Re: Off topic (but related): Localisation project management

Subject: Re: Off topic (but related): Localisation project management
From: Bill Burns <BillDB -at- ILE -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 09:17:15 -0700

Laurence writes:

> My company is developing a software for which I wrote the software =
> strings and the online help. We want to have the sotware localized in =
> other languages. I will have to manage the localization project.
> =20
> The software strings (dialogs, menus and actual strings) are in a *.rc =
> file.=20
> How must I proceed? Should I send the *.rc file, leaving it to the =
> localizer to extract the translatable items? Is that directly and easily =
> feasable with tools such as Corel Catalyst or Red? Do they guarantee the =
> code's integrity? Should I demand that such or such a tool be used, or =
> can I leave it up to the localizer? Which tool do you recommend?
> =20
You need to speak to the localization suppliers and ask them specifically
what they need from you. Localization agencies have different production
processes (although they all peform many of the same activities). Some
agencies have homegrown tools that extract strings from RC files; others use
commerical tools. In some cases, the application is rebuilt and verified
following translation; in other cases, the translated strings are shipped
back to the developer who then rebuilds and verifies the software. It just
depends on the requirements of the job. So find a localization vendor and
who can guide you through the process. You certainly don't want to pick the
tools or determine the process if you don't know all of the requirements for
the job.

> The online help is HTML help and comes in a *.chm compiled file.=20
> It is made up of about 120 HTML files, images, a *.hhp files (project), =
> a *.hhc file (TOC) and a *.hhk file (index). Should I send the *.chm =
> file so that the localizer sees what it looks like compiled, and send =
> all the files that make it up as well? Should I demand that the help be =
> delivered to me recompiled and ready for use? How does this generally =
> go?=20
You should send the compiled file so the engineer has something to compare
with localized versions, but again, you need to find out from the supplier
what they need to do the job. Typically (at least in our process), the
engineers compile the localized version to ensure that it functions like the
original. You might also want to verify the agencies' experience with

> =20
> What tool can I use to count rapidly and automatically the number of =
> translatable words in the software (*.rc) and in the HTML help (*.chm)?=20
I don't know about the RC files, but you might try HTMLHelp QA from
Translation Craft for the CHM files. (Robin, one of the developers, might be
lurking here somewhere.) Go to to download a trial

> The software and the help are both already available in French and =
> English. Which language should I send for localization? I figure English =
> would be the best choice since that is the usual "computer language", =
> and the most common localized language in that field. Do you confirm?
This depends on the agency. Some have processes optimized for a specific
source language to the target languages. Again, check with the agencies you
choose. If you're using more than one agency, you'll probably want to choose
one source to ensure consistency.

> Given that our software is supposed to evolve, I must start thinking =
> about future updates of the software strings and the online help. Should =
> I demand the use of translation memory tools such as Trados, and require =
> that the translation memory be delivered with the localized files? Is =
> this billable (and how expensive, say, per word, knowing that it can =
> save the localizer a considerable amount of time as well)?
> =20
If this is your first pass at localization, then it may be an excellent time
to use TM. It could make alignment of the source and target langauges much
less costly. However, there may be complicating factors with TM, so work
with the agency to determine whether TM is the right choice.

Is Sarah Carroll out there? She might be able to give more details about TM.

> Finally: how can I find the perfect localizer? Localization must be done =
> in the target country (that is a requirement in our company).
Do you mean that the *translation* must be done in country? The localization
involves all of the reengineering that must be done for the product as well
as the translation, and you might have quite a task ahead of you trying to
find in-country localization engineering for every locale.

> I =
> personnally want at least one person for the actual translation and a =
> different person for the editing work, for safety.=20
> Should I work with free-lance translators? How can I be sure that the =
> person is qualified enough (knowing that nobody in my company can speak =
> the target languages)? Should I contact big agencies like Lionbridge or
> Berlitz in my home =
> country and leave it up to them to find the qualified persons in the =
> target country? Or should I find agencies directly in the target =
> country?=20
Keep in mind that translation is only part of the process. Companies like
Lionbridge (or like ILE) have a complete localization engineering process.
Freelance translators typically don't get involved in the engineering part
(other than for verification). In our process, at least, editing is a
separate step and is performed by someone other than the original

<blatant plug>BTW, we now have an office in Amersfoort in the Netherlands
and are working to bolster our European presence.</blatant plug>

> I suppose that the more go-betweens I contact, the more it will cost. =
> Can you confirm?
> =20
> Timingwise: how much time should the full localization (translation, =
> editing, compiling, verification, etc.) of, say, 50,000 words, take?
Depending on how you approach it, you could increase the project management
you have to do yourself. Project management is one of the biggest resource
drains in the localization process, and if you're not familiar with
localization project management, then you may create a lot of work for

Again, check with the agencies to find out how they work before you start
making decisions. I'm a technical writer within a localization agency, and
my experience is limited to our process and our methods. More experienced
folks will be better able to guide you (which is why I've reiterated that
point throughout this response).

Bill Burns
Senior Technical Writer/Technology Consultant
ILE Communications Group
billdb -at- ile -dot- com

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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