540 100 540 100.540 100.540 100.540 100.540 100,540 100,540 100,540 100,540 100540
In 1987 my wife, Nancy, was pleading with me to send out my resume and get a “real” job. She wasn’t too convinced that my business idea of creating graphics on my brand new MacPlus 512k personal computer would ever take off. В большинстве случаев единственное, что необходимо для активации продукта, — это идентификатор установки, который создается самой программой. « Depuis sa création, l'une des missions essentielles du ministère de la Culture est de rendre accessibles au plus grand nombre le patrimoine architectural et artistique ainsi que les oeuvres de création contemporaine. Ravenna è città d'arte e cultura con una grande eredità di monumenti e di edifici religiosi decorati con mosaici così unici che sono stati dichiarati patrimonio dell'umanità. Unterschleißheim, 13. Januar 2011. Im Rahmen einer Ausschreibung vergibt Microsoft Deutschland bis zu 200.000 Euro an ein gemeinnütziges Projekt, das Jugendlichen mit innovativen Angeboten beim Aufbau wichtiger eSkills hilft. Microsoft anunció que ha comenzado a migrar algunas cuentas de Hotmail al nuevo servicio que cuenta, entre otras nuevas funcionalidades, con una capacidad de almacenamiento de 5 GB. Estou aqui — Sou mente, informação viva. Expando o meu alcance— o robô em Io acorda e obedece. Elevo o meu alcance— satélites transmitem a minha alma até aos astros. お客様が私たちのソフトウェアを使ってビジネス上の課題に対しての解決策を見出し、新たな局面につながるアイディアを展開し、最も重要なことに意識を向けられるようにすること。これが、私たちの日々の仕事に対する意欲と原動力の源なのです。 会议内容:云计算是当今 IT 产业快速发展的推动力和重要机会,本次会议讨论云计算如何帮助中小企业快速提高 IT 能力,以及如何帮助他们优化内部资源,提高竞争力,并在经济发展中占得先机。 微軟全球服務與技術支援組織是微軟與客戶、合作夥伴之間溝通的橋樑,同時也是微軟創新的泉源,致力於協助客戶採用適合的技術與產品,加速客戶在雲端技術上的佈署,並藉由客戶的回饋,提供產品精進的方向,以提昇客戶服務經驗的品質及顧客滿意度。 비즈니스와 기술의 경계가 사라지고 클라우드 컴퓨팅이 대세로 자리잡은 현 상황 속에서, 세상을 움직이는 기술의 변화는 개발자와 IT 전문가에게는 새로운 기회의 장을 의미한다. استخدم كلمات سهلة ومباشرة. جٌب أن كٌون الأسلوب التحر رٌي مبسطاً وواضحاً وصح حٌاً. استخدم أكثر الكلمات بساطة ودقة ف نفس الوقت، مثل كلمة "أ ضٌاً"

بدلا من "بالإضافة إلى". تجنب استخدام اللهجات العام ةٌ ح ثٌ إنها لا تلائم هذا المجال وهذا النوع من الكتابة بالإضافة إلى صعوبة فهمها من قبل نطاق عرضٌ من الأشخاص.


Localization VendorsEdit

Localization Vendors, or Language Service Providers (LSPs), first began appearing in the 1980s when industries such as automotive and medical saw the need to translate their content. It took several years for processes and tools to be developed to make localization work easier. When the world wide web began in 1991, advances in standardized processes and tools developed more quickly.

Today, there are two main models for localization vendors: being a multi-language vendor (MLV), or being a single-language vendor (SLV). Each kind of vendor can work directly with a client. Often though, a client will work with a MLV, who may have internal translation resources, contract with SLVs, freelance translators, or other MLVs. While some Localization Vendors specialize in certain areas, such as translation for the Life Sciences, most often they translate into a variety of vertical markets. Translation is not the only service that Localization Vendors can supply. Their services can also include:

  • Machine translation
  • Translation memory creation and/or management
  • Terminology management: Glossaries, Style Guides, Do Not Translate lists, Term mining
  • Localization engineering
  • Software testing
  • Desktop publishing
  • Website localization
  • Translation review/QA
  • Interpreting
  • Audio voiceover recordings
  • Transcription
  • Transcreation
  • eLearning and MultiMedia
  • Subtitling

Localization Vendors often have tools like client portals or some proprietary version of a translation management system (TMS) that can automate tasks like generating quotes and moving files from one party in a workflow to the next.

