Top 4 Challenges in Agile Localization

Software development has changed immensely during the last decade, and the need for agile localization has increased accordingly. We went from annual to daily releases in no time and software development needs the agile localization to keep up the pace.

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Software development has changed immensely during the last decade, and the need for agile localization has increased accordingly. We went from annual to daily releases in no time and software development needs the agile localization to keep up the pace.

Even though agile localization is far more efficient in software translation than the traditional waterfall method, it does come with certain challenges. Let's break it down, and see what exactly is agile localization and what challenges it imposes in the software localization process.

What is Agile Localization?

Agile localization is a crucial part of the agile workflow process. It can be defined as a set of practices we use to integrate localization and translation into this process.

In short, here’s how the agile localization process goes down:

  • developers introduce a change into a project
  • the new code is sent to the translation team to localize it
  • the translation team sends it back to the developer
  • the developers incorporate the localized code into the system

To put it simply, agile is about responding to changes immediately and being ready to react instantly.

What Are The Challenges in Agile Localization?

Although the benefits of agile localization are numerous, there are certain issues it can impose on those who practice it.

Here's a list of 4 most common challenges in software translation you might face, and tips on how to eliminate them.

Fast-Changing

While the typical waterfall method of localization is based on heavy, long-term planning, and a detailed, carefully structured development plan, agile localization is completely opposite.

Agile requires the translating team to be:

  • quickly adaptable to changes
  • ready to step up at any moment
  • learn about the change on the go
  • quickly fill in the blanks
  • manage their time effortlessly

The fast-paced agile workflow process is much challenging for the translating team. Some teams employ software translation services to make things easier on themselves.

Quality Issues

The quality of a translation depends on the circumstances it is created in.

Agile localization is about speed and can often be stressful for the translator.

This imposes certain issues such as:

  • errors and mistakes
  • poor quality of the translation
  • confusion

In the waterfall method, on the other hand, the translation is not released until it’s polished to perfection.

However, the good thing is that agile localization allows for constant changes. Therefore, if you do make a mistake in the translation you release, you can fix it in the next release.

Lack of Context

Every translator or language expert you know will tell you just how important context is for the proper translation of any given text. Without context, even a single word can have multiple possible meanings.

Unfortunately, within the agile software translation, there isn’t much room for context to be delivered to the translators. This is due to:

  • fast turnaround
  • disconnected translations
  • lack of data for new projects

This means that the translator needs to face the challenge translation and try filling in the blanks on his own.

Syncing The Terminology

Consistency is another rather important factor in the process of localization. Whether you're using the waterfall or the agile process, you need to ensure your terminology is consistent and you refer to the same notions using the same words.

However, this can be an issue in the process of agile software translation, because:

  • more people are working on the same translation
  • new notions are constantly being introduced
  • translators don’t have the time or the resources to get to know the matter

Many translators create a synced base for terminology and use it to keep their translations consistent.

Final Thoughts

Agile localization does come with a set of challenges and can impose certain risks to the software developers and translators. However, you can overcome these challenges easily.

Use the list above to think about the agile localization process a bit more, and learn what to expect. Then, make sure you don’t make the typical mistakes and use it to release top-notch, quality translations.

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