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Pseudolocalization -What are the Psëëêùùdö-lóçåìålîîzååtîîøøñ Méêéthóöòds?

Pseudolocalization -What are the Psëëêùùdö-lóçåìålîîzååtîîøøñ Méêéthóöòds?

Pseudolocalization -What are the Psëëêùùdö-lóçåìålîîzååtîîøøñ Méêéthóöòds?

Pseudolocalization -What are the Psëëêùùdö-lóçåìålîîzååtîîøøñ Méêéthóöòds? 

Pseudolocalization (also know as Pseudotranslation) is one the “free” techniques less known and used in the Localization industry. To be honest I’m not sure why this happens. Getting your app (or game) localised is expensive, however Pseudolocalization is almost free. If you first pseudolocalize you can get a good overview about how well prepared is your content for a further internalisation phase. 

A few years ago I was working for a Localization vendor and I remember a client with a small budget but very smart spending every single Eur. They always asked us before starting the localization or LQA phase to perform a pseudoloc check. 

I’m going to share with you how I was doing it. This approach is still valid nowadays :)


There are 4 pseudolocalization techniques 

  1. Accenter. Replace all the vowels of your text with extended characters (i to í, u to ü, n to ñ and so on …)
  2. Expander. Make the text longer to check how the text expansion will be handled in the different dialogs
  3. Brackets. It will add brackets around each message. This will prevent bugs coming from concatenating messages. Since the structure of the sentences varies from language to language the brackets technique is very effective to identify these errors.
  4. Fakebidi. This technique emulates the use of a “mirror user interface”. It goes right to left to check the accuracy in languages such as Arabic or Hebrew. This method basically take the original source text and adds Unicode characters to make it behave just like real RTL.


There are different tools to use for Pseudolocalization.

I have done this in the past with Wordfast. It’s pretty straightforward to run this check.

Go to the PM section and select the Pseudotranslation tab


Select the files and choose the format


Click on Pseudotranslate button

And you will get a dummy file showing different characters supported

 Other Pseudotranslations tools

  1. I have also used SDL Passolo to test pseudolocalization while getting my SDL PM certification. This is a great tool but a little bit pricy. I would recommend Passolo for traditional localization content (documentation, web site, business software …)
  2. For games or apps I believe MemoQ offers a good balance between quality and price.

If you decide to use MemoQ you can find this nice tutorial that explains how to do it.

  1. Another interesting resource is this Google app. It provides a tool and an API to perform pseudolocalization.
  2. Finally we have Crowding tool that it will allow you for free to check the pseudolocalization. More info HERE


Time to summarize!

The benefits of implementing pseudolocalization in your localization strategy are the following:

  • You will get a real feel about how the text will be displayed once the real localization is done
  • It will allow you to find text truncation and cosmetic issues in advance
  • It will identify issues with hard-coded strings
  • It will test that the different charsets can be used
  • It well help to identify and isolate strings that you don’t want to get translated

 When you invest some time or a little bit of money to do pseudoloc before real translations starts, you are setting up the foundations to avoid delays in the schedule. You are also saving time by identifying early in the process LQA bugs (that otherwise it will be only found at a later stage during the testing phase). And overall you are guarantying your files are ready for internalisation.


Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. I’m sure that if Benjamin Franklin had worked in the localization industry he would love the pseudolocalization phase :)

 Enjoy your pséüólôcälïzÂtïóñ!


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