Localization Vendors are often certified to various ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards to ensure quality processes and practices are in place. Depending on what your organization’s requirements are, a LSP’s certifications are more or less important.

Selecting the right Localization VendorEdit

Many organizations make use of LSPs (Language Service Provider) to source their translations. Employing translators could be an expensive exercise and is not always feasible.

There are some steps that needs to be followed to not only select a vendor, but to select the right vendor that will meet your project requirements.

These are the steps to follow:

  1. Internal requirements collection:
    • What domain experience should the vendor have e.g. medical, gaming, law, etc.?
    • What's your target languages?
    • Should the vendor have an ISO 9000 certificate?
    • Do you need them to use your CAT tool or do you want to use theirs?
    • Which services do you require; translation, glossary creation, LQA (Localization Quality Assurance), etc.
    • Estimated work volume.
  2. Request For Information
    • Select a few vendors and do a formal request for information.
    • You want information such as their supported languages list, domain experience, rates, SLA (Service License Agreement) etc.
  3. Request For Proposal
    • Select two or more vendors that meets the project's requirements and request them to submit a formal business proposal .
  4. Review the proposals
    • When reviewing you'll take into consideration their rates, location, experience, supported file formats and SLAs.
    • Select two vendors at a minimum.
  5. Submitting a Test Project
    • You want to ensure upfront that their quality is of the utmost best. Finding out in the middle of a project that the translation quality is poor can have a huge effect on the project's budget.
    • Submit a small test project of your product to each of the vendors .
    • After completion of these projects, have the opposite vendor rate the quality of the translations on a LQA CAT tools such as XTM's LQA phase.
  6. Review the Test Projects Quality Rating
    • Review each of the projects' results individually
    • Should one of the vendors have performed very poorly, submit the report to them for evaluation.
  7. Select your Vendor
    • Based on the quality rating, cost, location, etc. differences between the vendors select the most appropriate vendor for your project.
    • Sign the MSA (Master Service Agreement) & NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement), if required, with the selected vendor.

This will ensure you pick a vendor not only based on the vendor's costs and turnaround time, but quality as well.

Localization KitEdit

The localization kit provides materials pertinent to the localization project. This is edited and published by the project owner, i.e. either the client or a representative of the client. The kit provides information to address the needs of all stakeholders involved in the project (translators, engineers, subject matter experts, agencies) to ensure successful execution, collaboration, and delivery of the final product. The LocKit is therefore essentially a set of tools, resources, and instructions necessary for all team members to produce the localized version of a product, whether it be software, websites or marketing material. The kit encompasses the resources, scope, and schedule of the product.

The kit typically includes:

  • Localization instructions
  • Style guides or brand guidelines
  • Translation memory
  • Glossaries/term bases
  • Staging information for online testing
  • Tools and instructions
  • Project timeframe
  • Contact information for stakeholders
  • Files to be localized

For a more detailed explanation of the file types that may be included in a localization kit:

Localization Industry StandardsEdit

Localization industry standards permit the efficient sharing of translation data and improved workflow among translators, vendors, and other team members. The main benefit of standards is interoperability, which means that more collaboration is possible and data can be used with different tools and different versions of software.

The key localization industry standards include XLIFF, TMX, TBX, and SRX.

