Thursday, December 15, 2016

Q&A: Localizing KEPServerEX for Global Users

Posted by Glen Marquis

Our ongoing blog series on the new features of KEPServerEX® Version 6 has covered a lot of ground. We’ve described how Version 6 addresses the ever-changing industrial connectivity needs of our customers, offering native OPC UA technology, a new Configuration API, and an updated user interface. In these posts, we’ve strived to highlight the key goals of Version 6: streamlining server management and deployment, and increasing product scalability and IT-friendliness.   

Another major objective of Version 6 is to increase KEPServerEX's accessiblity for global users. Prior to Version 6, KEPServerEX was only available in English. In order to navigate and interact with the product, Kepware’s end users and channel partners in non-English speaking regions had to translate and interpret all the software components. This limited the number of people who could configure, troubleshoot, and monitor KEPServerEX. With Version 6, we've localized core features and top-tier drivers into Japanese and German. This increases accessibility, productivity, and safety for native Japanese and German users and gives them increased confidence in configuring, monitoring, and troubleshooting KEPServerEX safely and efficiently.

To learn more about how we planned, tested, and executed multilingual support for KEPServerEX Version 6, please read the Q&A pairs below. 

Q: What is software localization? Japanese language example
A: Fundamentally, “internationalization” and “localization” in computing align software to the language, regional differences, and technical requirements of a target demographic. “Internationalization” is when the software is essentially re-designed so it can be adapted to various languages with minimal future engineering changes. It is usually the first step towards localization, which is the process of translating an internationalized product into a specific language, script, culture, and coded character set environment.

For Version 6, we internationalized KEPServerEX to not just meet requirements of German and Japanese localization, but to prepare the product for future localization as well. 

Q: Why did Kepware choose to localize Version 6?
German language.jpg
A: With installations in more than 120 countries, Kepware is truly a global product. As we’ve seen our customer base expand into more international markets—especially in Europe and Asia—the localization of Version 6 demonstrates our commitment to supporting the specific needs of our international customers.

Q: Have all features and components of KEPServerEX been localized?
A: Not yet, but we’re getting there. Most of the core features of KEPServerEX have been localized into Japanese and German for Version 6. The 32 top-tier international drivers—including all of those within the Allen-Bradley, Modbus, and Siemens suite, the OPC UA Client and BACnet/IP drivers, and the Omron and Mitsubishi suites (Japanese only)—have also been localized.  

In addition, several server components have been translated, including the:

  • Configuration view
  • Menu bar
  • Menus and dialogs
  • Help documentation
  • Configuration wizards (for designated drivers)
  • Administration Menu
  • Event Log
  • Media Level Redundancy
  • Connection Sharing
  • Scheduler

All remaining drivers have been partially localized, which will enable quicker, more efficient translation in future releases. We've also localized our website into German and Japanese

Q: Who will benefit most from localization?
A: Localizing KEPServerEX improves the productivity, accessibility, and safety of customers, end users, and channel partners in Japan and Germany. Local and global customers can have increased confidence that their technicians and engineers can now safely and efficiently configure, monitor, and troubleshoot KEPServerEX in their native language.

Q: How do users select their language?
A: The installation identifies the language of the operating system (OS) and defaults to the local OS language setting (if it is supported). Dynamic language selection at Runtime is also supported, with language selection settings available in an easily-accessible location.Installer language.jpg

Kepware’s internal teams—especially Technical Support representatives—also benefit from this localization. They’ll be able to toggle between languages—for example, between German and English—as they engage in a support call and work to rectify issues in an efficient, timely, and accurate manner.

Q: Are there plans to localize KEPServerEX into other languages?
A: Yes. These enhancements prepare KEPServerEX for additional localization and translation in future releases. We hope long-term localization will ultimately provide more productive, streamlined, and safe user experiences for all our non-English speaking users. 

Q: How will you decide what languages to localize next?
A: Customer feedback and industry research will help guide our decisions of what languages to localize and when. Based on strong demand, we have already translated some materials into Mandarin Chinese—including the recent KEPServerEX Connectivity Platform video—and are hoping to localize more materials into additional languages soon.

As with all enhancements, our ultimate goal with localization is to meet the evolving needs of our customers and end users. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment on this post or send us an email to let us know what languages you’d like to see supported included in upcoming releases.

Learn More

The KEPServerEX Version 6 Webinar is a great resource for learning more about Version 6’s new features, including those specific to additional language support. To interact with and experience the new capabilities firsthand, download a free demo of KEPServerEX Version 6.

Download Free Demo