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Translating your software for a global market

The Internet allows shareware software authors to reach a global market. However, if your software is published in only one language, you could be missing out on customers.

If you are thinking of translating your software into multiple languages, it is vital that you consider the time, money and resources associated with doing so.

Localisation and resource files

Many software development suites today make it easy to develop localised (multi-language) versions of a software product. With some applications it is as easy as switching between languages as you design user interfaces using a drop-down list. Others might require you to use strings stored in a resource file.

Being able to design user interfaces in multiple languages all in the same software development project can save you a lot of time. However, if such functionality isn't available to you, you might need to maintain more than one project, each containing a different language version of your software. This can take considerable resources because each change you make to one project needs to be made to all.

Getting your software translated

Even if you're fluent in more than one language, chances are you might want to translate your software into additional languages as well.

Having a professional, accredited translator do the work for you is always the best option.

Never use online translation tools - they are very inaccurate and are only intended to help you comprehend the general meaning of text written in a language that you are not familiar with.

Translating your website

In addition to translating your software, you will most likely also need to translate your website. Unless you're able to maintain the multi-language version(s) of your website yourself, you might require the services of a translator on an ongoing basis, which over time can be a considerable expense.

Providing technical support and customer service

If you offer your software in more than one language, customers are also likely to expect to obtain support and customer service in those languages. Unless you are fluent in those languages, you would need to obtain the services of a translator each time you send and receive an email.

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