CAT ToolsEdit


CAT (Computer-Assisted Translation) Tools are special software programs that allow translators to translate documents and text at a faster, more efficient rate and with accuracy. The specific function of a CAT Tool is to segment text so that it can be translated in parts. There are various forms of CAT Tools such as:

                   SDL Trados

The file formats supported by CAT Tools include the following:

             *  Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx)
             *  Microsoft Excel (.xls, .xlsx)
             *  Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx)
             *  QuarkXPress
             *  Adobe InDesign
             *  Adobe Framemaker
             *  Adobe Pagemaker
             *  HTML (.htm, .html)
             *  RESX (.resx)
             *  XML (.xml)
             *  XLIFF (.xliff)
             *  JSON(.json) 

Benefits of using this tool:

Allows collaboration among groups of translators who can share Translation Memories to ensure the same sentences are never translated twice.  A database of terminology is also stored for their benefit.  In turn, this results in improved productivity and consistency across translations.  There are also benefits for the client since it decreases their budget and ultimately saves time.


Like all automated programs, these tools do result in difficulties or errors which are usually due to insufficient knowledge on the part of the user since it takes time to learn the intricacies of these various associated programs.

How it works: First, the CAT Tool(s) will take any given text and parse it into segments of text to be translated. There will be a side by side comparison of the segmented text (original and what has already been translated).

Machine TranslationEdit

Wikipedia Article on Machine Translation


Rule Based Machine TranslationEdit

Example base MTEdit

Statistical Machine TranslationEdit

Statistical Machine Translation (SMT) is a type of machine translation that requires bilingual corpora, which are large and structured text data used for statistical analysis and hypothesis testing. Although SMT needs a large amount of text data, new language pairs can be added quickly and at a very low cost. There are different types of SMT, word-based, phrase-based, syntax-based, and hierarchical phrase-based. The phrase-based translation, which translates whole sequences of words, is the most commonly used today.

To find the most likely translation, SMT takes three basic probabilities into account.

  • P(e) - a priori probability. The chance that e (for example, English) happens. It is the chance that a person at a certain time will use the expression instead of saying something else.
  • P(f | e) - conditional probability. The chance that upon seeing e, a translator will produce f (for example, French).
  • P(e,f) - joint probability. The chance of e and f both happening.

All these probabilities are between zero and one.

In other words, we are seeking the e (target language) that maximizes P(f | e) when given f (source language). To find the maximized probability, we can use the expression below:


SMT depends heavily on corpora. The more advanced a parallel corpus is, the better the translation SMT can provide. Although SMT is widely adopted today, such as Google Translator, and Microsoft Translator, the fluency of the translation still remains a challenge. In addition, creating and training corpus to optimize SMT is also a big subject for SMT.

Statistical MT Handbook by Kevin Knight
Statistical Machine Translation

Phrase based Machine TranslationEdit

Neural Machine TranslationEdit

Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is an approach [35]of machine translation which uses artificial neural network to predict the sequence of the source sentences and translate them to the target languages. Unlike traditional machine translations which use multiple models for translation, NMT is an end to end system that only requires one large neural network. [36]

A common model in NMT is encoder-decoder model. In this model, the encoder provides an internal representation of the input sentence[37] by reading it word by word. The decoder uses this internal representation to output words until the end of sequence token was reached[38]. Because of this model supported by neural network, NMT is able to translate the entire context of the source sentence, rather than just words in it.

The advantage of NMT is its strong ability to learn and analyze, which usually leads to more accurate and fluent translation. Some disadvantages of NMT includes relatively slower translation speed (especially when the source sentence is long) and higher translation cost.

Translation Management SystemsEdit

Translation Management Systems (TMS) aka Globalization Management Systems (GMS)
Globalization Management Systems

Prominent examples are:

  • SDL WorldServer
  • Plunet
  • Wordbee
  • TMS Maestro
  • Across Language Server
  • XTRF
  • XTM International
  • MultiTrans
  • memoQ Adriatic

Content Management SystemsEdit

A content management system (CMS) is a software application or set of related programs that are used to create and manage digital content. CMSes are typically used for enterprise content management (ECM) and web content management (WCM). An ECM facilitates collaboration in the workplace by integrating document management, digital asset management and records retention functionalities, and providing end users with role-based access to the organization's digital assets. A WCM facilitates collaborative authoring for websites. ECM software often includes a WCM publishing functionality, but ECM webpages typically remain behind the organization's firewall.

