What is localisation?

Localisation is about the translation and cultural adaptation of software, documentation and games, and requires translators with highly specialised skills. The localisation industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, and there is a lot of work in the market for translators who possess the right skills.

First launched in January 2009, this online course in Localisation is an interactive e-learning course designed and developed by a practising software localiser with many years' experience in the localisation industry.


The course lasts 11 weeks and is normally offered 2-3 times a year. 

Next course

  • TBC
Course Syllabus

The course covers the following topics and requires participants to complete a total of 10 practical tasks in order to receive a certificate:

Introduction to software localisation: Unit 1 is an introductory unit to this online course and to the concept of localisation. You will read about the moment in time when localisation became a part of some translators' working lives and what localisation actually means. This is followed by an example of an original software application and its localised version. The unit concludes with a self-test quiz. 

Translatable components: Unit 2 will look in more detail at the practical aspects of localisation. You will learn about translatable components in a localisation project, about localisation tools and processes, and will then read a true story about Bob the Builder. The unit concludes again with a self-test quiz. You can then move on to the tasks associated with this unit.

Localising resource files: 3 units are dedicated at the specifics of localising resource files, starting with an example of the internationalisation process for a simple program in order to prepare it for localisation, dealing with linguistic and cultural differences in localisation, and researching terminology for localisation projects, followed by identifying translatable GUI components, examples of resource files as well as translation guidelines for resource files, and an article why software localisation is so demanding. The last unit in this series concludes with a practical task to localise a resource file.

Localising online help: 4 units are dedicated at localising online help, starting with an overview of online help formats, a close look at WebHelp and readmes, working through the whole practical process of localising a .CHM help (WebHelp) in a real scenario, from receipt of the files to the final delivery, looking at the different files and processes for localising a .CHM help from a localisation/translator's point of view, xml/xliff files, and finally localising a part of a .CHM help.

Screenshooting and localising graphics: This unit will introduce you to the ins and outs of screenshooting and localising graphics as part of a localisation project.

Software testing and bug logging: The final unit will introduce you to software testing and bug logging which can be a very interesting and exciting task. This unit concludes with a practical bug logging task.

The online course does not require the use of any specialised software apart from one unit which covers the localisation of graphics. You can, however, choose whether you want to use freely available software, use software which is already installed on your computer, or download and install trial versions of commercial image editing software.

The course follows a set format, with written course material (about 4000 words per unit) provided at the beginning of each week, followed by self-test questions. Each unit is then followed by either group or individual tasks. Tutors are on hand on set days to help with any unit- and task-specific questions you may have.

All course material, including tools for group discussions, email, assignments, quizzes etc., are accessible via Moodle (the e-learning platform used at UCL). Based on experience, the weekly workload for participants is between 6 and 10 hours.

Certificate of Completion

There is no exam but you have to complete ALL the set tasks in order to receive a certificate of completion for this course.

The Tutor and the Course

Daniela Ford is the author and moderator of the online course in Localisation. She is a Member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (MITI) and a Senior Teaching Fellow at CenTraS. Daniela has an MSc in Technical Translation from the University of Hildesheim, Germany. She has worked for 5 years as an in-house translator (French/English into German) before going freelance in 1999 and then founding her own company. Her main subject areas are technical and software localisation and she works for many blue-chip companies.

Daniela has been teaching part-time on the MSc Translation at Imperial College London since 2001 (when the course was launched) and is continuing to teach on it since the course was transferred to UCL in 2013. She also teaches at the University of Westminster in London and has taught (and still does so) at several other universities in and outside of London, including the Middle East.

Daniela is an SDL certified trainer for SDL Trados technologies.

Daniela is a Committee member of the London Regional Group of the ITI (Institute of Translation & Interpreting). She was also involved in a 3-year EU-funded project on creating e-learning courses for translators.

When Daniela doesn't work she enjoys gardening, reading, learning new languages, DIY (especially plumbing), looking after her tropical fish and travelling.

Who Should Apply

This course will be useful for individuals and company representatives who have a professional interest in localisation. It will be of particular interest to translators and trainee translators embarking or thinking of embarking on a career in localisation.

You will need a good working knowledge of English and at least one other language to translation-proficiency level. The course is particularly appropriate for those who are or will be working from English into another language. You will also need a high level of competence with computers. Your own computer and access to the internet (preferably with a high-speed connection) are indispensable.

How To Apply

Please download the application form below:

To apply, email your completed application form, together with a short CV, to selcs.centras-professional@ucl.ac.uk. Please write 'Online Course in Localisation' in the subject line of your message.

Fees and Payment

Tuition Fees

  • £725 - Standard fee
  • £652 - Affiliate rate*
  • £616 - Returning participants who have already completed an online course with CenTraS
  • £225 - CenTraS students/graduates/academic visitors/alumni.

*CenTraS professional courses affiliates: Institute of Translators and Interpreters (ITI), Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL), The Subtitlers' Association (SUBTLE), and local organisations including ATAV, ATA, APTRAD, PEM and Translators and Interpreters Australia. For information or to add your organisation to the list of affiliates, please contact the Professional Course Co-ordinator.

Payment and cancellations

Once you have been offered a place on the course, you will be sent details of how to pay via the University Online Store:

Please note:

  • All payments must be made in full, in Pounds Sterling by debit or credit card.
  • Places are not confirmed until payment is received, which must be at least one week before the course start date.
What do participants say about the course?

"Just would like to say I’m enjoying the course very much. Thanks a lot for the wonderfully well-planned material in such a complex subject."
Participant, December 2020

"This course is a really good start for someone who wants to know what Localisation is and how this industry works."
Participant, December 2020

"This course has provided me with an incredible insight into Localisation and I can't recommend it highly enough."
Participant, December 2020

"Very interesting and challenging in places doing it as distance learning/online but I have managed to solve difficulties."
Participant, December 2020

"Thank you for the time and dedication to the team. It has been a very informative and knowledgeable course". Participant, Autumn 2016.

"I would like to thank you for the online localisation course. It has been a very pleasant experience and I enjoyed every bit of it (I am in fact quite sad it is now over!). The course was extremely well-structured and I managed to learn a lot". Participant, Autumn 2016.

"I'd like to thank you for the course which has been very interesting and has opened up a new world for me. I think I would enjoy working as a bug tester. It has been a pleasant surprise. Thank you for your help, support and useful information. It has been inspiring. Hoping to put into practice what I have learnt as soon as possible". Participant, Autumn 2014

" Thank you for this course and all your support throughout! I've learned really valuable things about localisation. I would definitely recommend the UCL course to anyone looking into localization. So thanks again!" Participant, Autumn 2014

"I would like to add that I have really enjoyed the course. The content provided was very good and complete and I will for sure apply some of it in my daily job as a translator/linguist specialist". Participant, Autumn 2013

"Thank you very much for this course - I learned a lot and had a lot of fun with the tasks and units". Participant, Autumn 2013

"I really enjoyed the e-course, I'm just sad it's finished! Thank you so much for helping and supporting all these weeks... for everything!"  Participant, Autumn 2013

Language Combinations
From English into:
  • Arabic
  • Chinese (Simplified and Traditional)
  • Czech
  • Dutch 
  • Estonian
  • French 
  • Finnish
  • German 
  • Greek 
  • Hungarian 
  • Italian 
  • Indonesian 
  • Japanese 
  • Lithuanian
  • Polish 
  • Portuguese (Brazilian and European)
  • Russian 
  • Spanish 

Into English from:
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish 

If you don't find your language combination above, please contact us

Further Information

If you have any queries about this course, please contact us: selcs.centras-professional@ucl.ac.uk