Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about the Processes of L10N & I18N services. Learn more about the definitions
and considerations. Read more frequently asked questions below…


Q. What information does Real Idea need to prepare a quote for a localization project?

A. We need the following information:

Do you plan to localize software resource user interface? If so, please provide the file types and word count for each file to be translated.
Do you plan to localize online help? If so, please provide file types and word count for each file to be translated.
Do you plan to localize printed documents? If so, please provide file type and word count of each file to be translated, page count of each book, and final delivery format you require.
Do you need localized screens and graphics to be embedded into online help and printed documents? If so, please provide the screen and graphic names, location in the online help, and relevant printed documents.
Do you plan to use translation memory? If so, please provide your existing translation memory database.
Do you need to perform functional and linguistic localization testing on the software? If so, please provide the platform and software running environment info, testing script and specification, and estimated testing hours.
Please provide any other specific requirements from your software development and marketing team, such as tool usage, encodings, and data format.

Q. Where are Real Idea offices located?

A. Real Idea has offices in China (Beijing), Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States.

Q. In what languages does Real Idea specialize?

A. Real Idea supports localization over 80 languages including Asian, European, Middle Eastern, American and African languages. We provide services through in-house specialists and longstanding partnerships with leading translation services around the globe.

Q. Who are Real Idea's major customers?

A. Our customers include leading companies such as Actuate, Autodesk, Cognos, Corel, EMC, HP, Interwoven, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Novell, Oracle, Samsung, Sony, Sun Microsystems, and VMware.

Q. What professional organizations does Real Idea belong to?

A. Real Idea is an active member of the Unicode consortium.


Q. What is GILT?

A. Globalization, internationalization, localization and translation (GILT) are prominent areas in international business knowledge management.

Q. Difference Between Localization and Internationalization

Internationalization is the process of designing a software program from the ground up so that it can be localized without modifications to the executable code. * It is the first critical step in producing a software application for global markets. Internationalizing an application allows it to support different character sets and cultural standards such as date, time, number, and currency formats.

Localization is the process of modifying a software product to conform to the expectations of a given user community. * Localization involves translation, layout modification, and preparation of the application for a specific market.

Because many companies don't understand the importance of internationalization, they often ignore it during initial development. And because many companies are unaware of the distinction between internationalization and localization, they don't schedule internationalization into their localization plan. Both situations create frustration-increasing development costs significantly and slowing time to market.

* Richard Gillam, 'Developing Global Applications in Java,' page 6 in seventeenth International Unicode Conference.

Q. Important Considerations in Localization and Internationalization Projects

Localization and internationalization projects are complex. Real Idea has compiled a list of important considerations for any enterprise embarking on such projects.

1. Why is senior management buy-in important?
Senior management buy-in helps these groups become aware of the vital importance and complex processes involved in software localization and internationalization. It also contributes to the morale of enterprise staff assigned to the project and to the project's ultimate success.

2. Why is it important to define project scope and create a schedule at the beginning of a project?
Defining project scope and creating a schedule will help you in resource planning and will assist colleagues and vendors to work with you efficiently. It is important to define project scope and create a schedule for English and international versions of the product.

3. Why is it important to know whether the code and tools have been internationalized?
Because of a lack of multi-byte support, many testing procedures can't be performed until the software code and tools are internationalized-leading to postponement of the project or quality problems in the localize product. If you determine that the code and tools have not been internationalized, it is important to work with an internationalization expert.

4. Should I use different vendors for different languages or one vendor for all languages?
Generally, using fewer vendors saves time and increases efficiency. If, however, your company has a number of ongoing projects, it may be more effective to use different vendors for different languages.

5. What criteria are important in selecting a vendor?
The most important criteria are quality of work, reliability, and experience. Price is also important but should not be at the top of your list. Speak to colleagues who have done similar projects and speak to several vendor-provided references. You may then want to evaluate the vendor's performance on a small 'test' project.

6. What should I provide to potential bidders?
Your RFQ should contain the information necessary for your vendor to derive a project plan, schedule, and initial quotation. Visit our Questions for Enterprise Localization and Internationalization Project Managers for tips on creating your RFQ.

7. What should I expect after issuing an RFQ?
You will normally receive a project plan, schedule, and quotation from each vendor. In particular, you should receive the vendor's estimated schedule based on the timeframe you have outlined and the vendor's resource availability.

8. What materials will the selected vendor require for a localization project?
You should provide a glossary, a translation style guide, translation memory, test cases, a localization kit, and the necessary specification sheets for tools and desktop publishing ( DTP).

9. What is the best way to check on the vendor's progress?
Stay in close contact with your vendor and thoroughly review weekly progress reports. Carefully monitoring the progress of the project will allow you to address and resolve issues before they become serious problems. It is also important to involve your internal QA resources in localization and internationalization projects.

10. What is the biggest problem associated with localization and internationalization projects?
Ineffective communication. Open communication is the key to the success of any project-allowing you and your vendor to set expectations, clarify misunderstanding, and act on correct assumptions.

Real Idea has discovered that enterprise localization and internationalization managers maintain good communication with vendors but fail to keep internal support groups adequately informed-negatively impacting areas such as version control and tool development. Good internal communication can prevent problems that slow project progress and increase costs.

Q. Questions for Enterprise Localization and Internationalization Project Managers

A. Globalization (G11N) addresses the issues associated with making an enterprise truly global. For globalization of products and services, it means integrating internal and external business functions with marketing, sales, and customer support in the world market.

Internationalization (I18N) is the process of generalizing a product so that it can handle multiple languages and cultural conventions without the need for redesign. Internationalization takes place at the level of program design and document development.

Localization (L10N) is the process of making a product linguistically and culturally appropriate to the locale where it will be used.

