International Variables: Translation Problems for the Localization of Web Apps

  • Elena de la Cova Universidad Pablo de Olavide


In localization, international variables refer to source cultural elements that require a certain degree of adaptation in a target culture, such as date, time and number formats, currencies, colours, images, humour elements, etc. Although localization involves the adaptation of a digital product to a specific market, certain aspects of localization projects (i.e., source file formats, translation tools or project specifications) could become an obstacle to achieving that ultimate goal of localization, even giving rise to errors or culturally inappropriate translations. This qualitative, interpretative study analyses a corpus compiled from the online help pages of web applications to identify and describe potential translation problems caused by international variables

Author Biography

Elena de la Cova, Universidad Pablo de Olavide
Elena de la Cova is a lecturer at the Languages and Translation Department of the Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Spain), where she has worked since 2010. She earned her PhD at the University of Seville in 2017 and holds a Postgraduate Degree in Translation and Technology from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (2008). From 2004 to 2009, she worked as Localization Specialist at Google in Dublin, and from 2009 to 2018, she was a freelance translator for leading technology companies. She has authored various contributions in specialized journals and book chapters in publications indexed in Scholar Publishing Index (SPI). Her research focuses mainly on content localization and translation processes.


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