We live in a truly connected world. Technology is allowing organizations to work and operate with other businesses and consumers across the globe with ease. However, while this ability to engage with an audience anywhere in the world is allowing companies to expand and grow, it is also placing significant importance on language and the importance of effective translation.
Language localization is an essential requirement for any business operating globally, helping them to connect and build stronger relationships with their clients. What is language localization, though, and how can it help you? We thought we would explore the process further.
Many people believe that language localization and translation are interchangeable terms; however, they are two very different things. Localization is the strategy of adapting your brand’s services or products so that they are targeting the audience in a specific geographical region or international market.
For example, while English might be spoken by one in four people across the globe, there are very distinctive differences between British and American English. Understanding these nuances is essential in building a strong relationship with your customers. Equally, perhaps you are looking to transfer your Spanish-language video game to a wider audience in another language. While translating the voiceovers is essential, there are also various cultural references and idioms that will need to be adapted.
For any business or organization looking to work globally, language localization is essential in helping them to break into new markets. In the highly competitive world that we live in, it is vital that you are able to effectively communicate with your target audience in terms of language and cultural norms.
Language localization will help to ensure that your brand feels completely natural to your audience. When consumers feel like they are working with a brand that understands them and is talking to them directly, they are far more likely to engage with them and utilize their services. In turn, this will help you to increase your reach and boost your sales.
Of course, it is not only about increasing your reach. When customers are able to identify with your brand more closely, then you are more likely to generate much greater goodwill. It also helps you to create a stronger customer experience, ensuring you are reaching all of the required touchpoints that leave them feeling confident in your brand.
Thankfully, when it comes to language localization, you do need to translate your content into one of the over 7,150 languages that are currently used in the world today. Instead, you just need to ensure that you are transposing your website, brochures, and content into the language of your destination.
Over half of the world’s population currently speaks one of 23 languages, and some of the most popular and widely used of these include:
- English (spoken by 16.5% of the world)
- Mandarin Chinese (12.3% of the world)
- Hindi (8.3% of the world)
- Spanish (7% of the world)
- French (3.6% of the world)
Language localization is an all-encompassing term, and businesses will need to review everything from their website and marketing materials to contracts and manuals. There are a lot of things to consider when conducting localization, but some of the most important include:
Spelling Spelling is one of the most important factors when it comes to localization, particularly when translating between British and American English. For example, the former uses ‘ise’ whereas the latter uses ‘ize’.
Cultural references Cultural nuances and phrases are another important consideration. For example, in English, the phrase “put the cart before the horse” is a common quote; however, in France, they use the term Bulls instead of a horse.
Visuals and colors Localization is much more than just the text. You will also need to ensure that your text is visually laid out correctly for your target audience (do they read left-to-right or right-to-left?), and you will also need to ensure you are using the right colors and themes that they will relate to.
Grammar High-quality language localization should also factor in the grammatical rules of your chosen language. One small mistake in your written text can be the difference between your project being a success or a failure, so comprehensive proofreading is essential.
Tone Another major factor to consider when undertaking language localization is the tone of the content. Different cultures and countries will have different expectations of the tone your documents should come in. That is why you need to ensure that you are using the correct dialect and nuances of your target audience.
While translation and localization follow similar practices, there are distinct differences between the two. Translation involves simply transposing content from its original language into your chosen language. While this can be effective in helping readers understand the original context of the document or file, certain phrases and terms will not translate with the same meaning.
For quick communication, this might not be such a problem. However, for professional documents such as contracts, manuals, research papers, and more, this could result in a major miscommunication. Localization, on the other hand, covers everything from meaning and grammar to the cultural, ethical, and societal guidelines of the destination language.
This ensures that readers are able to get the exact same meaning from the content, no matter the language that they are reading it in. This often requires the work of a specialist who will be able to tailor and adjust the wording and structure accordingly so that it meets the expectations of the local audience.
For any business looking to branch out into new countries or markets, then language localization is an essential requirement. In order to stand out above your competitors and showcase everything that makes your brand special to consumers, you need to ensure that you are communicating with them in their own language.
This goes much further than simply translating your existing content into the new destination language and requires a comprehensive understanding of the minor nuances of your new market. This is where it is essential that you are working with a professional localization software that will not only be able to accurately transform your content but also stay up to date with the latest cultural trends to ensure you are always engaging with your audience correctly.
In our ecosystem you will find all the services needed to accurately translate your website, documents, and content into the correct language, as well as ensure that the structure, flow, and meaning remain the same. So if you are planning on growing your business, speak to us today.
Making a comprehensive localization strategy for your business, along with a step-by-step plan and KPIs to achieve, can be helpful for you. Start right now with our guide on localization strategy, we help you to start your way in localize your business.