Key Concepts

Q. How does localization differ from translation?

A. The difference is primarily in scope. Localization involves the translation of manuals, help text, error messages, and other documentation, and as part of this effort, changes may be required to avoid unfortunate associations in the target language.

Localization also requires non-linguistic skills. On the software programming side, it may be necessary to change screen dialog boxes, field lengths, date, time and currency formats, delimiters for figures replaced, and icons and colors. Further, with bi-directional languages such as Arabic and Hebrew and double-byte character sets such as in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean it may be necessary to reprogram extensively to ensure that text and numerals display correctly.

On the content side, it is often necessary to change programs to conform to national and cultural norms. For example, in multimedia applications, the color, size, and shape of objects such as ambulance, buses, currency, mailboxes, taxis, and telephones vary from country to country. Dress codes may vary and symbols take on new significance. Similarly, mainstream business applications such as address databases and accounting packages require adaptation to the procedures and conventions of new environments.

Clearly, multi-language Web content and e-Business sites increase the complexity of enterprise globalization as well as the localization process.

Q. How does internationalization differ from localization?

A. Internationalization is the forerunner of localization. Internationalization is the process of designing and implementing a product to be as culturally and technically 'neutral' as possible-making it easy to localize for different cultures. Internationalization reduces the time and resources required for localization, saving producers money and improving their time-to-market. As with localization, language, technical, and content issues are involved. Project management and coordination also play a significant role. Internationalization has reached the state of refinement where software publishers can release 30 or more localized versions of a package within a month or two of the original version-a process known as 'sim-ship' (simultaneous shipment).

Working Details

Q. What operating system platforms does Real Idea support?

A. Real Idea supports Microsoft Windows, Solaris, Linux, and Mac operating system platforms.

Q. Does Real Idea have secure Internet connectivity at all offices worldwide?

A. To protect the intellectual property of our customers, all our offices worldwide are equipped with secure broadband Internet connectivity. We use T1 to 512kbps leased lines with hardware and software network firewalls.

Q. Does Real Idea provide a secure FTP server for your customers?

A. Again, to protect the intellectual property of our customers, Real Idea provides a secure FTP server that transfers files at speeds greater than 4M bps.

Q. How do you manage localization projects?

A. At the beginning of a project, Real Idea assigns a General Project Manager (GPM) as a single point of contact. The GPM manages each localization Project Manager (PM), reporting project status and coordinating the master project.

Q. What techniques does Real Idea use to manage and control projects?

A. Real Idea has built a strong infrastructure and efficient workflow process to manage multi-lingual projects simultaneously while minimizing potential problems.

Real Idea has developed IBM Lotus Notes-based corporate groupware that reduces management costs and improves communication efficiency and accuracy through robust:

Comprehensive project management workflow
Version control
File sharing
Centralized glossary management
Bug tracking and reporting
Budget tracking

Q. How does Real Idea integrate staff into the project management process?

A. Real Ideas uses a proprietary training system to ensure all Real Idea linguists and software engineers follow our processes and quality control guidelines. New employees undergo a series of classes designed to help them master different localization tools and processes. In addition, Real Idea conducts ongoing training on technologies such as HTML, Man-Pages, XML, and SGML.

Q. What is Real Idea's approach to editing and proofreading translations?

A. Once a translation is complete, we edit and proofread in two phases. The first phase focuses on linguistic accuracy as well as consistency of terminology and style. The second phase focuses on technical accuracy and consistency of the user interface. During each phase, Real Idea staff uses a proprietary QA checklist to ensure high quality results.

Q. How does Real Idea leverage translations?

A. Real Idea uses standard translation memory tools such as Trados to analyze and manage repetitive strings, 100% matches, and fuzzy matches. These tools ensure translation consistency and achieve maximum productivity and cost savings for our customers.

Q. What software engineering, localization engineering, translation memory, terminology, leveraging, and localization QA tools does Real Idea use?

A. The following list contains some of the localization tools Real Idea uses:

Translation – Microsoft Office, Trados, Catalyst, UltraEdit, Passolo
DTP – MS Word, FrameMaker, QuarkXPress, Acrobat
Graphics – Illustrator, Photoshop, CorelDraw
Help Creation – Microsoft Help Workshop, HelpQA, HTMLQA, RoboHelp, Webworks.

Q. How does Real Idea approach translation memory creation and management?

A. We normally use Trados to create, maintain, and manage translation memory. Once a Real Idea engineer sets up translation memory and new contents, all translators receive the correct files and begin the translation process on the Trados workbench. After the project is complete, we archive the translation memory into our version control system for a customer's next project release.

Q. How does Real Idea do localization (linguistic) testing?

A. Our test process includes the following steps:

Ensure test scripts/cases (US version) are enhanced for Asian features after studying the project testing specification
Recommend automating test scripts/cases if possible
Provide enhanced test scripts/cases for customer's internal QA before we begin work
Create a customer-accessible bug database on our IBM Domino Server for bug tracking and reporting
Begin testing the enhanced testing scripts/cases and report bugs when necessary
Regress testing upon completion of a new build and close bug reports as bugs are fixed
Real Idea testing depends on our customers' build schedules and plans for the numbers of regression. Our test plan will present detailed testing milestones, if requested by a customer.

Q. How does Real Idea measure and report client and user satisfaction levels?

A. We measure customer satisfaction with a proprietary scorecard system, which collects feedback about our linguistic, engineering, DTP, and project management quality.
We ask our customers to grade us quarterly or at the end of a project on overall and detailed sub-categories. For example, we subdivide 'Linguistic quality' into 'Glossary consistency,' 'Translation accuracy', 'Translation style,' and 'Reviewing.' Real Idea upper management, project managers, and linguists review and discuss these scores with an eye to learning and improvement.





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