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International-Ready and Great
Adam Asnes

Winning revenue by internationalizing right the first time and every time

 

Go to any general business conference where you can join a question-and-answer session with a leading executive, and I will bet the topic of expanding global revenue comes up within the first five questions. This topic always gets me energized. It is thrilling to see globalization getting the business recognition it deserves. And at Lingoport, we are seeing a direct cascading effect from this trend. More smaller companies than ever before are winning contracts and gaining clients worldwide. Larger companies are refining processes as they expect to make larger revenue gains outside their home markets.

Globalizing a company means different things to different people. There are always many with which issues to deal: legal, taxes, distribution, partnership, logistics and global labor-force. But the primary focus, behind which every other issue falls in line, is winning and keeping clients all over the world—or at least in targeted regions. And to do this well, companies must keep their eyes on the ultimate goal, the one that causes all the hubbub and hassle: growing business around the globe.

Loyal worldwide business expands revenue, lowers regional market sales risks and increases the equity value and cachet of the company. But with greater global competition comes greater client expectations. You need more than just adequate performance based on a set of minimal specifications. Products have to work reliably and according to locale-specific expectations.

There is a common saying about a product launch: “don’t worry, be crappy.” This saying shows that the emphasis of a launch is usually to keep up momentum, get the new product out and not worry about exceeding expectations, let alone meeting them fully. I do not think that such a strategy works when you are going global with a software product. Mistakes, long delays and ugly surprises are all the more expensive when you factor in the amount of work that must done to support new customers in far-flung parts of the world. When reaching beyond a company’s traditional customer base or comfort zone, it is important for the product, brand and company to do a quality job and focus all their attention on being successful. If a company cannot commit to that, they should not take on the project. So now, when companies talk to me about their time-to-market requirements, I talk to them about revising their outlook to time-to-client-satisfaction. Time-to-market is just a commitment to a checklist. But time-to-client-satisfaction is a commitment to happy customers. And they will likely buy again and refer even more business. Either way, when going global, a company needs to stretch its expertise, review the tools it brings to the task and review its vendor relationships. Why not do it really well?

Based on these principles and on our experience with high-profile global companies, we at Lingoport have found some exciting opportunities in fulfilling our clients’ needs. We provide a product, Globalyzer, and integrated internationalization services to help our clients internationalize their products. Adapting products so that they will support any language, character set, date format, address format, currency, sort order and so on presents new and ongoing challenges to software development teams. And most developers have little practical experience with software internationalization, and little (if any) experience building quality software for non–English markets, such as Germany, Japan or China. At Lingoport, we focus on providing products and services that help our clients’ software teams meet and exceed their product objectives in terms of becoming world-ready. Our Globalyzer software and our internationalization services support our customers in being successful, on time and on budget.


Globalyzer’s graphical interface lists internationalization problems,
highlights them in the source code and helps fix the problems.

Our clients gain a competitive advantage through the access to our experienced globalization developers and our software product, which accelerates the process with more predictability and higher quality. Plus, our clients can continue to measure and build internationalized applications long after they have finished working with our development team. In business processes, that which gets measured gets improved. In that vein, we have development tools including debuggers and tracking systems, tools that measure system security and the like. What’s more, Globalyzer helps us identify and quickly extract all the elements that will need translation. This means that your development team can actually engage localization companies earlier in the internationalization process, giving more time for localization and QA. Combine that with a strong context for what is going on within the code and you get the opportunity to produce very strong “globalized” products without negatively impacting time and money.

For some companies, internationalization may be a first time effort. For others, their products might have been global for years. Several large Globalyzer clients actually have their own in-house internationalization services experts. These people move from team to team, adding their internationalization expertise to the development process. It is these clients that I find perhaps my favorite endorsement of how we do things at Lingoport. For them, Globalyzer is an important tool to make sure developers can be successful, independently of their hands-on assistance.

Perhaps some day soon, we will see more unified software platforms that support globalized development all the way through a product’s lifecycle: during code creation, during testing, during localization and during content management. I am excited to be leading our company in helping businesses stretch, grow, and thrive worldwide.

 
This article was originally published in the "Technology Spotlight" section of the October 2006 issue of ClientSide News magazine.
 
Adam Asnes is CEO and Founder of Lingoport, Inc., creators of Globalyzer software and providers of software internationalization development services. Adam attended New York University and has been involved in the software globalization market for nearly 10 years. He is a popular speaker at conferences presenting papers on internationalization and is a frequent guest columnist in software trade publications. As an avid cyclist and former competitor, Adam gets his best ideas on two wheels.
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