Localization is a process in which a certain product or service adapts to a specific culture. Let’s take a Chinese app as an example. In the beginning, the app served the local population, but at some point, the app owners decided to develop an app-twin for the American market. The adaptation of the original app to the American market is called localization.
To perform the localization process, the app company hires a company that specializes in localization services. These services include content translation from Chinese to English, and content editing and rewriting so that it complies with American cultural norms. Chinese is very different from English, and therefore, changes in the user interface and product design may be needed, as well. Local culture plays a huge role: writing style, client CTA, font types and even background colors are all important parameters that are taken into consideration.
A New Digital Reality
We live in a digital world without boundaries. Information flows from one end of the world to the other at the speed of light. Everyone is exposed to just about everything through their smartphones and laptops. This reality has redesigned the business world as we know it. In just about every country, people use hundreds if not thousands of products or services from different countries around the world. In order to be successful, these products and services must adapt to their new markets. That’s where localization comes in.
What Does This Have to Do with Translation?
As opposed to standard translation, localization encompasses everything. Translation is a part of the localization process. In fact, localization expands the boundaries of translation and enriches it. Localized translation must be intimately familiar with the context in which the content will be presented, with the design, with the target audiences and the local culture.
When Localization Becomes Critical
Localization is essential to the success of many companies that are looking to expand to new markets. Without precise, up-to-date and creative localization, their products – regardless of quality – will be misinterpreted by the target audiences. That is why localization is not a “nice to have” service. It is absolutely critical.