The importance of localization is appreciated more and more each day as the world shifts to an increasingly virtual environment. Thanks to the improvement of the internet, the world is now your oyster. You can access a product customarily sold worlds away with just one click. Globalization has led to fierce competition in the international market, and companies are obliged to follow critical steps to stay in the game. One golden rule for staying in the game is to address people from their perspectives, and localization is the key to doing that.
While opening up to new markets, companies often struggle with which service they need, confusing translation and localization services. It is essential to define both services to clarify their purposes. Translation is the act of rendering words from a source language into a target language. The translator is responsible for staying loyal to the source text to achieve equivalence, and thus, both texts are almost identical. Yet, the target audience is often disregarded in translation, whereas localization prioritizes the target. Localization involves the act of translation, yet it also addresses deeper communication factors considering the target culture. For instance, cultural expressions, measurement units, date formats, and idioms are adapted to the target culture.
Giving an example will probably make it clearer. The idiom “it’s raining cats and dogs” emphasizes the severity of the rain. If this idiom is translated word for word into Turkish, it will make no sense in the target language, and thus, the audience would not understand the context. In localization, the equivalent in the target language is sought. Instead of rendering words, localization transfers the message.
Significant Elements While Localizing
Localization service is an indispensable element of competition for global companies. There are basic yet very crucial elements to focus on while localizing:
- Measurement Units: Americans use imperial measurement units rather than metrics. Therefore, when localizing a text according to British culture, it is important to focus on measurement units and use the correct one.
- Currency Units also require localization. If the text targets an American audience, converting the currency into dollars is necessary.
- Date Formats are essential when targeting a specific market. For instance, Americans and British use different date formats. 04/03/22 means April 3rd for Americans, yet it refers to March 4th for the British.