Computers distribution and Localization of software


I am interested in knowing what languages are good to choose for localization of my photo image editing software. There are some obvious choices and some not so obvious ones.

Today I was reading this article about the spread of some bootnet: And there is a map of infected computers:

This map seems to contain more information -- world distribution of computers.
Do you think that this can be used to guide me in answering the question: What countries (languages) are worth localization of my software?

Look at Russia or China for example.

International Localization Translation

asked Feb 27 '10 at 03:32
2,288 points
  • China and Russia might be huge markets, but they are also typically the markets that have high piracy rates and little recourse. – Tim J 14 years ago
  • Yes,there is also "standard of life" factor. – Ross 14 years ago
  • Thanks for editing some spelling mistakes in my original post, but I really do not like the idea of rewriting again and again every word and changing the original meaning. – Ross 14 years ago

3 Answers


Market, Market, Market. It's all about where your market is, not where computers are.

Maybe you are really asking "How do I know where my market is?"

Don't fall into the trap of "China has 2 billion people, if only 0.1% of them buy from me, I'll be rich!". Research and target your market.

answered Feb 27 '10 at 03:49
Gabriel Magana
3,103 points
  • I am targeting a very broad consumer market - photo image editing. Yes, i know about this pitfall in estimation :). The obvious choices are: English, French, German, Spanish (USA and Europe) – Ross 14 years ago
  • +1 on market identification – Tim J 14 years ago


You should take a look at (warning: 90s design ahead) for some better numbers on internet penetration within different countries. You'd then want to take a look at this list of languages by native speakers, click through on each language to see which countries speak it, and compare that to the penetration of internet usage.

I think you'll find that Spanish is a good start. Hindi too.

Edit: Seeing you mention English in a comment highlights that you're really looking at localization separate from translation. Canada is geographically large, but only has about 28 million internet users (less than Spain), and doesn't have the colonial history of the UK, which despite its mere 47 million internet users, has spread British English throughout the world.

Localizing to British English may be a better first step (and provide an easier learning process for promoting localized software) than translating and localizing to different foreign language markets.

answered Feb 27 '10 at 03:55
Jay Neely
6,050 points
  • South Korea also look very promising. – Ross 14 years ago
  • Thanks for the warning ;) – Olivier Lalonde 14 years ago


In general, you need to hire a native speaker of each language you want to support to translate the text for your software. If you think this is not necessary and you can do it yourself, take a look at some of the excellent programs produced by Russian programmers for the English market. Many US buyers will not touch these programs because the English in the menus, help files, and documentation is not correct. It makes the product seem amateurish.

So- if your product is still in development, make sure the text is separate from the code and concentrate on English. Don't worry about any other language. Once you are selling the product to the English speaking portions of the world, and those other places that speak both English and some other language, you can look at your sales figures by country. That will tell you what other languages to concentrate on.

If you roll out your product supporting numerous languages all at once you are just going to be wasting your translating dollars.

answered Feb 27 '10 at 05:24
Gary E
12,510 points

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

International Localization Translation