Both enterprise content management and web content management systems have two components: a content management application (CMA) and a content delivery application (CDA). The CMA is a graphical user interface (GUI) that allows the user to control the creation, modification and removal of content from a website without needing to know anything about HTML. The CDA component provides the back-end services that support management and delivery of the content once it has been created in the CMA.

Features CMSes can vary amongst the various CMS offerings, but the core functions are often considered to be indexing, search and retrieval, format management, revision control and publishing.

  • Intuitive indexing, search and retrieval features index all data for easy access through search functions and allow users to search by attributes such as publication dates, keywords or author.
  • Format management facilitates turn scanned paper documents and legacy electronic documents into HTML or PDF documents.
  • Revision features allow content to be updated and edited after initial publication. Revision control also tracks any changes made to files by individuals.
  • Publishing functionality allows individuals to use a template or a set of templates approved by the organization, as well as wizards and other tools to create or modify content.

A CMS may also provide tools for one-to-one marketing. One-to-one marketing is the ability of a website to tailor its content and advertising to a user's specific characteristics using information provided by the user or gathered by the site -- for instance, a particular user's page sequence pattern. For example, if the user visited a search engine and searched for digital camera, the advertising banners would feature businesses that sell digital cameras instead of businesses that sell garden products.

Other popular features of CMSes include:

  • SEO-friendly URLs
  • Integrated and online help, including discussion boards
  • Group-based permission systems
  • Full template support and customizable templates
  • Easy wizard-based install and versioning procedures
  • Admin panel with multiple language support
  • Content hierarchy with unlimited depth and size
  • Minimal server requirements
  • Integrated file managers
  • Integrated audit logs

There is almost no limit to the factors that must be considered before an organization decides to invest in a CMS. There are a few basic functionalities to always look for, such as an easy-to-use editor interface and intelligent search capabilities. However, for some organizations, the software they use depends on certain requirements. For example, consider the organization's size and geographic dispersion. The CMS administrator must know how many people will be utilizing the application, whether the CMS will require multilanguage support and what size support team will be needed to maintain operations. It's also important to consider the level of control both administrators and end users will have when using the CMS. The diversity of the electronic data forms used within an organization must also be considered. All types of digital content should be indexed easily.

CMS software vendors:

  • SharePoint
  • Documentum
  • M-Files
  • Joomla
  • WordPress
  • DNN
  • Oracle
  • WebCenter
  • Pulse
  • CMS
  • OpenText
  • Backdrop CMS

Workflow-enabling toolsEdit

  • Handoff systems
  • Cloud translation systems

UI adjustments (Software)Edit

  • Resizing work, re-layout

UA adjustments (Content)Edit

  • Types, specifics

Post-translation engineeringEdit


Help contentEdit

Quality AssuranceEdit

Bug ManagementEdit

Working in the localization industryEdit

  • Linguists

Linguists may work independently as freelancers or be employed by a language service provider (LSP) or client company. They include interpreters, translators, editors and proofreaders. Translators translate texts from source language to target language in a timely manner. They must know how to work with various tools and technologies that support the translation process, such as translation memory, translation workflow and other computer-aided translation (CAT) tools. Interpreters translate spoken language. Interpreting can be simultaneous or consecutive. Editors and proofreaders check translations for mistakes and consistency of terminology, and generally refine the translation ensuring that the text no longer reads as a translation, but as if it was originally written in the target language.

Linguists must possess an aptitude for language and global cultures in their specialization. Sensitivity to nuance and contextual meaning is important. Strong communication skills, attention to detail and precision are a must in translation work.[39]:25

  • Localization quality assurance (QA) professionals

Localization QA professionals can be employed by an LSP or client company. They must have an exceptional attention to detail, systematic approach to working in a unified fashion and strong technical expertise.

