Before you contact an L10N or I18N vendor, the following checklist may be useful to consider:

Localization (L10N)

  1. What is the nature of the product that you plan to localize (e.g. communication, database, groupware, or Web application product)?
  2. What are the target languages for your localization project?
  3. What are the target platforms (operating systems) for your localized product?
  4. When do you plan to release your localized product to the international market?
  5. Do you have all the U.S. product materials ready for localization? If not, when will you receive them from your U.S. product development team?
  6. If your product is still under development and planned for worldwide simultaneous shipment, do you have product milestones for your U.S. and international versions?
  7. Do you have an estimated project budget for localization?
  8. Have you localized this product previously? If yes, do you want your L10N vendor to leverage your previous localized version?
  9. Do you have the translation memories for your previous localized version? Which kind of translation memory tool did your previous version use?
  10. Do you have a glossary list (or terminology list) for both your source materials (English) and target (languages to be localized) languages?
  11. Do you know the scope of your localization project:
    • What do you plan to localize (or what are the components you plan to localize)? For example, software resource files, online Help, Web files (HTML or XML format), or printed documentation (manuals)?
    • Are there any graphics files in your English source materials? If yes, how many of them are there in total and what file format(s) are they in?
    • Do you need your L10N vendor to perform screen captures on the localized version for you?
    • Do you have word and page counts for all of your English source materials?
    • Do you need special tools to edit your source materials? If yes, are those tools supported in your target languages?
    • Do you need your L10N vendor to build or compile your software source files or online Help files after localization?
    • Do you need your L10N vendor to test and fix your software source files and online Help files after localization?
    • Do you need your L10N vendor to leverage the online Help or Web files from/to printed documentation (manuals)? If yes, which kind of tool do you use? Can this tool handle your target languages? Do you have a process for this leveraging task?
    • What is the file format of your printed documentation (manuals)?
    • Which DTP tool did you use for your English printed documentation (manuals)?
    • Can this DTP tool handle your target languages?
    • What is your expected final output for your printed documentation (manuals) after localization (e.g. Film, PostScript or PDF file)?

Internationalization (I18N)

  1. What is the nature of the product that you plan to internationalize (e.g. database, communication, groupware, or Web application product)?
  2. Which U.S. platforms (operating systems) is your product running on?
  3. To which target language platforms (operating systems) do you want to port your product?
  4. When do you plan to release your product to the international market?
  5. Are you planning to have worldwide simultaneous shipment of your U.S. and international versions?
  6. Have your U.S. developers ever had internationalization considerations (e.g. multi-byte input/output handling and culture-specific features) when they designed or developed the U.S. product?
  7. If your answer to question 6 is no, then do you plan to develop an I18N functional specification that outlines all of the necessary areas, such as:
    • Multi-byte input and output handling
    • Culture-specific features like country date and time formats and unique cultural behaviors
  8. Do you have a product functional specification for your U.S. version?
  9. Have you tried running your U.S. product on your target language platforms? If yes, what was the result?
  10. Which programming language did you use to develop your U.S. product?
  11. Besides the programming language, what other types of software development tools did you use in your U.S. product development?
  12. Did you use any third party or public domain library APIs to build your U.S. product? If yes, what are they? Do they support your target language platforms? Can you receive technical support for them?
  13. Do you have standards for your functional testing (quality assurance) procedures?
  14. Do you have testing specifications, a test plan, outlines, or scripts for your U.S. version now?
  15. Do you use any type of automated testing tool to build your automated test scripts? If yes, which kind of testing tool did you use? Does it support your target language platforms?
  16. Do you have a standard Software Problem Report layout (or format) that you want your I18N vendor to follow?
  17. Do you have major milestones for the I18N engineering and functional testing tasks? Do you have a build schedule for your product?
  18. Do you plan to let your I18N vendor access and use your U.S. bug database? If not, what is your plan to handle bug reports that are sent by your I18N vendor during the testing of your international versions?
  19. Do you want you I18N vendor to perform onsite or offsite I18N services, and why?
  20. Do you plan to maintain a single code base (U.S. and international versions)? If yes, you will need to factor in time for the code merging process
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Sandeep
TCOE Manager
India