Trends in Mobile & Social Applications

The global marketplace is booming for online games, social & mobile games and applications. We have been working with Danica Brinton of LocLabs –a heralded “rock star” in the social/mobile space– recently, and are delighted that she shared some of her insight with us.

Abstract from Social & Mobile Apps and Globalization

There is a level of instant gratification seen from the localization of social games unseen in comparison to software, handhelds, CPU’s, search and web services. This stems from the viral nature of the social-gaming sphere where users are inclined to share games that they enjoy and want to play with friends. Often overlooked, however is that 75% of Facebook users come from outside the US and most prominent social games have over 70% of their user base and 50% of their revenue coming from locales in which the game has been localized. As mobile smart phone adoption grows internationally, the percentages of international usage and revenue (after proper localization) will grow rapidly.

Another trend that presents interesting localization challenges is that of cross-platform apps and games; i.e.: switching Facebook, Android and iPhone platforms. Market tiers differ for these platforms, so do the research into what locales feature more prominently for each platform.

Lastly, it is often quoted that India and China are emerging in the mobile market. As of now, however, India does not necessitate language localization and Mainland China does not present a good positive ROI investment for app localization.


Submit a question for Danica for the upcoming webinar Taking your Mobile Apps Global on LocLabs’ Facebook page, Facebook.com/LocLabs


Register for Webinar: Games and Mobile i18n and L10n

 

 

 

 

Survey on Software Localization

A call for participation has been announced for a survey from the University of West London that examines the interoperation of software development and localization processes and its influence on the quality and development effort. It is geared toward those that have participated in the creation of software for international markets, including websites. The survey is open until December 25, 2011.

The survey is available at: http://samsa.uwl.ac.uk/locdevsurvey/index.php?sid=75766&lang=en

Common Sense Advisory: “How to Craft a Multilingual Web Strategy”

Common Sense Advisory, Inc., an independent market research firm specializing in the language services industry, has released “How to Craft a Multilingual Web Strategy.” The report uses the US Hispanic market to showcase the best and worst online ethnic marketing strategies from 12 global companies, including GE, Samsung and McDonald’s.

For info, email info@commonsenseadvisory.com or visit http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com

Game Localization: the Basics

With a number of foreign markets emerging with buying power and tech-aptitude, product managers are focusing more on adapting their products to those foreign markets. This is especially the case with the emergence of smart phones and social networks that are capable of providing a platform for games. The combination of these emerging markets and emerging game platforms has led to an emphasis on localization for game developers.

Game localization is the process of preparing a game for a new locale. It goes beyond simple translation to consider linguistic issues, hardware issues and cultural differences that each target locale requires. Like all forms of localization, game localization has become a paramount task for developers to undertake when creating a new game with so much of the game market coming from non-English speaking countries. From context for translation, to understanding cultural differences, ensuring quality is paramount to a successful international release.

Language

“All your base are belong to us” – an infamous line from the 1991 video game Zero Wing that has become something of a cultural hit. Translating a video game’s dialogue is a tricky task. Translators need to work off of context, something that standalone video game text does not provide. With so many games now allowing users to make their own decisions, the context for each point of dialogue is different in each instant. Planning ahead and providing context to the translation team, instead of just a translation sheet, assures better quality, and better ease of translation.
Also take into consideration that different languages use a different amount of text to convey the same idea. Don’t overlook resizing of text boxes, and ensure that there is enough space available for the necessary text.

Culturalization

Like any product being prepared for a new locale, cultural aspects must be considered when localizing. Games are no different. Typically, gamers in Japan are drawn to younger game characters on a quest to find themselves while American gamers are drawn to older, more rugged ones. The perception of violence, blood and gore in video games will also affect public opinion on a localized game. Keeping track of where those aspects of the game are in your development process will save time when localizing. Do the necessary research to understand what your target market values in a game. Take care of this first, it will prove valuable in the long run.

Legal

Countries have different governing bodies that enforce ratings on games. Issues with violence, sex or foul language must be considered when preparing a game for a new locale. It is possible that a game can be banned if it does not meet the standards set in place by the governing body in a new territory.

