Software GUI Localization refers to the translation of the software’s graphical user interface (GUI) components: dialog boxes, menus, and error and status messages that display on a user’s screen. The best localization process usually starts with the software GUI translation; online help and user documentation translation should only begin after all software GUI strings have been taken care of and reviewed. This is because online help and user manuals often contain numerous references to software user interface elements; with all GUI strings translated, consistency across all documents and for all product components is ensured.
In a typical software localization project, the following GUI components need to be translated:
- Dialog boxes
- Alert Messages
In modern application development, most of the GUI components are stored in external resource files. These resource files are then compiled into binary executable files. For example, on Windows, .rc files are compiled into .dll files using a compiler such as Visual C++.
CSOFT offers complete support whatever the file format for translation. We work directly with compiled binary executable files to minimize accidental changes to formatting codes within the .rc files. In addition to translating .rc and binary program files, the CSOFT localization engineering team can also help our clients perform localized dialog box resizing and cosmetic and linguistic testing.
Online help is one of the largest translation components for today’s localization projects. Online help files have become the medium of choice for the following reasons:
- Cost savings over printed manuals
- Updates and revisions can be easily distributed over the Internet
- Context-sensitive help allows users instant access to required information
- Users can easily navigate through the content and see related topics
- Rich media features allow for more effective product demonstrations and instructions
CSOFT is fully capable of localizing any online help system:
- HTML or XML-based help such as HTML Help and JavaHelp (.chm)
- CSOFT is fully capable of localizing any online help system:
- WinHelp 3 and 4 (.hlp and .cnt)
Our translators and help publishers are intimately familiar with various components used to build a help system such as hidden text, formatting tags, footnotes, sorted items and cascading style sheets (CSS). CSOFT uses a variety of software tools for each phase of the localization cycle: CAT tools (Trados, Transit, ForeignDesk) for translating the text, help authoring tools (Robohelp, Webworks, Help&Manual, Forehelp) for formatting and engineering the localized help, and testing tools (HelpQA, HTMLQA) for assuring the proper functionality of the help file.
CSOFT offers professional localization testing in addition to our standalone software testing solutions which include internationalization (I18n), functionality, and localization testing.
Localization testing focuses primarily on a product’s cosmetic and linguistic characteristics. For example, once localized, the software needs to be verified on different platforms to see if translated options fill in the target dialog boxes and if all hotkeys use unique letters. CSOFT conducts localization testing separately for each target language using a subset of the testing scripts developed for the English version. If such testing scripts are not available, we can also work with our clients to develop a testing strategy such as going through the translated resource files to check every menu, dialog box and message.
Our linguistic testing usually concerns the following issues:
- If all UI strings have been tested (both hardcoded and external resource strings)
- Translation consistency between menu items and dialog box titles
- If accented characters display and print properly
- Punctuation rules
- Localized text wraps, hyphenation, and sorting
- If hotkey assignment is consistent with the target operating system
The following is a list of items we test for cosmetic issues:
- Ensure all dialog boxes are properly resized without truncation
- Uniqueness of all hotkeys in dialog boxes and menus
- Extended characters display as expected
- Alignment of buttons, consistent sizing of screen elements and overall aesthetics
- Dialog boxes and menu display properly using regional settings