  • Internationalization engineers

Internationalization engineer is responsible for having all technology products developed in a way that facilitates and considers localization and translation processes and requirements. These individuals work closely with developers on a code level to make sure that everything that affects the success of localization (date and time formats, Unicode compliance, font compatibility, design for text expansion etc.) be addressed in advance at the beginning of development. Skills that successful internationalization engineers must possess include a solid understanding of software and technology product development, coding and various technical development languages, and the ability to identify fags for internationalization issues. They need to have a strong comfort level working with technical engineers in software, technology development and localization engineering. Clear communication and the ability to teach and inform peer groups and management of this area of expertise is important.[39]:26

  • Localization engineers

A localization engineer works directly with any product, document, website or device that requires translation. At an LSP, localization engineers will be responsible for many things. They assess files for quoting localization and translation work. They dictate how files for localization be received by the client company. They take in files, process them, work with translation and localization tools, and help execute all necessary preparation of the files for translation. When files are translated, localization engineers recompile the files in any development format or system for reintegration into the final localized product. They work with localization QA to verify and fix errors. And they collaborate with client development and localization teams as necessary. Sometimes a localization engineer may be responsible for internationalization.

At a client company, localization engineers work as an integrated member of a development team to ensure that localization happens seamlessly. They alert the development teams of necessary localization requirements, receive files and special instructions on development and get to know the product that is being developed inside and out. They may work with an LSP company and their engineering team to answer questions and facilitate the technical aspect of the overall process.

Localization engineers must have an exceptionally high knowledge of development technologies that they are working with and how they fit in the localization process. They must be able to integrate various localization and translation tools such as translation memory (TM), translation workflow tools and other CAT tools.[39]:26

  • Solutions architects

This is a higher level technology professional who works with development teams, clients and sales people in an LSP to craft complex solutions for localization. Solutions architects must have technical competence and strong communication skills, be able to give presentations to decision makers and be a go-to person to solve challenging technical puzzles. To be able to assess and recommend the best path forward to a client, solutions architects must possess a solid understanding of software and technology product development, no matter the client and what they are building, and a firm understanding of the localization process at that particular LSP.[39]:27

  • Localization strategists

This is a higher level technology professional who works in a client company and defines a localization strategy for a product. A strategist is tasked with looking for the newest language technologies, finding ways to optimize the translation or localization process, and creating vendor and pricing strategies that create efficient and effective vendor and LSP relationships with the company. They are generally tasked with making everything in the translation or localization process go faster, cheaper and better, year over year.[39]:29

  • Technical managers

A technical manager handles a technical team consisting of localization engineers, internationalization engineers, localization QA professionals and solutions architects. This person ensures that all requirements for localization are met by assigning teams, resources, budget and expertise to any given project at any given time.

At a client company, technical managers may be responsible for several development departments, with localization as part of it. They work to support that everything related to localization success is in place and available for the teams to achieve their goals.

Technical managers at an LSP will run the entire technical department of localization engineers, internationalization engineers, localization QA professionals and solutions architects to perform all technical functions to support client assignments. They focus on budget, resourcing and time allocations to ensure the success of their teams. Important skill sets of the technical manger include solid people management expertise coupled with technical expertise. A technical manager only has credibility from a technical team if he or she has actually been an engineer in the past and has a strong knowledge of the complexities of technology.[39]:27

  • Executives

An executive is anyone who holds a high level management position at an LSP, or who holds any C-level position (CEO, COO or other) and has overarching responsibility for management of a language company. In the language industry, an executive must be comfortable working across cultures and in a global context. He or she must have expertise in professional business and technical services. Executives must know just enough about the language industry to be credible, but possess all executive leadership skills to pay attention to the bottom line and financial profitability. They must know how to optimize investment in technology, innovation, resources and people to do everything that their business requires. Strong skills in presenting, motivating and representing an organization publicly are essential.[39]:27