Conclusion
Ensuring that all these steps are taken will grant a more successful international release. Taking note of where localization issues will arise, during the initial game development process, will save time and money when aiming for a simultaneous release in multiple markets.

Gamers take value in high-quality games. Taking the necessary steps to understand a foreign market is valuable to the success of a localized game. Developing games for multiple locales? Visit Lingoport.com for internationalization support.

Lingoport and Cisco Systems to Co-Present at Localization World Silicon Valley 2011 in Santa Clara

Kent Grave of Cisco Systems and Adam Asnes of Lingoport to Discuss Creating an Internationalization and Localization Plan

BOULDER, CO – October 7, 2011 – Lingoport, a leading provider of software internationalization tools and i18n consulting services, announced today that Kent Grave, Program Specialist I18N and L10N at Cisco Systems and Adam Asnes, President and CEO at Lingoport are speaking on creating an internationalization and localization plan at this fall’s Localization World Silicon Valley 2011 in Santa Clara, California. The presentation takes place on Tuesday, October 11th at 4:30pm at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

Cisco and Lingoport have recently joined forces on internationalizing and localizing Cisco’s TelePresence, an advanced video conferencing system that provides a 1080p video feed along with spatial audio, creating a virtual conference room. Kent Grave will focus on discussing localization related aspects and Adam Asnes will provide additional insights on how to create an internationalization project plan in this hour long presentation. Program details and speakers’ biographies are available at http://www.localizationworld.com/lwsv2011/programDescription.php#C4.

Localization World provides an excellent opportunity for companies interested in production or sales in international markets to learn from experts in software, social media, advertising, marketing and publishing, as well as specialists in localization, international web development and sales. The conference features keynote speaker Sarah Lacyauthor of Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky: How the Top 1% of Entrepreneurs Profit from Global Chaos and senior editor at TechCrunch.com, and program speakers include senior executives from large and mid-sized international enterprises and research companies.

Localization World is produced by MultiLingual Computing, Inc. and The Localization Institute. To register, please visit: http://www.localizationworld.com/lwsv2011/registration.php. Press passes are available with official press credentials by contacting Kevin Watson at 208-263-8178.

Lingoport also announces that it will host a panel discussion and networking event on the eve of Localization World in Santa Clara on Monday, October 10th starting at 2:30pm. For additional information, please visit: http://www.lingoport.com/training-events/leading-globalized-software-development-i18n-l10n/.

About Lingoport (www.lingoport.com)
Lingoport helps globally focused technology companies adapt their software for worldwide markets with expert internationalization and localization consulting and Globalyzer software.
Globalyzer, a market leading software internationalization tool, helps entire enterprises and development teams to effectively internationalize existing and newly developed source code and to prepare their applications for localization.

For more information, please visit http://www.lingoport.com or http://www.globalyzer.com or contact Lingoport at +1 303 444 8020 or info@lingoport.com.

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Website Localization: Factors to Consider

The Emergence of Brazil

With nearly one-third of the world population using the internet, more and more opportunities are arising for people to communicate and for companies to reach new markets. Adapting an e-commerce website to a new locale has become an essential way for online businesses to survive and thrive in new markets. In an insightful post from the GPI Translation Blog, we learn first hand some of the strategies that go into localizing a website for a new locale; specifically Brazil.

Brazil will be in the world spotlight in the coming years with the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. China gets the headlines as the next economic superpower, but Brazil lies-in-wait as another market ready to explode. With a current base of 50 million Internet users, Brazil presents an excellent business opportunity for companies. But what specifically must be done to sell to these new consumers? Selling strategies in the United States do not stick in Brazil; new approaches must be developed.

Brazilian Market

  • The Internet is predominantly used by upper and middle-classes, but government initiatives have worked to gain funding for Internet cafes to help lower income groups have Internet access.

Brazilian Consumers & Culture

  • Brazilian society places high importance on looking good and appearance.
  • Brazilians prefer goods made within their own country whenever possible.
  • Decision-making power for Brazilian women has increased.
  • Brazilians are often budget-conscious and look for the absolute best value they can find.
  • Latin cultures place great emphasis on family and community, Brazil included.
  • Brazilian culture values masculinity which can be depicted as achievement, success, adventure and fun.

