Agile Challenges for Localization

This is a summary of an article written by Adam Asnes of Lingoport for the Jan./Feb. 2011 issue of Multilingual.

Agile development has changed the way that software has been developed and has yielded many positive results. Agile allows for development in short, three week sprints, resulting in more frequent product releases. It allows for companies to keep up and push the threshold of software development without dealing with all the administrative issues that can delay a release, often rendering a product obsolete since it is out-of-date. Undoubtedly, this leaves customers happy too as they get frequent updates and can stay up to speed on a weekly/monthly basis.

With rapid development becoming more popular in the international arena, developers using agile need a software analysis tool that can stay up to speed with frequent updates.  As part of the software development process, internationalization fits right in to agile development. Agile is a never-ending process of development and refinement, as is internationalization, so both go hand in hand when implementing an agile strategy.

Usually the final step in the development process, localization has been put on the back burner when it comes to software development. I think of it in terms of a ripple in a pond. The initial oscillations carry more momentum, are more powerful and are the most noticeable. As the oscillations spread out, they get weaker, have less momentum and are often overlooked. The initial splash in agile development is much more exciting and it often gets all the glory in terms of creating a great product. As that splash moves outward, there is less excitement as it spreads to new “locales.” What I’m getting at here, is that localization is somehow disconnected from agile development. Localization takes more time, and cannot be done in the same short intervals as development. There are more things to consider: which locales are best and how long do these customers have to wait to receive the latest version of the product. This disconnect cannot be solved, but there are ways to enhance the development process so businesses don’t waste too much time. Read the full article at