  • Operations managers

An operations manager may also be referred to as department manager, production manager or group manager. The operations manager is responsible for a team of specialists and professionals to get work completed on time, on budget and with excellent quality. An operations manager requires general people management and development skills, must know how to recruit and retain talent, take ownership of budgets and other administrative responsibilities and keep work flowing throughout an organization. These people assign resources, approve timelines and work with executive teams to ensure that all work gets done as promised to partners or clients.[39]:28

  • Project managers

Project managers are in charge of the execution of all the different projects that require translation or localization. They understand what needs to be translated or localized, organize the appropriate vendor and internal resources, and also create a schedule, timeline and associated budget. They work along the way to be sure everything is delivered on time and on budget. They track and resolve issues, work with developers and various departments to be sure that everything they are responsible for works out as planned. They usually report to an operations manager. A project manager needs to have excellent communication skills and the ability to work with people ranging from those in management to linguists to engineers to clients and others. Organizational skill, managing complexity and being able to keep track of several moving parts at once are essential. Financial budgeting skills are required, as well as the ability to negotiate and persuade people to do what is needed.[39]:29

  • Sales executives

A sales executive, on the other hand, is responsible for finding clients for a company and bringing in revenue. Sales executive positions require excellent communication skills, possess the ability to identify new business opportunities, make contact with decision makers, demonstrate the abilities of the company or service organization they represent and land business. A big part of a sales position is being consistently proactive to continually generate new business and form relationships. Resiliency, focus and natural motivation are required here. A sales executive in the language industry would do best enhancing his or her skills in selling technical professional services. There is a strong focus on “relationship” selling, which means that sales executives must learn how to get to know their clients, what their client challenges and needs are, and what the solutions are.[39]:29

  • Procurement managers

A procurement manager is a client side position, and is responsible for services agreements between the company and its language service providers. A procurement manager only exists at large companies. A procurement manager must have excellent negotiation skills, be able to craft detailed pricing strategies and form legal agreements with legal professionals. They will likely deal with the request for proposal and request for quotation process, billing, pricing and terms negotiation.[39]:30

  • Vendor managers

A vendor manager is the person at an LSP who forms relationships with third party partners, like linguists and contractor organizations. A vendor manager is responsible for sourcing and recruiting various professionals and specialists, testing and qualifying these vendor resources, and maintaining up-to-date contact records with these vendor individuals or companies in order to call on them when their skills are required. A vendor manager is akin to a human resources recruiter, but with a specialization.[39]:30

  • Volunteers

For individuals wanting to start their career or learn more about the localization/translation industry and its processes, volunteering is a great place to start. There are many places on the web to start volunteering as a translator/localizer, video subtitler, QA analyst, etc. Some places include TED Conferences, Mozilla, Facebook, Rosetta Foundation, and so on. Volunteering is not only a great way to get one's foot into the industry, but also get a chance to work and collaborate with other localization-related roles such as project managers and other linguists.

Video Games LocalizationEdit

Video games localization is the adaptation process of a video game software and hardware that before being introduced to a particular country or region. This process may include translation of text, new audio, modifying storyline/characters, changing art, creating manuals and appropriate packing, and even adapting hardware to fulfill market standards, linguistic, cultural, legal needs, among others. Aside of economic and profitable reasons, the ultimate goal of video game localization is to replicate original –source e.g. English, Korean, Japanese, etc.- experience to an enjoyable adapted experience to the end user cultural context[40].

Localization KitEdit

To localize a video game –like any other software- a localization kit is necessary. This kit will include resources that translator may need to localize all video game content and related materials. It is vital for the translators to understand the product to be localized, workflow, their respective roles and tasks.

  • Tool Kit

Localization manual may include word count for all text and audio, special instructions, details, tools, formats, graphics, among other details. Text Non-gaming text Gaming text Glossary Dubbing materials (if applicable) List of characters and dubbing actors Dubbing text Audio file samples Graphics Interface Textures Fonts Tools (toolkit for localization and version compilations)[41]

Translation FlowEdit

An organized and clear translation flow is vital for a successful content translation and eventual localization. This flow can vary, but often has usually six steps: review, translation, proofreading, creative rewriting, debugging/testing and delivery.