Brazilian Portuguese vs. European Portuguese

  • When localizing a website for Brazil, consider many of the spelling and verb tense differences within the two main Portuguese dialects.

SEO & SEM in Brazil

  • As all marketing strategies go, Brazilian SEO campaigns need to be multidimensional.
  • Be advised that while focusing on Portuguese search terms is important, bilingual users also use English to search and navigate the Internet.
  • Keywords and key phrases need not just be translated. Cultural and linguistic issues affect what people search for.

For more information on this subject, please visit:  http://blog.globalizationpartners.com/brazilian-website-localization.aspx

Creating a Multilingual SEO Plan

Multilingual SEO Best Practices

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a valuable way to reach your market and increase relevant traffic to your website. Often times, however, companies that localize their site in multiple languages neglect to implement the same strategies they use in their original content SEO. When done effectively, multilingual SEO can be more valuable than traditional advertising methods and can put your company’s content right in front of a potential customer.

Managing Content Costs

Naturally, there are budgetary constraints on how much content can be localized with tender loving care. Granted, machine translation is easy, but that translated content may not pass along the same message if it isn’t translated professionally. So prioritizing which content would be most valuable to translate for a foreign market is essential to monitoring costs and ensuring quality.

Keyword Research

A basic principle in marketing is understanding how your potential customers think; how will they describe their needs in terms of your product. Through monitoring analytics and reviewing what keywords are most useful to draw views to a website, can you determine what phrases and words to focus on when optimizing SEO. The same idea applies to multilingual SEO. But simply translating a popular English search phrase or keyword into Spanish, for example, isn’t the most effective way to optimize in Spanish (have you ever tried to translate curse words and/or phrases? It’s not really the same is it?). Understanding how your translated content will be found by your target market is essential. Use your company’s resources in your target locale. Have the in-country marketing team review and approve translated keywords and phrases.

Enhance your Reputation

Providing great content to your customers is a great way to establish trust. When your international customers see that your and your company are making an effort to communicate clearly with them, that extra effort is appreciated, leading to an improved reputation and increased sales.

It all boils down to understanding your market. What are your customers needs? What can you provide to fill those needs? Helping your customers make informed decisions, in all languages, is paramount to maintaining a successful global brand.

View Lingoport’s latest webinar to learn about culturizing your brand.

For more information on this topic, please view Best Practices: Successfully Marketing Your Brand to a Global Audience

Webinar Recording: Product Brand Culturalization

Exposing your brand in the correct, culturalized form is an essential first step in success in foreign markets. We recently held a webinar on Product Brand Culturalization to help companies grasp the strategies needed to reap a significant ROI in foreign markets. Thank you to all who attended.

Establishing a Global Business Plan

Creating a robust global marketing plan in the face of economic uncertainty is a difficult task; but a necessary one. As global markets expand and become valuable customers, successful businesses must strive to develop good relationships and good products for those markets. The business reasons for expanding to a global market are often understood, but the process can be difficult. This is where companies go wrong and the localization and internationalization process becomes a time & cost consuming project.

Getting it done right the first time is an important way to ensure cost control and quality. Creating an understanding of the global business plan across the company is paramount to avoiding miscommunication and successfully implementing a global strategy. Have the internationalization/localization team sit down and discuss what metrics will be used to measure success. Enable one person of expertise to overlook the whole process and cross-check it to make sure the project meets the standards initially established. Think of this as a sort of version control; everything meets the same standards even though it is being produced by different teams.

Remember, customers prefer buying in their own language. So when developing a global business plan, put yourself in the shoes of the potential customer. Would you buy a product that you don’t understand? Not likely. This is why quality internationalization and localization are so important in creating a successful global business.

Product Brand Culturalization

Join us for an upcoming webinar on on Thursday, August 25 on adapting your product and brand for specific cultures and markets. Presented by localization and internationalization veterans Talia Baruch and Chris Raulf, this presentation will discuss the challenges that companies take on when moving their brand to a global market. Through their experiences, Baruch and Raulf have developed a deep understanding of what it takes to develop a great relationship between a brand and the needs of the global marketplace.

