It’s great that your business is using professional translation services to connect with customers and liaise with suppliers around the world, but are you also using localization and, if not, should you be?
What is localization?
Localization is the process of adapting documents to foreign audiences. While translation focuses on the conversion of a document’s text from one language to another, localization looks at the content of the document and considers whether any of it could cause offense to the audience to whom it is going to be presented.
Customs and traditions differ from country to country (and even region to region). What is acceptable in one place – and so much so that you wouldn’t even give it a moment’s thought – might cause a great deal of upset in another. That’s where localization professionals come in.
What do localization experts do?
Localization experts can review your documentation and provide detailed advice on how to adapt it to your intended audience. This guidance could include a wide range of factors. For example, you might need to reorder the way that you have presented a document’s sections to better suit the new audience, or you might need to change the sales approach that you have taken. The wrong approach can be very off-putting to certain audiences and localization can ensure that you don’t waste the money you’ve spent on translation by offending your readers with the first paragraph of your translated text!
Localization experts have detailed knowledge of the audience that you are trying to reach. Their knowledge will cover local customs, business approaches and other factors that will influence the advice that they are able to provide in relation to your document. That’s why using a reputable localization company is so important – the advice that you receive will be specifically tailored to your document and the audience you are planning to approach.
Localization elements to consider
It’s not just your sales brochure, website or other document that you need to consider when consulting your localization company. The names of your business and products also need to be thought through. For example, there is a Polish brand of chocolate bars called ‘Fart.’ Clearly the name would need to be changed in order to sell the product to English-speaking audiences. Similarly, ‘Barf’ is a brand of washing powder in Iran that would need to undergo a name change in order to be sold as an English-language product.
Translating your company’s name also comes with a warning though, as Jolly Green Giant discovered when the translation of their company name turned them into Intimidating Green Ogre in Saudi Arabia!
Has your translation company suggested you use a localization service as well as translation? If so, have you taken their advice? It could well pay dividends when presenting your brand and products to audiences spread around the world!