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The Pros and Cons of Software Localization

It’s second nature for us to proclaim the benefits of localization, but is there ever a downside to going global?  Software localization services are a net benefit for enterprises, but they can also have drawbacks which are seldom discussed. A recent article by the Common Sense Advisory found that while localization makes software attractive to foreign buyers, it also opens up the possibility of foreign piracy.

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The CEO of tinyBuild recently provided country-specific figures for the game Punch Club, revealing initial piracy rates of 97% for Brazil. In other markets, more Germans bought the game than pirated it, with the highest buy rate of any country. The next best countries were the US (23%) and France (17%), but less than 4% in Russia, China, Turkey, Ukraine, Romania, and Poland bought the game.

There is a clear need for developers to balance negative factors such as piracy against positive outcomes.Some potential benefits of software localization include:

 However, localization creates an extra step in the production process, and in some cases, higher costs. Other downsides to language localization are:

 If you are still concerned about piracy, the CSA article highlights some important considerations:

Ultimately, developers must consider not only how localization affects sales, but also how it influences piracy in the context of specific countries. In most cases the benefits of localization will outweigh the cons, but being aware of both sides will help developers make informed decisions about the best plan for taking their apps global.

Do you have questions about software localization? Get in touch to let us know about your potential plans and markets, and see how we can help.

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