“What’s language localization all about?” is what many people ask themselves the first time they come across the term.
In very simple terms, language localization is a process of cultural adaptation designed to make a text or a multimedia product accessible in a foreign market.
It’s more than simple translation, taking into account local idiosyncrasies such as social norms and communication styles. The process can lead to the radical modification of the source text or material to improve accessibility of the product and ensure that the language used is as appropriate as possible.
Taking a more romantic view of it, you could describe localization as the key to unlocking people’s hearts. All languages are packed with expressions that evoke sensations and images that are completely unique to that culture.
Translating words from one language to another and converting elements such as the alphabet, the numbering system and the direction of writing all help to overcome the language barrier – but it doesn’t bridge the cultural divide.
To do that, you need to embrace cultural localization. This term refers to a series of measures designed to adapt a piece of content to suit a target audience and its specific cultural context. This means sensitively and expertly adapting things like double meanings, irony, semantic maps, images, colours, signage and all other elements that are part of the culture of a particular target market.
Good localization is the only way to ensure that translated content can feel familiar to the new target audience, paving the way for a relationship of trust to be forged.
Clearly then, language localization is a valuable ally – but it can’t always be used. Let’s take a look at its sectors of application.
Language localization: applicable sectors
The most pertinent sectors for language localization are marketing, websites and software.
In marketing, localization enables a company to capture the attention of the target audience for promoting a service or product. Translating content into the language of the target market and tapping into its cultural reference points are the best way to achieve results.
Websites, video games and apps are further examples of products that require localization rather than simple translation.
Let’s take the case study of a company website, for example. The vision and values of the company, coupled with more technical information such as a description of services and products, all draw on and express the context in which the company operates. Localization can be used to convey the very essence of the company, ensuring that this done in a way that respects the culture of the country in which the company intends to expand their presence.
As we’ve seen, localization occupies a position of great strategic importance in sectors such as those mentioned above. And given the complex, delicate nature of this hybrid linguistic and cultural process, the best way to achieve results is to work with a team of professionals like Way2Global.
In addition to translation, interpreting and international development, Way2Global has also been providing localization services for the past 30 years.
Our mission is to bring people together and overcome all barriers. As such, we’ve created a vast network of native-speaker translators, enabling us to cover the entire planet. This direct, constant contact with people on the ground means that our team is aware of the intrinsic cultural reference points embedded within a language – the key to impeccable localization regardless of the nature of the content.
Way2Global’s range of localization services covers an array of different fields, such as media and entertainment, websites, software and apps, videogames, and online shopping.
The quality of our translations is guaranteed by the process we adopt when selecting our teams. We only work with the best translators who have proven expertise in their chosen fields, whatever they may be. We also ensure that every project is overseen by an assigned project manager, while our three ISO certifications offer tangible proof of our commitment to the highest standards.
Need a localization service? Get in touch!