SaaS localization can help your software get noticed. The key is understanding what the process involves and how it benefits SaaS companies, so you can enter new markets and outpace the competition.
What is software localization?
Cultural differences can affect the way we interact and engage with platforms, meaning it is important to tweak software before launching abroad. In software localization, experts adapt certain features to suit users in a specific country or region. It goes beyond simple translation.
Imagine, for example, that you decide to upgrade your software at work. You find a great platform from another country and see that it is available in your language. But, when you open the software, things don’t feel quite right.
Maybe features such as the menu don’t display on the side you’d expect, the text spacing makes the instructions difficult to read, or the tone of voice sounds overly formal. There might be references you don’t fully understand, or the subscription options could be in a foreign currency.
The software has been translated, but not localized. Localization can mean changing layout, content, imagery, cultural references, tone of voice, and more, all to suit the new audience. It should feel as though it was made with them in mind, and not simply adapted.
Types of SaaS localization
Localization can touch a vast number of areas. Below, you can find some common examples of features that may need to be adapted.
- Layout and spacing
Translated text won’t be the same length as the original. In some cases, it can be very different. Shorter texts create unwanted blank spaces on the page, while longer text might be cut off or look squashed and difficult to read.
It’s important to consider all text on the page, not just paragraphs. For instance, a certain button might be very important for collecting signups, but if the call-to-action text is too long, it might not display properly, costing potential sales.
Likewise, if the translation reads in a different direction to the original (for example right to left text), then elements will need to be relocated to suit this.
- Cultural references
Localization takes into account the customs and habits of the local audience. This includes cultural references. When looking at software from your own perspective, it can be difficult to see which features won’t suit users coming from different cultures.
That’s why it’s important to consult someone who deeply understands the target country or region.
- Third-party integrations
Certain apps are more popular in some countries than others. Making sure that any integrations match the new users’ expectations is important. For example, payment and sign-up should be just as easy in the new region.
When Airbnb added log-in options through WeChat or Weibo, it grew its Chinese customer base by an incredible 700%.
It may also be important to adapt your software to work with systems that your users will be used to, e.g. financial systems.
- The right words: units of measurement, currency, terminology, and more…
Translating from one language to another changes the words, but it doesn’t necessarily take into account the region the reader is from.
For instance, users from the UK and the US share a language, but there are many things they don’t share. In the US, the imperial measurement system is the norm. Meanwhile, in the UK a mixture of the metric and imperial systems is used.
The currencies are not the same, either, and there are also differences in everyday words such as package and parcel, and store and shop. Choosing not just words in the right language, but the right words for that specific audience, can change the user experience.
Which types of localization do you need?
It’s up to you how much or little of your software to localize. But that decision is best made by consulting experts who understand the language and culture of the target country as well as your software. That way, you can make an informed choice about what will engage your users.
At Future Trans, our native-speaking team is here to help. We specialize in localization projects across the MENA region. Our IT experts will work hard to make sure your software works just as it should in the new language.