This article is originally published at translation-blog.multilizer.com.
Quality is important in software localization. In fact it should always be the most important criterion in every localization project. Even if you have a small budget and limited resources, you need to pay attention to the quality of the outcome. Localization should never be performed just for its sake. The rationale behind software localization is to enter new markets, to make more money, to strengthen one’s market position, to be more profitable and/or to get more attention in global markets. Poorly localized software won’t reach any of these targets.
The main difficulty is to define good quality. Is the fact that one can understand the software in his own language an indicator of a good quality? Or should the localized software look and feel like it is the original version and not a translated one? Or is good quality something more or less? Every localization project team should have a mutual idea of the quality.
Maybe it is better to talk about good enough quality or about target quality level. The quality is good enough when it reaches the quality criteria which are set for it by the team or some other authority. In other words, quality is something you should care about even in a small budget localization project. The methods to ensure a good enough quality are testing, proofreading and checking. There should always be people to check everything.
Good enough quality is also cheaper to achieve when there is less need for changes. This means that all the things should be made as well as possible in the first place. Unfortunately quality is very difficult to see beforehand. When there’s no other indicator available, people are likely to rely on hard facts like price. But it’s not always the whole truth like this cartoon shows.
When you are trying to do more with less, there is a change that you end up in saving on everything. However there are certain elements, like proofreading and testing, which deserve more attention than maybe some other elements do. Quality costs always something, so stay realistic and don’t try to save too much.
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