  • Review the original files and determine what work is necessary, e.g. worldview, target demographic and region, file structure, tags and variables, character limits, line breaks (editable/un-editable), dialogues, etc.
  • Translation starts using a translation tool and database or translation memory to keep consistency with vocabulary and phrasing.
  • Proofreading by an editor to keep consistency of language, tone, correct mistranslations or missing content, character limits, etc.
  • Creative rewriting is necessary to adjust a characters tone, speech and personality according target locale.
  • Debugging and testing will report and fix any line break/position issue, truncation, broken strings, typos, etc.
  • Delivery is the last step of process when files are deliver in MS Word/Excel/Power Point, HC TraTool, SDL Passolo/Trados/WorldServer, XTM, or other compatible format[42].

Common Issues in Video Games LocalizationEdit

  • Hard-coding text into the source code

Follow best string wrapping practices that fit internationalization standards. When extracting text from source code, make it into the resource file. Save one source file for each of game’s locales

  • Insufficient contextual information

Localization project manager or person responsible for the localization should provide contextual information or answer any query regarding the project.

  • Wrong type of game translators

Translators need be to be native speakers, preferably active gamer and be related with genre of game.

  • Failing to test translations on a device

Pseudo-localization testing, in which you replace the textual elements is a common method. A simpler and more cost-effective is on-device localization testing, which has the benefit of letting gauge the overall quality of the localization and not just glitches. Also, set text space as autofit with the text, which prevents some of these common UI issues.

  • Not paying enough attention to culturalization

Game-savvy native-speaker translators are the best cultural advisers!

  • Poor translating management

Centralize translation management with a TMS (Translation Management System) to organize translations and reuse them.

  • Treating localization as an afterthought

Think about localization from the start. Wrap strings at an early stage of development and have them ready for localization or tweak the coding style to meet international standards.[43]

Example of a Common Issues in Video Game Localization

Video game localization involves languages with small to no similarities in their rules. One common issue is the difference in the User Interface (UI) that translators have to consider. The gaming experience must be identical regardless of the language the user chooses to play, especially in most text intensive games genres such as in Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG).

  • Following is an example of localizing the user interface from Korean to Brazilian Portuguese in a MMORPG user menu.
UI Character Limit in Game Menu
English (US) Brazilian Portuguese Korean Maximum Allowed
Exit Desconectar 나가기 5 characters
Battlefield Campo de Batalha 전장 12 characters
Pet Animal de Estimação 5 characters

Note that all of the three words for "Exit", "Battlefield", and "Pet" for Brazilian Portuguese are longer than the allowed character limit. This issue is commonly resolved by:

  1. Changing the translated word without altering the original meaning. (e.g. the use of the word "Mascote" instead of "Animal de Estimação" for "Pet" maintains the original meaning in Korean).
  2. Requesting the designer/developer to allow a larger text field. (e.g. the word "Campo de Batalha" cannot be replaced because it is a major feature in the game and Brazilian Portuguese does not offer any replaceable word).

Although these words are simple to automate through translation tools, translators have to separate certain UI texts into exclusive strings due to the text limitations. Usually the Debugging and Testing step resolve UI related issues, however, the fixes should not be overwritten by new automated translation data.

Determining what to LocalizeEdit

Video Game Localization teams are no different than other teams in the industry, and thus, are equally interested in expanding their products to other territories. In order to justify the investment there are certain aspects that L10n teams will consider. The most determining aspect will be the financial viability of localizing a given game into a given local. Once this is decided, the other main concern will be the level of localization that the game is going to go through.

1.    Considering the financial viability of localization -- Localizing which games into which languages

Localization teams, and more specifically, publishers will determine which games to localize into which languages based on the potential financial success of the localization. In order to determine this, the publisher will consider the amount of money, time, and resources put into the localization against the potential return on the investment (or ROI). To know the potential ROI, the publisher will order a profit and loss statement (P&L) for the localization of a specific game and a specific language. If the statement determines that the numbers for the potential sales are higher than the numbers of development, localization, and marketing costs combined, then the localization project for that specific game and that specific local can move forward.

