How many companies actually track development costs for internationalization?
When building global-ready software, there are remarkable opportunities to gain efficiencies during product development, refactoring and maintenance. Localization has traditionally focused on reducing the costs for translating words yet beholden to developers for fixing localization issues in source code as an ad hoc or separate iterative process. We’ve been talking about how there’s much to gain from streamlining internationalization (i18n), calling it “shifting left” – as in shifting focus earlier in product development. That said, the proof is in the numbers – real case study numbers.
Because Lingoport provides extensive internationalization services as well as enterprise internationalization software, we’re in a fairly unique position to specify, measure and analyze development issues and collaborate with customers on the results. We compiled data from 20 implementation projects comprising a wide variety of programming languages and product domains. We broke that data down by type and average bug density (i18n issues per lines of code) and considered issues like stages in the product development process, technical debt, ongoing development, testing cycles and more.
Internationalization and Return On Investment
To our knowledge, there has not been a study of historical data and a corresponding system that lets managers see why internationalization is often late and difficult to deliver. There are good project management studies on costs of coding issues at various times during the product cycle, but we couldn’t find anything specific to i18n and localization that was data and cost driven.
As a manager and stakeholder, you’ve got to justify and prove that improvements are worthwhile – even if they seem obvious to you. Organizational process change often requires the ability to demonstrate cost and productivity benefits.
We presented our findings in a webinar on June 5th. You can register to watch the recording here: http://www.lingoport.com/events/internationalization-cost-study/