Localization- what is it and how to localize your content?
Content localization is defined as a cultural translation that not only translate the language for the target audience, but also considers the unique cultural interests and standards. This is accomplished in several ways. One such way is through direct translation of encoding. Encoding is a direct sharing of information in the new language. This is often word for word, such as is found online with free services, and can lead to unclear formats in the target language. However, it can be useful for simple phrases or directions in some cases.
Another option, a top-level process, is the rewriting of content in a target language in a way that adapts to cultural differences. This can sometimes be taken as far as changing the original and intended message so the new culture is in no way insulted. The issue with this type of translation is the change in message which is not ideal for niche markets such as Christian language translation projects or even Christian translation ministries. The goal is to share the true Word, not an altered message.
This leads to the middle ground option of localization. This is adapting original content to a new audience in the target language and culture. This requires more detailed work and finesse than simple translation, but maintains the overall message. Simple steps like changing measurement systems, currency, or word choice for clarity is included.
How Does Localization Help?
Localization is helpful in growing a business in new markets. While this applies to every type of business that wishes to connect with potential customers on a personal level. Niche businesses like Christian translation ministries can greatly benefit from localization. When undertaking Christian book translation services, it is important to maintain a consistent message while still making a connection about such an important topic.
How to Localize
When localizing, there are many things to take into account, but all can be accomplished using the right translation services. The first consideration must be the language of translation. Although the language should obviously match the intended audience, certain spelling adaptations should be made, as should grammatical corrections. This goes further as certain topics must be put into layman’s terms when safe and needed. An example of such may be the technical aspects of a new app, when most users will simply want to know how it is beneficial to them personally. One other aspect to consider is the use of clichés, idioms, or culturally centered references that will need changed to make sense to the new audience.
Another part of localization is formatting and design. Designing web pages, brochures, another media forms to be dynamic is wonderful, but they must read as dynamic across cultures. This could be as simple as considering the directionality of text due to reading styles, color choices, and even background images. Each must be adapted to new markets.
A final area of concern is that your new translated materials are culturally sensitive. This along with formatting, focuses on color and photo choices so that nothing inadvertently offensive is included. Depending on the culture, certain colors may be representative of different emotions or things. While red may represent anger in one culture, it could be a royal color in another. This must all be taken into consideration.
Localization is a necessary component for expanding globally. Before undertaking such an expansion, it is good to have translation agencies in mind. Go beyond simple translation and look for a company that will maintain your message and brand, but make it accessible in new markets. This will promote your business and products in a new and creative way.