What is L10N (and I18N)?
You’re curious about getting your product to a new market, or maybe a dozen. You’re wondering what the technical requirements are to build an international product. (Just how will you be able to handle all of those different languages?) You want to reach more users, turn a higher profit, and go global—but you have no idea what’s ahead.
You’ve come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the basics of localizing and internationalizing your product.
Localization (also known as ”l10n”, with 10 referring to the number of letters in between) is the process of adapting your product to a target market. If you are reading this guide, then you are already aware of the various aspects to consider such as language, UI, and culture. But before you localize, you must understand another concept called internationalization (“i18n”).
l10n cannot exist without i18n, especially for apps and games. So far your app is only in one language, but you must enable your app to support various languages and symbols across different markets and cultures (e.g. left to right script vs. right to left, $ vs. €).
Different platforms have different ways to internationalize, which can be pretty overwhelming for any app developer or localization manager. That’s why we’ve helped you crack the code for iOS and Android apps. Learn how to internationalize your app in our App Localization Academy.
After becoming an i18n expert, you are ready for l10n. As a l10n solutions provider, we will teach you how complete your l10n process with OneSky.
What is OneSky?
OneSky is a one-stop localization solution. We provide high-tech solutions to automate your entire l10n process: from managing your team, to managing your translations and ensuring they're top-quality with our network of professional translators. With this guide, we will introduce OneSky concepts that will help you become a l10n expert.
The OneSky platform is organized by Project Groups (i.e. a product like Angry Birds), and within these project groups are Projects (platform-specific e.g. iOS, Android, website). Keeping your work in projects not only helps you stay organized, but also helps you manage Collaborators on a per-project basis.
Within your project (Angry Birds iOS), you will upload string files (Localizable.strings). Within these string files will be your strings. (These are also referred to as the phrases or text that you want to translate.) A sample string within Localizable.strings would look like this:
/* Homepage button */
“Login_button” = “LOGIN”;
“Login_button” would be your string ID and “LOGIN” is the actual text that will get translated.
/* Homepage button */ would be the note to translators (More on this later.)
Working with Translators
Once your string files are uploaded onto our platform, it’s time to translate your strings. Whether you are using our professional translation service or managing your own translation team, it’ll be helpful to familiarize yourself with our terminology.
OneSky Translators are on-demand professional translators with relevant app/game/industry localization experience. They are selectively assigned to your projects after you have placed a translation order.
After a OneSky translator has been assigned to your order, you can communicate with them in two ways:
- For specific Phrases, comment directly and chat with translators
- For Projects, message language-specific OneSky translators or broadcast to all of them
Your Own Translators
For managing your translation team, as an Admin, you can add or remove Collaborators and assign them a specific user role. Collaborators are your own users invited to administer, moderate, review, and translate your source text.
To communicate with your team:
- For specific Phrases, comment directly and chat with your own Collaborators
- For Projects, use the Discussion Forum to make a New Announcement or Start a Discussion
OneSky provides the best technical tools to make your l10n process as seamless as possible. Here is the official list of our integrations and plugins:
- Android Studio
- Apple App Store
- Google Play
- iTunes Connect
- API integrations
We also have many unofficial plugins and integrations developed by our amazing users to help you integrate with OneSky. We’re more than happy to recommend a few of our favorites, so let us know if you need recommendations.
As you might have experienced before, whether during travels abroad or while watching a foreign film, translation quality can vary a lot. What’s the point of localizing if you can’t get the translation right?
We’ve got you covered. With our multiple Quality Assurance features, you can provide translators with enough context to ensure high-quality translations.
Now that you are familiar with the core OneSky concepts, let’s create your first project with our Getting Started Guide!
Quality Assurance Features
With OneSky, we believe that each word has an underlying context. Providing translators with that context is vital for them to deliver high-quality translations that sound and feel... local!
To ensure the highest quality translations, you can supplement the original phrases with any relevant contextual information using our quality assurance features:
2) Add descriptions to Projects to provide general guidelines for translators. For example: “This project is a website for lawyers. The tone should be more formal. Here’s a link to our website for reference.”
3) Attach screenshots and tag them Facebook-style to the corresponding strings for reference. We also have nifty Screenshot Widgets for iOS and Android that allow you to capture and upload screenshots directly from your app into OneSky.
4) Define a list of Glossary terms to ensure consistent translations. Eliminate ambiguity and guide translators on how to manage key terminology.
5) Add notes to phrases with placeholders to provide more context for translators.
6) Translations that are too long may break your UI. You can set length limits to strings so that translators will know your requirements.
Take advantage of these features to ensure the best quality, consistency, and accuracy in your translations.
After you’ve created and translated your first project, you’re ready for our more advanced features.
After you’ve updated the strings in your app, some will no longer be needed. Simply upload a new file containing ONLY the needed strings and select the “Deprecate” option to archive the strings you don’t need. They will appear as hidden on our platform. If you need them again, add them back into your strings file and they will become visible again.
Phrases can become repetitive, and needing to re-translate them is a waste of time and money. OneSky’s Translation Memory is an ever-growing database that stores previously translated phrases from all projects and suggests translations for similar future phrases. If you have any previous translations done outside of OneSky, you can upload them to OneSky as well.
If your projects contain some identical source phrases, you can migrate and reuse your translations among projects. This is particularly useful if you have nearly identical iOS and Android versions of your app.
Note: if you’re migrating phrases between different file formats or platforms (e.g. from iOS to Android), you won’t be able to migrate everything. This is because localization files in iOS and Android have different structures. For example:
- Placeholders are different (%1$@ vs $1$s).
- iOS handles pluralization through .stringsdict files while Android .xml can handle pluralization directly.
Bulk or Batch Actions
There may be times when you want to approve, finalize, or delete translations all at once. Bulk or batch actions to save time and effort.
For More Info
We look forward to localizing with you! :)