Registration

Webinar: “Product Brand Culturalization”
Date and Time: Thursday, August 25 at 11am PT / Noon MT / 1pm CT / 2pm ET
Registration: Register for free @ https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/642793497
Where: Your desktop
Presenters: Talia Baruch, Localization & Culturalization Consultant, Copyous and Chris Raulf, Marketing Director, Lingoport

This presentation targets business managers, marketing managers, product managers, internationalization and localization managers, and anyone else wanting to learn more about the product localization, internationalization, and culturalization process.

For more detailed information, please visit http://www.lingoport.com/webinars/product-brand-culturalization/

The Challenges of Bidirectional Languages

With the emergence of western relations with the Middle East, emphasis on bidirectionalization (sometimes written as b18n or BiDi) of web applications has increased in recent years. In basic terms, bidirectional languages contain text from multiple alphabets and content written in both left-to-right and right-to-left forms.

This past February, Roozbeh Pournader, an internationalization expert at HighTech Passport, spoke on this issue and offered a number of insights and ideas as to how to overcome bidirectional hurdles within software internationalization and localization. You can see a screen shot from the presentation to the right where some bidirectional issues are explored (notice the sentence structure). Pournader touches on the fact that in order to localize your application into a bidirectional language, you basically have to hack your own program; it isn’t easy. But when looked at in the right light, bidirectionalization is an opportunity to enter a new market and gain trust with a new group. It’s just part of the internationalization and localization process; do it right the first time and you’ll be rewarded.

Roozbeh Pournader’s talk focuses on the common problems of bidirectionalization, current approaches taken by the industry, and gives suggestions for avoiding headaches while providing some examples of bidirectionalization for web apps.

Also, be sure to read up on bidirectionalization with a great whitepaper from Enlaso: http://www.enlaso.com/Language_Tech_Center/White_Papers/Content/103_Arabic_and_Bidirectional_Challenges.pdf

Can Internationalization be Pursued Within Your Own Country?

At the root of the word internationalization is the word international, implying that internationalization is strictly a foreign endeavor. This, however, is a common misconception. In the 2010 Census, over 50 million people indicated they were of Latino or Hispanic origin (16.3% of the total US population), of which roughly 50% identifies itself as having limited English skills, meaning that there are important considerations to make for companies in  marketing and branding efforts. Part of these efforts, of course, are involved in the localization of products and content for different locales (including different locales in your own back yard).

Localization sells in such a way that most businesses have yet to grasp. People are most comfortable buying in a language that they understand, so businesses need to take advantage of the emerging buying power of non-English speakers.  Ideas? Prepare your website for new locales or write your site in a clear, concise voice so that it can be more easily translated by an automatic service like Google Translate.

In the coming weeks I will touch on other ways companies can capitalize on emerging locales. Stay tuned!

Is Globalization Endangering Increasingly Rare Languages?

This blog post is a summary of a post written by Nigel Hollis for the M&M Blog.

The trend in language and globalization suggests that rare languages only spoken by a few people in specific areas are dying off. Nigel Hollis suggests the opposite is happening is some areas as teenagers in places like the Philippines, Mexico and Chile are reviving their local languages through social media. This attraction to dying languages is an interesting way for young people to identify with a group and feel like they belong. I often see this phenomenon within groups of friends after you have spent a great deal of time with them. You develop your own language or “code”; different phrases have different meanings, inside jokes are developed, and only the people within your group understand the full meaning behind everything you say.

But this developing trend has important consequences that global businesses need to consider. As I have touched on before, social media acts as the face of a company; the place were consumers and potential consumers communicate with each other and with the company about their wants, needs and concerns. Hollis notes groups want to affirm their cultural identity in the face of globalization. People like to stay in their comfort zone, so it is important for companies to provide a forum where their customers feel comfortable. Applying a specific strategy in each locale is paramount to the long-term success of a global business.

