Thoughts on Localization


This bilingual (English and French) website was a new challenge for our team of developers. Our technology stack consists of .NET, Umbraco and Knockout and various libraries for things such as dates and times. My role on the team was project manager and front-end developer. This is our first localization project and we definitely learned many things during the process. The ones that stood out as big lessons are:

  1. Ensure the layout is flexible to account for very short or very long text.
  2. We went with a dictionary lookup approach to handle future additions of other languages. It is a one to one lookup, so letter case and spacing must match exactly for the translation to work. In implementing the translation function, I learned that keeping user feedback messages (error and success messages based on an action taken) consistent is important.
  3. We live in an English-centric world and take for granted that how we format dates, times, currency is the norm. For example, we write October 4, 2016 in English. In French it is written as 4 octobre, 2016. Developing a structure that is flexible will save a lot of headaches when you do support localization

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