When localizing software, typically also documentation, help files, web site, and other material is translated. All these materials are similar to each other and there is a huge chance that they, at least partially, contain same pieces of text. Naturally it makes sense to save translation cost and translate each of these texts just once. When the same text is found in some other place, just re-use the existing translation. This saves both time and money.

Because translations are most commonly stored in a separate translation database, it’s also possible to re-use translations made by others. In the field of software localization, for example Microsoft offers huge translation database of software terminology for free use. Microsoft’s terminology database contains over 12000 translations in over 70 languages. If your software uses standard Microsoft terminology, you will find a lot of translations in that database. This not only saves time and money but your translations are also guaranteed to comply with Microsoft’s standards.

The main problem with translation re-use is related to file formats. If the translation database is stored in a different format than the current software localization project, it might be challenging to find an easy way to combine those. However, it usually brings so much positive outcomes to re-use existing translations that it’s worth finding a solution for the file format issue. Technology gurus know some tricks to overcome the problem by manipulating file formats, but for those who are less technology oriented, one solution is to use a software localization tool that supports translation re-use across as many different file formats as possible. Although the most advanced localization tools cost some money, translation re-use will in most cases easily cover the cost of the tool.

How do you re-use translations?

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