For the full article, please visit http://blog.creamglobal.com/right_brain_left_brain/2011/07/digital-media-facilitate-localization-as-well-as-globalization.html

Internationalization Software Globalyzer 3.6 Release

The latest Globalyzer Release Features new Programming Languages, new Rule Sets, Additional Support to Help Software Development Teams Share the String Externalization Work, and an Internationalization Scorecard

Lingoport, a provider of i18n tools and internationalization consulting services, announced yesterday the release of Globalyzer 3.6. Lingoport also announced that it will participate in an online panel presentation along with Zynga, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard, to discuss software development and localization on Wednesday, August 3rd.

Globalyzer—a client/server software internationalization system—assists development teams in internationalizing source code as an integral part of future releases. Globalyzer finds, fixes, and monitors issues quickly so that software applications are ready for localization and worldwide customer requirements.

The latest Globalyzer release features many new enhancements, including new supported programming languages: Qt and ActionScript plus enhanced XML and MXML support. Globalyzer 3.6 also adds shared string externalization support to help development teams working together on internationalization efforts as well as an internationalization scorecard, enabling managers to track key internationalization metrics over time.

Adam Asnes, founder and CEO of Lingoport, notes: “We are very excited to announce that Globalyzer is further extending support for programming languages like ActionScript, used in Flex and Flash applications, and enterprise global readiness analysis that we’ve seen become more important among our customers. We also keep adding features to help teams of developers support internationalization, as that’s an endeavor that runs across teams rather than just individual developers.” He continues: “More than ever, Globalyzer assures that a software application is global-ready as part of the development cycle, thus enabling companies to enter new markets faster while raising quality and lowering worldwide development, translation, and support costs.”

Lingoport’s software i18n tool now also features an internationalization scorecard. The scorecard system provides a dashboard of internationalization status and progress using XML data collected via scan history using Globalyzer’s Command Line. The i18n scorecard was recently discussed in an hour-long webinar presentation and featured guest-speakers Mike McKenna, Sr. Manager, International Engineering, from Zynga, and Leandro Reis, Senior Globalization Program Manager, from Adobe Systems. A recording of the presentation may be viewed at: http://www.lingoport.com/internationalization-webinar-video/#17

The Globalyzer 3.6 release notes are available on Lingoport’s website at:http://www.lingoport.com/software-internationalization-products/globalyzer-3/release-notes/

University of Washington to Offer Localization Certificate Program

The University of Washington Professional & Continuing Education is offering a Certificate program in localization which provides an overview of and practical experience with this rapidly growing field through a three-course, nine-month program. The courses are offered in the evening and can be taken in the classroom as well as online. They provide a strong foundation in terms of concepts and tools, engineering practices, and project management. Students gain valuable practical experience, hear from guest speakers working in the industry, research and use current translation & localization tools, as well as delve into both the engineering and the project management side. The classroom section is a traditional offering while the online section uses AdobeConnect to allow online students to hear the instructor live, see the instructor’s presentation, and interact with the class via chat. Online sessions are also recorded.

General program areas include linguistics & translation, business norms & cultural issues, user-interface design, formatting, project workflow & roles and an overview of the technology & tools. In addition, the program includes guest speakers and a panel of practitioners some of whom graduated from the program to talk about their career and what is needed to get a job in the field. Specific consideration is given to topics such as alphabets & scripts, character encoding, text processing, graphical representation of text, spelling variants for different countries where the same language is spoken, cultural appropriateness, language translations, symbols, aesthetics, local content as well as customs considerations.

Past students have come from diverse backgrounds, including foreign language learners, translators, software testers, technical writers, linguistics, software developers, project managers, and localization engineers.

The program has an advisory board which includes UW faculty & staff, as well as industry representatives from Microsoft, Lionbridge, Adobe, Getty Images, Google, MultiLingual Magazine, Adaquest, and several others. Students who complete all three courses receive a Certificate from UW Professional & Continuing Education. From a career perspective we can also attest to the fact that students who enrolled in the program received both internships & jobs soon after completing the program. These positions included companies such as Microsoft, Real Networks, Amazon.com, SDL, Big Fish, Nintendo, Übermind, and Moravia.

