Localization First Approach in The UX Design Process
When opening an application or web resource, we expect to see the familiar interface, date formats, phrases, and symbols. The loyalty of the audience depends on a familiar cultural code.
Any product launched in a foreign market needs localization. Localization of UX for different countries allows companies to attract new audiences and increase the loyalty of current users. The localization during the design process (at one of the first steps of product creation) avoids trouble with feature development like redesigning and avoiding possible extra money spending. Our article overviews the main challenges and UX localization best practices.
Common UX Issues With Localization. Linguistic and Cultural Nuances
There is no secret that different languages have a lot of otherness, and one of the common is the length of the word. A simple example, in English, we say "pen," but in German, it will be "Kugelschreiber." The difference in the length of the words can destroy your design.
In some cases, it is necessary to reformulate the texts so that users do not have to read "long reads." Basic behavior patterns in different countries are similar: people do not read every word but "scan" the screen. With a literal translation, there can be so much text that a quick "scan" becomes challenging. Therefore, sometimes it is better to change the wording rather than to try to place a literal translation.
Many Western languages are read and written from left to right, while Arabic is written from right to left, and Chinese and Japanese can be displayed from top to bottom. Consider these language features when designing screen compositions and where you will place important information, CTAs, buttons, and links.
Tone of Voice
The Tone of Voice (ToV) is a style of communication, the brand's sound, which can trace at all points of interaction with the user. It is what you say and how you say it. ToV is not only texts but advertising, design, and other visual content, even fonts, and emoji. You can choose a list of voices for your product: formal/informal/motivating, etc. Consider the regional culture, product industry, and audience you targeted. In some areas, such as medicine funny tone will be appropriate.
There are a few issues you may face with fonts. First, not every font supports all characters, such as Cyrillic. The second is the width of the texts. Latin-based languages like English have a lot of narrow letters (J,I,V), while in other languages like Ukrainian, there are many wide ones (М, Ж, Щ). Prevent challenging tasks for the translator - squeezing the text without distorting the meaning by considering such issues at the start. And third - the most petite font sizes in the original application can be unreadable in other languages.
The world has different date formats. Speaking of dates, Americans use the MM-DD-YYYY form, Europeans use the DD-MM-YYYY format, and the Chinese use YYYY-MM-DD. If the date format is not considered for a specific audience, this can lead to severe misunderstandings and reduce the application's satisfaction.
Furthermore, do not forget other differences like Fahrenheit and Celsius, kilometers and miles, calendar formats, etc.
Incomplete Cultural Localization
The images can translate more information than text in the first seconds of user experience. Icons, symbols, and illustrations are also part of the cultural code. However, they have opposite meanings and cause diametrical emotions in different countries. For example, such a positive symbol as an emoji with a slight smile in China is associated with mistrust.
Do not forget about the photos you are using in your design. It is best to use typical representatives of a particular culture and clothing, which also applies to landscapes, historical monuments, or places.
It is vital to consider the national characteristics of color perception and rely on research in the field of color psychology in different countries. Do not ignore the meanings that different cultures give to colors.
Why Localization Is Important at the Design Stage?
- The sooner you fail, the better. For example, the localization in the design stage allows for testing the design on focus groups and ensuring it works. It is much easier and cheaper to change the layouts than the developed pages.
- One goal - one team - one tool. Building relationships between developers, localization managers, and translators are complex. Companies that don't pay attention to this process at the design stages may find that the launch will postpone due to not fully adapted content in some regions.
The proper localization application can perfectly connect the team and track the progress and budget in a single location.
How Can Lingohub Support UX Localization
Lingohub is an all-in-one tool that simplifies product localization through various features for project managers, developers, and designers. Let’s take a closer look at them:
Figma is an excellent tool for product prototyping. We know designers love it, so we provide a Figma plugin that allows importing text directly from Figma to Lingohub and back. Check your translation in the prototypes, correct design, and get the best result in the shortest terms without additional manual work.
It is a glossary where you can collect all terms you want to control in the translations. It can contain source texts, approved translations, and terms that are not to be translated but kept in the source language. Term bases help your linguists understand better term descriptions, definitions, and clarifications. All of the entries you can add manually or import from a file.
Style Guides allow all your translation team to work with established standards. Whether it's your team or a new freelancer, all of them will have the same tools, and your texts will follow the same rules.
LingoHub's translation memory provides translators with up to three suggestions based on previous translations. It functions as a database and can be desktop or server-based to your team's needs.
Quality checks keep your projects' translations within predetermined criteria. You can apply the rules to texts, term bases, HTML tags, and placeholders. Once you set up all the rules Quality check will alert you whenever one of the rules you have defined is not respected.
Professional Translators (more than 40 languages)
At Lingohub, we provide professional translators services for more than 40 languages. You can order translators, sign contracts, and create transactions. Whether you collaborate with an internal translator or hire one at Lingohub, you can keep all your translation activities in one place and manage the process effectively.
Localization is a complex task with its peculiar pitfalls. The right localization software helps prevent and resolve the most significant part of issues through process automation, data unification, integrations, etc. That is why choosing a localization tool that provides the full scope of services necessary to bring your global app success is essential.
At Lingohub, we leverage the mighty MT to speed up the translation process, support the integration with the most-used software, and provide a list of valuable features.
Sing up for a 14-day free trial and try Lingohub yourself.