How to Utilize SVG in Localization

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is an XML-based file format for vector images. It’s also a great tool for creating responsive localized graphics for the web.

There are also several other methods for creating localized graphics, like our Get Localization for Photoshop plug-in. If you want to externalize all the texts from your images, you can also use HTML and CSS but it will get difficult if your site is responsive (it’s possible though).

SVG however, is a great alternative as you can use a single base background asset (bitmap or vector), externalize textual content and also leverage the scaling of the SVG image to create a responsive graphical asset. In our example, the background is a single bitmap and looks like this:

old_way_arrows_blank

Following piece of XML is actually the SVG image and using the above PNG as a base background image.  You can also use full SVG background as well if you’d like. I’ll use the background bitmap image here just to keep the markup simple and easy.

In this example we use Django’s i18n framework for internalization so the texts will be translated the same way as the rest of the website. If you are using some other framework or CMS, the SVG can be embedded into your HTML code which let you employ the same process you have in place for localizing the HTML content.

When the SVG is rendered in a browser, this is how it looks like:

websites_en

And this is how it looks in Japanese:

websites_ja.jpg

It is also fully responsive; image and text both scale correctly and keep their correct positions when you resize your browser.

There are also few important points which you should consider when creating localized assets. Text length varies in different languages, so make sure you have enough space for the translated text. Also, think how the lengthier or shorter text appears in your image. Ask yourself a question: if this text is longer or shorter, what is going to happen? Is it going to overlap the elements or will there be an ugly white space between the text and the element when text is actually shorter like in this example:

anchor_example

You need to make sure that text extends in the correct direction. Luckily SVG lets you define an anchor position for each text element. It’s used to align the text relative to a given point. For example, you may want to set the anchor point to middle if you want the text to always be centered, no matter how long it is. Or if you want to position the text based on the end coordinate, then the last character will always stay in the same position. This is how we can fix the problem in our example.

If you want to use Google Fonts or similar web fonts, make sure they support the languages you want to translate your site into. Google Fonts lets you search fonts by their supported languages.

So it’s not that hard, really! If you need help with your website translation & localization, let us know. Along with professional translation services, we also provide consultation and various tools for workflow management.

Get Localization offers professional translation services and managed translation & localization solutions for all kind of businesses. 

Cloud, Crowd, and Professional Translators

Cloud, Crowd, and Professional Translators

Stas Kalianov – Localization Manager at Schneider Electric – spoke at the GALA conference in New York in March about the role of translation agencies in software localization, and about who are the most important people in this workflow.

Through a mix of technology, their internal crowd, and professional translators Schneider Electric has achieved a safe and robust process that gives them both lower costs and more user-friendly translations.

Listen below to how they achieved this with the help of Get Localization and how they chose to leave unnecessary steps out of the process (this re-recording of the presentation has been previously published by Stas Kalianov).

Localization and Translation: Snake Oil and Silver Bullets

Localization and Translation: Snake Oil and Silver Bullets

Get Localization is a company with a long background in mobile development. Actually we first started Get Localization as a side project to support our own product localization. In total, we have tens of years of experience on both mobile development and localization.

There’s a lot of discussion in communities about situation of indie developers. Some people are offering localization and translation as a “turnkey solution” for high downloads.

We want to make it clear that localization is not a silver bullet to success. If you localize your moderate app, it still will be a moderate app. But it’s also good to understand that your amazing app will be an utter crap app if it’s localized badly. Why is that?

First of all, people often think localization is a marketing effort. Well sometimes it is but it’s not the full story.

It’s about making your application’s user experience (UX) better.

It’s like optimizing taps and clicks to achieve a smoother experience for the user. If your app is localized badly, it is hard for the user to navigate through it. When it’s localized well, your app feels much easier to use. This means that if you decide to localize, you need to commit to it and consider it as a long-term investment.

But is it worth it? You can experience this yourself. Ask your friend to turn your phone language to Chinese or Japanese and try to navigate to switch the language back. Not so easy? Well that is how majority of people feel when they download your app in plain English.

As a developer you are supposed to make your users feel good so they recommend your app to their friends. This is why you localize your apps, to provide best possible experience to your users.

In this business, return on investment unfortunately doesn’t come instantly. There is no such silver bullet. It just requires a lot of hard work – sometimes years – to be an overnight success.

Get Localization provides a professional translation and crowdsourcing services for developers and lean content creators. Check our software!

Hidden Costs Of Localization

Hidden Costs Of Localization

icebergWhen you think about localization costs, what is the first thing that to your mind? Did you just say translation prices? You are not the only one who would say that. Sometimes that might even be true, but let’s consider a more likely alternative.

We have come across localization projects, where the actual translation cost is somewhere around 10% of the cost of the whole project (and no, I’m not exaggerating). It doesn’t take that advanced math to see where the possibilities for biggest cost savings lie in those cases.  To be honest the ratio of translation and other localization costs is usually not quite this extreme, but would most likely surprise you anyway.

What are those other 90% of costs then? Those costs can e.g. be related to various project management tasks and handling different file formats. Of course, you can’t take away all of that, but for sure some of it.