Applications are now being accepted for the program starting October 5, 2011. Additional program details and course descriptions can be found here: http://www.pce.uw.edu/prog.aspx?id=6040

A Robotic Introduction to Bridging the Gap between Software Development and Localization

So, you’ve developed a new software application, and have high aspirations in terms of selling your application to a global audience. Now what? Problems often arise between developers, localization managers, and business managers due to perceived lack of support, time, and money.

This lack of understanding can lead to great frustration within the development tiers. Join us for an hour long online panel discussion and learn how some of the best known industry thought leaders are contributing to bridging the gap between software development and localization.

Join us Wednesday, August 3rd at 9:30am PT for a discussion led by a panel of experts on Bridging the Gap Between Software Development and Localization. Registration is available at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/964415249

Google Webmaster Question: Can Duplicated Localized Content Hurt Your Site?

I came across an interesting take on localized web content and its effect on search results. Companies often have different versions of the same site that have been tweaked in terms of language and currency. Google often penalizes duplicate content since spammers try to take advantage of repeating links over and over again. But have no fear, Google recognizes the hard work real companies put into their sites. Watch below and learn first-hand from Google Webmaster guru Matt Cutts.

Upcoming Webinar: Bridging the Gap Between Software Development and Localization

Mister Zebra and Miss Giraffe introduce you to Lingoport’s next webinar: Bridging the Gap Between Software Development and Localization.

This webinar will feature a panel of software development, internationalization and localization professionals and will be held on Wednesday, August 3rd at 12:30pm EDT.

Technical managers, software engineers, test engineering managers, QA managers, internationalization and localization managers, technical writers, content developers, and anyone wanting to learn more on how to optimize their global software releases are encouraged to attend.

Sign up here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/964415249

Brazil Emerging as Game Localization Market

Brazil’s emergence on the tech scene has allowed game developers a whole new market to cater to. Recently, Hazit Online Games partnered with Brussels, Belgium-based localization company MO Group International to help aid their localization development for games in Brazil. The full press release is available here: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/pressreleases/73785/Hazit_Online_Games_Chooses_MO_Group_International_for_SecondMMO_Localization_Project.php

Successful localization in Brazil is a great example for companies looking to take advantage of new emerging markets, especially for games. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, companies are taking advantage of Chinese emergence by providing free access to software and providing paid add-ons once trust is established. This sort of market understanding is a successful localization strategy in that companies need not only to translate, but adapt their software and marketing strategy upon entering a new locale.

How Does Localization Relate to Social Media?

This post was inspired by an article written by Clinton Lanier on Technorati. The article can be viewed here: http://technorati.com/business/article/a-new-theory-of-social-media/

Many companies use social media to get in direct contact with their customer base. This allows consumers to engage with each other as well as the product makers about their issues, concerns, recommendations or satisfaction with a product. This instant feedback approach has reshaped how companies deal with customers: feedback is instant.

But what if their is no forum for your company’s customers to discuss their concerns in their own language using their own forum? Companies that have localized their product to multiple locales need also to consider localizing their social media messages for that same location. As I wrote before in a post about localized software in China, a successfully localized product considers all aspects of a product, not just translation. This same idea applies to the social aspects of said product.

A feedback avenue should be established for international customers to discuss their concerns, just as there is for domestic customers. In his article, Lanier suggests companies establish a social media presence in every locale they sell in, but his argument doesn’t necessarily apply to tech companies. His examples include Starbucks and Panera Bread shaping their message to specific demographics across a country (Happy Cinco de Mayo! Show this tweet and receive a free drink!). This messaging is effective for its goal, but goals as they relate to software and technology are obviously different (and that’s what we’re focusing on here).

Companies that have localized well have already established a presence within the locales they sell in. Assuming a trust has been created between the company and the consumer in a locale, setting up a social media avenue should be easy. My suggestion would be to do a little research into what social media platforms are most popular in a given locale, and set up an account focused on that area. Assuming your product has already been localized to that area, you should be familiar with the concerns of customers in that locale. Use this background information to establish a dialogue with customers to help further refine your product. Localization isn’t a one-time process, it’s ongoing and never ending as technology improves at an incredible rate. Staying on the front lines through social media will undoubtedly help shape a successful localization campaign.