The Various Types of Localization Tools and Software

by Drew Evans
4 Minute Read

When Mercedes Benz first entered the Chinese market, they initially used the Chinese translation bensi for their brand name.

The only problem is that bensi means "rush to your death" in Chinese – not exactly a fitting name for a car company! Luckily, the company spotted the mistake early on and switched their Chinese name to Benchi, which means "dashing speed."

This example perfectly illustrates why understanding cultural context and language nuances is crucial if you want to expand to a new country or region. Localization tools can help you with this process immensely.


What is a Localization Tool?

Before we discuss the tools, we first need to know what localization is.

Simply put, localization is fitting your product and marketing to another country or region. The process is vital because you want your brand messaging to resonate with your target market and speak their language.

Localization software helps you achieve this by translating content from one language to another. However, these tools go beyond just literal translations. They must also take culture and word contexts into account, so the results will read right and convey the intended message.

This is a tall order, indeed.

That's why the best software localization tools use advanced AI technology and management features to make the process as smooth and correct as possible.


Types of Localization Tools

There are a number of different types of tools that fit into your localization toolkit. Here are a handful of the most important and most common:

Machine Translation Engines (MT)

These are fully automated tools in which the computer translates content from one language to another. While they are easy and accessible, the output is typically not fit for most localization purposes. They don't take context into account, leading to literal translations that may sound wrong or funny.

Computer-Assisted Translation Tools (CAT)

CAT is the bread-and-butter tool in any localization arsenal. This is software that helps human translators by giving word suggestions or corrections to speed up their work. What sets CAT tools apart from generic translators is that they learn and build up a memory of translations over time. This enables them to give even better suggestions in the future.

The Lilt Platform

The Lilt Platform deserves mention here because it combines CAT tools with an innovative AI-powered machine translation (MT) engine.

In other words, the Lilt translation algorithm gets smarter as human translators work with it, giving the translators that use it superpowers and enabling them to work 3 – 5 times faster compared to regular CAT tools.

Translation Management Systems (TMS)

A TMS builds upon the CAT tools list by adding localization management capabilities. It helps project managers manage localization workflows, tasks, and translators across projects. For global companies working with a large volume of content in different markets, this feature is crucial to keeping everything moving forward.

Localization Automation Tools

These are additional tools that automate many aspects of localization workflows. They often involve data processing steps such as text extraction or converting from one file format to another. Their goal is to speed up the localization process by reducing time spent on prep tasks.

Terminology Management Tools

A key difficulty in localization is that a word in most languages can mean different things depending on the context (for example, the English word "work" can be a noun or a verb).

Terminology management tools help with this dilemma by creating termbases that tag words with different metadata. This instructs the translator as to how to handle these words appropriately, depending on the context.

Quality Assurance Tools (QA)

QA tools verify translations to make sure they sound right. However, they also go beyond that and can cover things like proper use of trademarks, brand names, and abbreviations.

One of the most common localization examples that show QA tools in action is ensuring product names translate consistently into another language.

Let's say you're translating a product name that contains the word "Speed" to Spanish. Because it's part of a name, the English word "Speed" should be retained in the Spanish translation. The translator or engine might have missed this, so it's the QA tool's job to catch these errors.

What are the Benefits of Localization Tools?

Localization tools are crucial to increase the efficiency and results of your translations. They give human translators helpful suggestions, error checks, and feedback that speed up their workflow dramatically and improve the quality of their output.

Management tools also empower global organizations to manage multiple big localization projects simultaneously. Project leads know where each task is, which translators are free, and what projects need attention at any given time. Most of all, they keep all localization resources and tools easily accessible. In other words, localization tools make the job easier and better for everyone involved.

These are the same benefits you get with the Lilt Platform. We combine the power of AI technology with the prowess of talented human translators to localize content with an unprecedented combination of speed, quality, and affordability. Our robust management tools also equip enterprises with everything they need to keep things running smoothly.

Ready to localize? Contact us and get started with our professional translation services today.