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Watch out for that conference

There are plenty of networking conferences to get involved with. Here is a quick overview of some forthcoming events:


BP 2017 translation conference
4th - 6th May 2017, Budapest, Hungary - Our Managing Director Nick Rosenthal is one of the speakers!


UA Europe 2017
Annual conference for technical communicators that focuses on software user assistance and online Help
Harrogate, England: 8th - 9th June 2017


The SalfTrans 25th Anniversary Conference
A translators' guide to the EC Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC
Stockport, England: 10th December 2013


Links page

Some useful links for you.

Software localisation: A white paper by the experts at Salford Translations Ltd
How to translate your software application, help system and documentation into other languages

The purpose of this white paper is to describe a workflow for taking a product or application in one language, and having the full set of material translated into one or more other languages so that you can sell it in a foreign market.

What materials need localising?

When our clients are looking to translate their application into other languages, we usually find that a typical software application and supporting material consists of the following components:

  • The software application (this could be a printer driver, or a laboratory analysis system, or the control system for a materials handling system)
  • The Help system
  • One or more manuals
  • An installer (often written using InstallShield or a similar application)

Overview of suggested localisation workflow

  • Localise the software into the relevant languages
  • Localise the installer into the required languages
  • Capture the foreign-language screen clips that you will need to use in the translated versions of the help system and in the translated manuals
  • Translate the help system and translate the manuals
  • Implement final DTP for the manuals in each language

Suggested localisation workflow in detail

Now let's take a more detailed look at our proposed localisation workflow.

Localising the software

Once upon a time, having your software localised meant handing over your source files to the translation company. These days, with modern localisation tools such as Passolo or Alchemy Catalyst, savvy translation companies that specialise in localisation have the skills, tools and know-how that enable them to work from a compiled build. So you don't need to release your source code. You just give us dll's or exe's, and we use our expertise and our specialist localisation tools to localise the user interface. This involved translating all the strings that appear in menus, on dialog boxes, and in any other user-facing context. But we don't just translate the words. We translate them in a manner that is appropriate for the context (and one of the benefits of modern localisation tools is that our linguists see all strings in context). And we can make sure that the translated text fits in the available space, carefully and appropriately resizing control elements if we need to (and there may well be times when that is necessary. For example, the English Undo command translates into Dutch as Ongedaan maken, up from 4 characters to 14 characters). And we then hand back to you a compiled build in the required language, ready for you to ship.

The logic of the workflow outlined in this white paper is valid whether you are developing your applications in Visual C++, in a .Net environment, or using XLIFF. The essential thing is to get the core terminology in the application's user interface translated and approved, and then (and only then) to move on to translating the help system, manuals and any other documentation.

Localising the installer

The output from your installer is the first thing that your user will see when they install your software, so it is vital that this makes a good impression. We will work with you to ensure that you have an appropriate solution for your company's needs, whether that is a set of localised strings saying "click here to install the software" visible in all languages, or a fully localised single-language welcome screen if you ship different CDs to different markets.

Capturing and managing the foreign screen clips

Many user manuals and help systems use screen clips to illustrate a point. If you have your software translated into a different language, you will need to create the same set of screen images in each language that you have your application translated into. Best practice here is to store the screen images as externally referenced files, and to use exactly the same file names (stored in different folders) for each target language. That way, by using different folders for each language, your localised help system or translated manual will be able to pull in the translated files without imposing an additional time or cost overhead.

For some applications, you may need to have the screen grabs captured on a computer running a foreign-language version of the OS (for example, you may need to run the Italian version of Windows XP or Vista), so that all control elements are consistently in the target language in your screen images.

Translating the help system and translating the manuals

When translating the help system and the user guides, consistency is vitally important. You want to be absolutely certain that what it says in the French manual exactly matches what your French user sees on his or her screen.

To ensure this consistency, we take all the user interface strings that we translated when we localised your software application, and put them into a tool called a translation memory. We use several translation memory systems, as they each have different strengths. The main translation memory tools that we use are Trados TagEditor, MemoQ, and Déjà Vu, but this is a fast-changing market and our technical experts are constantly evaluating new tools.  Because translation memories work at sentence level, we also import the user interface strings into a bilingual glossary, which will proactively support our translators as they work. Which in turn means greater consistency.

As another aid to consistency, we recommend localising the software application and doing a QA phase once the software itself has been localised, before you take the screen captures and start translating the documentation. That enables any feedback to be taken into account without causing rework overheads.  If you are relying on your local office or in-country distributor to give feedback on how they want the localised software product to read, that is a good point to get their input. That way, you can lock down the software localisation before taking the localised screen clips, and before the help system and user manuals are translated. So any minor stylistic changes that your German office or Dutch distributor request can be easily and cost-effectively incorporated.

Desktop publishing / page layout

For a lot of our clients, it is important to have the translated manuals match the original version of the manual on a page-for-page basis. For example, if your support team need to be able to say "You'll find that information on page 68 of the user guide", then this is an important consideration. We're happy to advise on design and layout considerations that can help reduce the overhead of any final DTP phase in each language.

SalfTrans: A translation company that cares

Salford Translations Ltd is a highly experienced translation company, specialising in providing accurate and consistent translations. We translate user guides, manualsmarketing materials and websites across a full range of languages. Founded in 1986, our company offers you the benefit of over 30 years' experience of managing translation projects.

We would be delighted to welcome you at our offices close to Manchester airport to discuss your technical translation requirements in all languages, or to visit you at your premises. You are welcome to call us on 0161 968 7102, or you can use our online contact form to get a free, no-obligation quote for your translation requirements.

Salford Translations Limited

66 Lower Hillgate, Stockport SK1 3AL, England

0161 968 7100    (or +44 161 968 7100)
0161 968 7109    (or +44 161 968 7109)

Click here to find out how to find us