German Language Software – You’re Speaking my Language?

Markus invited me to write a few posts about my experience with software translation and, obviously, Sisulizer in particular. For all the great support I receive from the Sisu team, on their forum and by email, this is a small favor to ask.

About Me

I am Gert Rijs, the owner of a Dutch company called GdP Software. Our company creates Specialized Windows software to monitor directories and monitor FTP sites. We are currently 5 man strong, developing, translating and supporting our software.

I will write a small series of blogposts where I share my experience with software localization. I hope you enjoy and benefit by exploring new markets.

First Steps – Germany

Initially, our programs were “English Only”. I never thought it would be a problem because our target market is Computer Professionals, they all speak English and sleep with English manuals under their pillow ­čśë

When we released a major version of WatchDirectory, a German customer (Dirk M├╝ller) filed a bug report and made a few suggestions. After a few emails we agreed he will create a German language version of WatchDirectory and its website. I didn’t expect much of it, just a slight increase in sales to Germany…

So Wrong!

Almost immediately after releasing the German version, sales to Germany (Switzerland, Austria) “exploded”. Currently, sales for the German versions of our programs are about 20% of total sales (about 10 times higher than before, twice the Great Britain sales). A percentage far greater than the German language population would explain. Selling to Germany clearly makes sense. Offering German language software and support makes the difference!

My deal with Dirk

I could have asked Dirk to translate at a fixed price. Maybe I could even convince him to do it free (or for a free license). A one-time cost, maybe pay him again when we have a major release.

However, what to do with German language questions/emails? I can read German language reasonably well, writing and speaking is a problem.

So, instead of fixed price, I hired Dirk to do translation and support for our programs. He receives a percentage of each sale to Germany.
You might think fixed price would be cheaper in the long run… Here is my experience:

  • As a percentage of total sales, Germany, Austria and Switzerland are now a whopping 20% of our market!
    It used to be about 2%, this increase can only be explained by higher visibility in German search engine results and people who want a German user interface
  • Your translator immediately becomes a very dedicated beta tester – he wants the program to be a success!

If you localize your programs for new markets, I recommend to find an existing customer to help you, like I did.

Future blogs in this series

I have a few topics in mind for future blogposts, feel free to suggest other topics in the comments.

PS

The title of this series is “slightly stolen” from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srIKcXWN6F0 – Juliette & The Licks.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks Gert for that article to the Software Localization Tool blog. We hope to see your other articles soon to learn more about Sisulizer usage in the wild.

    Perhaps I need to say that Gert is an independed micro ISV and he is not related in any other way to Sisulizer than beeing a happy and active user of Sisulizer.

    Gert, we really appreciate what you do with Sisulizer. And we really can recommend that you give Gert’s tool a try. Not just because they are localized with Sisulizer.

  2. Markus,

    It is “my pleasure”…
    If you read my post carefully, “between the lines”, you will understand our company now makes a lot more money than before – thanks to Sisulizer!

    Yes, I am an independent software vendor… But a very happy Sisu customer!

    Gert

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