Tom's Independent Software Reviews
In the age of globalization the markets for all goods become more and
more internationalized enforcing the need to provide information in a
variety of languages. This is especially true for the software market,
where the product itself consists nearly exclusively of localizable information.
Translation and customization of software involves a variety of specialists,
such as programmers, translators, localization engineers, quality assurance
(QA) specialists and project managers. Software localization therefore
does not only involve a smooth procedure of each task but also the coordination
of a localization team which may include employees as well as freelance
specialists. Without specialized tools, localization of complex software
is very difficult and time consuming and quite often involves the same
task to be uselessly repeated over and over again. Fortunately, there
is quite a variety of specialized tools available today. While some are
custom made for the software localization process, others are more general
translation and customization tools. This comparative review examines
3 specialized software localization applications and 2 more general translation
packages which also cover the localization process of software.
general, localization tools are highly specialized applications for the
LocalizatioN (L10N) of software. The main source and target
formats: resource files (RC) or binary files such as EXE or DLL usually
do not contain long translatable text strings surrounded by non-translatable
code. Localization tools have to extract these short strings properly,
provide a convenient graphical user interface (GUI) for the translation
of the strings and save the translations correctly back into the surrounding
code. In this process, special attention has to be paid to controls embedded
in the translatable text like ampersands (&) and shortcuts (e.g. Alt+D),
which have to be translated both unique and easy memorable. Another specialty
of software localization is that translated strings should be about the
same size as the original text. This is because the translated text needs
to fit into the appropriate spaces of dialog windows. If a size-equivalent
translation is not possible, resizing procedures for the dialog boxes
have to be offered. Real complex translation memories are usually unnecessary
for short text strings. A bi- or multilingual terminology base or glossary
is usually sufficient.
contrary, software documentation files (Windows Help format HLP, HTML
Help format CHM, Web pages HTML or Adobe Acrobat PDF) contain much more
translatable text in much longer text strings. These files are usually
better handled by a translation memory (TM) software, which memorizes
already used phrases, typically segmented by full-stops, and enable their
recycling. TM software usually implements some fuzzy match algorithm to
identify the degree of concordance between a new and an already translated
segment and allows their insertion into and editing in the authoring environment.
- Specialized Software Localization
CATALYST: Alchemy CATALYST is an integrated
translation environment with powerful project management features.
Current version: 4.0.
PASSOLO: PASSOLO optimizes the
complete software localization process. It ensures easy compilation,
exchange and processing of translation data. Current
Full featured translation environment to localize the Graphic User
Interface (GUI) of Microsoft Windows software. Current
- Translation Memory or
Computer Aided Translation (CAT) Applications:
- TRADOS: Since 1984, TRADOS has been developing open platforms for multilingual content management and is well positioned as the Global Market Leader in Translation Technology. Current version: 5.5.
Transit & TermStar: A Comprehensive Infrastructure for the Globalization of Product Information. Current