So here’s a short checklist for you. If you recognize some of the below tasks as something you or your colleagues often do in localization projects, then you have an idea of what hidden costs of localization are:

  • Copy-pasting texts from your resource files to various file formats for translation and then again translations from various file formats to your resource files
  • Sending emails to translators to check how much they have translated
  • Converting your files to different formats
  • Getting charged by translation agencies for converting your files to formats used by the translators
  • Receiving several Excel worksheets with queries from translators

The key to getting rid of these hidden costs? To put it simply, a thought-out process and tools that are focused on you, not only the translation service provider. Lean localization is not a myth, but something most organizations can achieve by taking a critical look at their old habits.

Giving Back – Get Localization and Plan

Giving Back – Get Localization and Plan

Today we would like to tell you about a client that is especially dear to us. Since 2011 Plan Finland has been using Get Localization to coordinate their voluntary translation work. We actually started our relationship by offering them a slightly different service, but soon discovered together with the folks at Plan that the best solution for them is to use Get Localization to coordinate all translation activities of their volunteer translators.

But enough from me, now I’ll give the word to Plan Finland’s Lotta Kallio:

Plan Finland

Q1. Tell us about Plan!

Plan is an international development organization promoting children’s rights.  Plan has been operating in Finland since 1998. Plan International was founded in 1937. Today, around 30,000 people in Finland support our work. Plan is the largest organization practicing child sponsorship in Finland. Plan has no religious or political affiliations. Plan International works in 69 countries and runs development programs in 50 countries. There are fundraising national offices in 22 countries. In Plan’s world, human rights are respected and children realize their full potential as members of society. In addition to development projects and child sponsorship in developing countries, we also work on a national level in Finland, focus on corporate partnerships, advocacy work and communication.

Q2. Please tell us about yourself.

My name is Lotta Kallio and I work as a Sponsorship communications coordinator here at Plan Finland. I oversee the correspondence between our Finnish sponsors and sponsored children around the world. I also coordinate our office and translation volunteer workers.

Q3. How are you using Get Localization?

I’ve found that Get Localization is a very effective way to coordinate translation work to our volunteers. Documents are mainly Plan’s reports of sponsored children’s communities, overviews, annual reports, area updates etc. and the translation languages are English and Finnish at the moment. Get Localization provides a great way for our volunteers to do work from home, it’s easy to access and user friendly. Also, the translation memory is a great feature when the documents have similarities in structure. Loading the documents is simple to and from the program.

Q4. Do you have translation tips or best practices you would like to share with other NGOs?

Our volunteers have been very pleased with this program. Because the documents are “cut” in smaller fragments, a person can translate a few lines at the time so there’s no pressure of having to translate a whole document in a certain timeframe. I’ve found that this encourages our volunteers to do more translation work than via e-mail.

We want to thank Lotta for taking the time to inform our readers about Plan and their experiences with Get Localization! It’s our pleasure to help.

To all our readers, please check out the Plan website. Maybe it could be something for you too? If you want to know about other ways the localization and translation industry is giving back to society, you can check out Translators Without Borders.

Slush Feelings

We had a couple of hectic days of Slush last week. Once again, it was a great experience. Big thanks to the folks at Startup Sauna, Aaltoes and everybody else who was involved in the organization of the event! There was a lot more of everything than in the previous year: more visitors, more start-ups, the Jolla launch and more publicity for the whole event.

One thing that surprised me (positively!) was how much more knowledgeable the start-ups were about localization this year. Last year many companies hadn’t thought about localization at all, but this year that was the other way around. Most people we talked to were already doing something or seriously considering it. All services were available in English, but many were also starting out with at least languages of the nearby markets. Great to hear!

That is not only good news for localization services like ours, but also for the development companies themselves. Localization is not something you shouldn’t start doing before your application or service has been around for a couple of years. No, it’s something you can start doing from the beginning, or that you should at least take into account straight from the start, when you start producing code for your application.

By the way: If you are wondering, why the conference is called ‘Slush’, do check out this weather prognosis for Finnish cities from a week ago. Not much sun there!

Localization With Crowd And Professionals

Earlier we elaborated a bit on crowdsourcing as a method of quality control. But that’s not the only step the crowd can perform in localization. Here are a couple of thoughts around why you might want to go with another combination of professional and crowdsourced work:

Crowdsourced Translation And Professional Editing

Typical reasons to engage the crowd for  the translation part might be for example:

  • Target language doesn’t yet have an established terminology and you want to know what kind of terminology people actually use in their everyday life when using your product.
  • Your application has a large and active user base and you know they want to help you with your product.
  • You want to engage your users and have them develop the product with you.
With an active and large crowd you are able to produce large amounts of text in a short time. You might easily get several people  working on one language at the same time, continually improving each others texts and producing new translations.
You can also let the crowd agree on translations for new terms and concepts, so that you can be sure the application will speak the users’ language. This does not mean that a professional translator could not capture those terms, but  the professional translator might not represent the target group geographically or demographically, which might lead to something else than the desired tone.
Reasons for still giving editing to professional linguists in the same project might be:
  • You want to be as sure as possible that e.g. all grammatical and punctuation errors are gone.
  • You might have defined some style guidelines (maybe even a style guide) and want to check that the translations adhere to these.
  • Your crowd is not big enough or you don’t know it well enough yet, so that you would feel comfortable relying completely on the quality of their output.

How do I know if a combination of crowdsourced translation and professional editing fits my localization needs? First you should ask yourself if you want to crowdsource. That decision should be determined e.g. by your revenue model, user base and content type. If the answer is yes, then take a look at the above listed reasons for having professionals give a finishing touch. If one or more of them apply to you, adding that phase is worth considering.