Many providers of software have moved to an agile development model, and it is no wonder. In the traditional model of software development—commonly referred to as the “waterfall” model—each software product was considered a single project from original concept to final release. This process had a number of problems. Since the software was developed from start to finish as a single piece, including supporting materials, the development process was very lengthy. Bugs might not be identified until late in the process, making them difficult to resolve. The original design was fixed, so developers couldn’t learn that certain features weren’t as useful or attractive as expected until after the entire package was completed. Localization was generally tacked on to the end of the process, so that localized versions came out long after the original software had been released.
With agile development methods, software developers work in “sprints”, with small, self-organizing teams developing software in increments, testing and making changes as they go. The development cycle speeds up with modules coming out much faster. Bugs can be detected and fixed more easily in a smaller module. And features can be changed and updated quickly depending on user reactions and changing technology and expectations. When agile software development includes an agile localization partner, localized versions of each iteration of the software can also be released more quickly and in many more languages.
What is an agile localization partner?
An agile localization partner is a language partner that is prepared to act as a part of the development team to make the localization process as smooth, efficient and quick as possible.
Last year Adobe put out a blog post entitled “Five Golden Rules to Achieve Agile Localization.” Those rules are a good guide to what to look for in an agile localization partner.
Rule 1 – “We are one team!“
Your language partner should be willing to collaborate closely with you: working with your development team’s schedule; devoting dedicated project managers and translators to your projects to ensure that those people become familiar with your company’s needs, preferences, and terminology; communicating and meeting with the team as needed to make sure the process runs smoothly. MTM LinguaSoft already has experience in collaborating with agile development teams on tight schedules.
Rule 2 – “Internationalization is King”
Internationalization refers to the process of developing and designing websites and software so that they can be adapted to different languages and regions with minimal design and/or engineering changes. In particular, developers need to ensure that their code is set up to easily update things like dates, times, and currencies to particular locales. In an agile process, you want to make sure that internationalization is taken into account in every iteration of the software. A good localization partner can educate and advise the development team on internationalization issues so that they are aware of the issues and pitfalls involved. As technology experts, MTM LinguaSoft is well-qualified to give your team the guidance it needs.
Rule 3 – “Integrate Localization into the Development Process”
A localization partner has to be willing to take an active role in the overall process so that they can advise on possible localization issues in code or content early on. Discovering a localization problem after development will hold up the localization process and delay the release of localized versions of the software. With its international network of linguists and cultural trainers, MTM LinguaSoft will collaborate in the planning stages to point out possible localization issues.
Rule 4 – “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”
An agile localization partner can help you streamline your localization efforts in a couple of ways.
First of all, you don’t want to waste time on localizing content that doesn’t need to be localized. For instance, Adobe found through research that Middle Eastern users of their software liked using an English interface with Arabic and Hebrew documentation. This saved the unnecessary cost and time of localizing their product into these right-to-left reading languages. A good localization partner, like MTM LinguaSoft, can use its international network to provide cultural advice on user preferences in various locales.
Another way to reduce your efforts is by minimizing translation errors. We can help you develop style guides and <link>glossaries</link> that reduce localization errors by ensuring consistency in and across projects.
Our use of translation memories means that you can always reuse and recycle previously translated strings, keeping new translation costs to a minimum.
Rule 5 – Automate, Automate, Automate
Your localization partner should work with you to automate as many steps of the localization process as possible to minimize human error and speed up translation. MTM LinguaSoft is always looking for new ways to automate steps in the localization process in accord with each customer’s needs. For customers with a continuing need to translate online applications into a number of languages, we can even suggest technology that automates many of the steps in the translation process, including eliminating the need to pass files back and forth.
If your company wants a truly agile development process, don’t leave localization out of the loop. Bring in an agile localization partner like MTM LinguaSoft.
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