Agile Localization & Its Optimization

Mark Blackwood 15 Aug 2019
Agile Localization & Its Optimization

Today, we have the internet literally flooded with software, which manages to update as regularly as daily in some cases, all thanks to the agile method of software development. As the development of software becomes more and more dynamic, the need for its global accessibility also rises. That is where the agile localization enters the game. This unique process goes hand-in-hand with modern software development and ensures efficient global utility of the software right after its initial release as well as any further updates. Today, localization service providers manage to work with any kind of product, from app localization services to working directly with developer teams, and in nearly any kind of environment, including the agile framework.

How Do Agile Development Methods and Localization Process Affect One Another?

Localization within the agile development process is essentially quite simple and basic. In order to understand what is this and how it works, it is enough to know what the agile method is. Agile method breaks down the streamline of software development into several parts so that the code is written by a number of different specialists simultaneously. After every part is complete, the code is brought together for the final release of the software. This allows the companies to not only release their products earlier but also make any required changes throughout the process, no matter how sudden they might be. Agile localization essentially follows this model.

For software, like for nearly any other product, it is important to adjust it to the target country’s user completely and the mere translation is oftentimes not enough. In the case of software, it might even cause functional issues with its use. Localization is essentially about preventing such problems. As the software product is launched, its demand around the world might be tremendous because the companies often announce their releases beforehand. This means that the software has t o be localized as early as possible. As developers now implement the agile workflow process more and more often, why not localize a product while it’s being developed? Or why not localize the changes being brought into the software right after they have been initiated?

That is essentially how localization and agile development work together. During the process of development, the software is being sent to localization service providers, who hire their translators and localization specialist teams to work on the product. Software is then adjusted to the requested target region, including the code, and the final localized product is being sent back to the developer. A similar process takes place when any changes are introduced to the software or whenever the product is updated. The result is that the software product or any updates to it are released localized already, with no delays. Instead of following straightforward or waterfall model of the process, all the needed processes take place simultaneously. This in turn guarantees maximum efficiency of the software everywhere around the world within the shortest terms possible. So, the workflow is very similar to that of the development itself and provide swift translation and otherwise product adaptation to the needed region.

Benefits of Agile Localization Workflow

As a software or its updates are localized during the development stage, there are a lot of benefits. As both, the agile framework and localization provide flexibility for their target products, these benefits mostly relate to the availability and accessibility of software on the user’s end. From the developer’s and translators’ perspectives, the advantages are:

  • Efficiency of work. When nearly every process happens simultaneously within the team, the work is often done faster and better. In case if any issues arise, however, they do not affect the whole product and can be fixed with less effort. Localization in agile environment appears to sit quite comfortably in this regard. In case if the translator, for instance, forgets to adjust a certain part of the software interface, he or she will be able to revise the work with no serious damage done to the overall project.
  • Optimized localization process. As localization has become an important part of the software development process today, the work of every division, including the localization team, has been made as convenient as possible. As most localization experts specialize primarily in translation, they might find challenging to even open the software elements or coding files that have to be localized. Motivated to help their partners, developers have created a number of applications and platforms, such as GitHub that enable translators to work with any required format in the most convenient form.
  • Flexibility. Being the major advantage of the agile method, flexibility is also largely present in the work of localization teams. A common platform for completing the tasks separately or in collaboration, cloud servers, constant support from other teams, and many more, have made agile development localization a process that is fast and efficient for everyone involved.

Although agile framework makes the process of software development extremely efficient and flexible, certain challenges might arise with localization in particular. And even though the working processes appear to be optimized within the conventions of an agile approach, the swiftness is prioritized more often. The faster the project is finished the better. In terms of localization, this might eventually lead to such issues as translation inaccuracy and even functional errors.

Challenges of Agile Localization

While the benefits of optimized localization within the context of software development are many, the challenges relate primarily to the quality of translators’ and localization specialists’ work, as well as effort they have to put into the process.

  • Need for the extra effort. In order to make something fast, some effort has to be made by the specialist. To complete something well, a little more effort is required, although, the process might take a bit longer. Yet, when something has to be completed fast and well at the same time, quite a lot of effort is required. While this is a normal thing in the localization process, this often puts translators and other specialists under much stress, which might eventually lead to burnouts.
  • Quality issues. In case, however, if the developer highly prioritizes the swiftness of project completion, the final look of the localization process might be somewhat crude. Some elements of the interface will look out-of-place, the menu text might be awkwardly worded due to the use of machine translation, and so on. Such issues are the prime reason for developers preferring an agile approach to follow certain steps and ensure not only the swiftness of the applied age framework but also its balance with the quality. Moreover, these issues are simply unacceptable for certain development processes, as video game localization companies will prioritize the quality of their final product, considering a number of stages in which the game becomes localized.

Overcoming Challenges

However the challenges of agile localization appear to be fewer, they still have to be considered in the overall process of software development. Some of the basic tips that can help developers overcome any issues with translation and localization imply to look at those processes pragmatically. Localization is the process just like any other one in software development, which has its own standards, established workflow, and communication. In order for the localization to be as efficient as the development of software itself, all those standards have to be adjusted and applied to specifics of the process. As such, translators have to be provided with a glossary of suggested terms, localization experts have to be able to communicate with members from teams to clarify and specifics in a software code and the overall international collaboration has to be established.

For the challenges to be overcome on the developer’s end, it is always important to remember to hire only professional certified services. Like with, for instance, international driver’s license translation, software translation and localization services must produce the most precise and sufficient result that would make the localized product relatable and familiar to the target audience.

Quality Localization Help

To wrap everything up, localization is highly demanded software nowadays. Yet, the process of localization itself has to follow the suit of the developer teams. Translators and localization experts have to be fast, flexible and complete their tasks well. Quality services should always have a translation proofreader for any type of documents. Although from the perspective of such specialists, all of that is extremely challenging to do, there is a number of translation and localization platforms that manage to overcome those challenges. TheWordPoint, for instance, approaches localization work very individually for every customer and gathers its best resources to make the process of localization for agile teams as efficient as it is required by the modern fast-paced software development industry.


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