Ideally, localization teams want to simultaneously ship (sim-ship) the localization with the source version of the video game, so the marketing strategy happens at the same time, has more impact, and thus generates more sales. Although sim-ship is the ideal scenario, it does not always happen. In pre-production some locals are not accounted for localization, or there is simply not a big enough budget to localize a game into, let us say, EA languages. However, once the game has shipped and the ROI is higher than expected, there may be room for other locals to localize into. In this case, the team is going to have to adjust to the added difficulty of having to localize a game that has already been released.

2.    The Level of Localization

It is widely known that users prefer to interact with products that are in their own languages. Similarly, gamers prefer games that create the illusion that were designed specifically for their language, culture, and territory. From project to project, however, the level of localization may vary. The level of localization refers to how much of a game is localized and how much is left in the source language. The following are the different levels of game localization:

·     No Localization: Neither game or package are localized. The source version is distributed globally.

·     Packaging and Manual Localization or “Box and Docs” Localization: Only the packaging and the manual of the game is localized. The game per se is not localized.

·     Partial Localization: The game text and the packaging are localized, and the voiceovers are subtitled.

·     Full Localization: The game is localized entirely and voiceovers are dubbed and subtitled. Full localization may contain partially localized content. That is, the fully localized version may have certain terminology/names or culturally-related images kept from the source version if the team evaluates that the target local will adopt it better (specially true of non sim-ship localized game versions).[44]

Localization in Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing GamesEdit

Localization as a communication processEdit

We define localization as the linguistic and cultural adaptation of digital content to the requirements and the locale of a foreign market. It is a process of adjusting software for a specific region or specific languages by adapting local components and translating text. The professional practice of localization is now very important in different industries, such as technology, medical and pharmaceutical. This practice is also getting bigger, now, some companies want to expand their products around the world, and they understand that they need to consider localization efforts, they need to include it in their business plans. Yes, now we can see more and more companies from different industries adding localization practices on their side. But, localization is much more than adapting, translating, codes or flows, localization, is a communication process. Now, let´s try to understand what communication is. Communication, unlike localization, is much older. Communication is as old as humanity. Communication is a natural process and a complex term to define. The communication professionals define communication as the process of sending information, this process, which also could be a cycle, has these components: the sender, the message, the channel, the receiver and feedback, this simple and complex process is how we can understand how communication works. Everyone communicates something all the time, the conversation that the people had this morning with their families or co-workers was part of a communication process, the email that the employees of a company got this morning was part of a communication process.

When is the communication process considered successful? The answer is also hard to find, but we can say that a success in communication is when the sender gets a reaction from the receiver. We can understand this when a seller achieves a sale, or a marketing campaign increases the sales of a product, or when a candidate wins an election from the votes of a group of people. All of these examples don’t mean that the pure act of sharing information is the key, but one thing we can say, in all these examples the way the sender sent the message to the receiver was an important element for achieving the goal of the seller, the campaign and the candidate.

Communication professionals say that before creating a message, or defining the channel, one of the most important elements is to know and understand the receiver, the ones who are going to get the message, because the more the sender knows the receiver the more the receiver will understand what the sender wants to say. And here is when we can talk about localization. What is the final goal of localization efforts? Probably, one of the answers is to make one product accessible to more people around the world, for example, localization can make it so that more people in different countries can use Microsoft Office, or play a video game, or watch a movie, or just understand the side effects of a pill. Here, is when the localization process becomes a communication process, and the localization practice, the editors, linguistics and translators become communication professionals, they must understand the local market and they can define the way a message must sound. They are not going to write the narrative or the story of a movie or video game, they, based on their local knowledge and their linguistic background, will find the right word for communicating the same meaning as the one written in the original version. Understanding how important is to know our public for a successfully adaptation of a text is as important as other components in this such an interesting processional practice of localization.



The list of locales.

The list of English stop words.


To be allocatedEdit


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