In today’s global world, communicating with people of different cultures and languages is vital. According to Lingoda even the 20th most spoken language in the world—Turkish—has around 80 million speakers. And in the 2nd spot sits Mandarin, which has about 1,117 million speakers.
Said another way, only about 20% (1.5 billion people) of the world’s population speaks English. But, only about 360 million of these people use it as their first language. In essence, around 4.8% of the world can fully engage with the English language.
So, to engage with the rest of the world, localization—also known as l10n—is a must.
What is localization?
Localization is the process of taking a brand and changing its content, product, or service to suit a particular audience. Many consumers prefer to support local businesses. So by speaking to them in a way that resonates with their values, you’ll become their first choice.
Speaking to your audience in a language they understand is important. But localization also takes into account cultural, religious, and political influences. This makes sure that your brand fits with a local audience.
What does localization cover?
While translation is the first step to localization, there are other important elements as well. These include editing graphics, content, layouts, conversion rates, and formatting.
For example, making sure that graphics are suitable for the target audience. Or making sure that the conversion of all units of currency and measurement is correct. And all this is done under the umbrella of addressing legal requirements and regulations.
Why is localization important?
The most spoken language in the world—English—only accounts for 4.8% of the world, on a first language basis. This means that there are billions of people in the world that your business could communicate with.
According to the Harvard Business Review, if a product has information in the consumer’s own language, 72.4% of them would be more likely to buy it. And just over half of the consumers said that the availability of information in their own language was more important than price.
So if you want to get the most out of your brand’s launch in a new country, make sure to get help from localization experts.
Common areas where localization is used
Localization is an important part of any business that wants to expand overseas. A few common areas that need localization are mobile or desktop applications, websites, and gaming. There are many more but I know that you don’t have all day!
So, let’s start with applications.
While computers and mobile devices are the foundation, applications are what allow us to perform certain actions. Localization helps users access, troubleshoot, and enjoy the application they’re using.
Here are a few aspects of application localization to be aware of:
Make sure to separate out any translatable resources
This means separating any content, graphics, or other files from your program’s executable code. By doing this you can avoid editing the code by mistake.
Make sure localized text fits the layout
Naturally, different languages take up different amounts of space. Some read from right to left or are even written vertically. Make sure that your layout is responsive to text size so that you can avoid bad user experiences.
Consider the context in your translations
If you’ve ever tried to use Google Translate, you know how important context is. So, make sure that your translators understand the meaning behind your original content. You can even get them to play the game so that they can develop a deeper understanding of it.
These days, websites are where we communicate, hang out, learn and share knowledge. Localization showcases your business to people from different cultures, languages, and political conditions. So, blending in with local brands is vital for securing new consumers.
Here are a few keys points to consider in website localization:
Have a plan
Like your business plan, a localization plan is important to ensure a smooth process. Having a written plan gives you a guide that keeps you on track. But it can also highlight areas that you may have forgotten to think about. And you know what they say, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.”
Identify your target market
Localization is only effective if you understand who you’re targeting. This is where you complete detailed research about your consumer. You need to consider their culture, country, values, beliefs, and other important factors.
Search Engine Optimization is an important part of people finding you on the web. And keywords are how you get found. Make sure to target the keywords people search for when they look for your solution.
Everybody loves games, but finding them in certain languages can be difficult. Make sure that your content, programs, and documents are optimized. Especially for languages where your game niche is popular.
Here’s a brief overview of the process:
Catalog everything that needs localization so you’re aware of what needs to be done. You could also get your localizers to play the game so they have a deeper understanding of the content.
This is where the work gets done. Your localizers are hard at work making your content suitable for your target market.
Editing of programming
This step takes the localized content and combines it with the executable code for your game.
Make sure everything runs well
Once the localized version is playable, it’s time to run through all the changes. This is to make sure everything is correct and there are no translation or layout errors.
The manufacturer will review the game one last time to ensure their needs have been met. Once you make any final edits, the process is complete.
Always use a localization expert
Here at Day Translations, we’ve been helping businesses localize since 2007. Our localization services range from software and mobile applications to gaming, movies, and more. We understand the importance of effective localization.
That’s why your content will always meet local legal requirements, slang, expressions, idioms, and formatting. We will also ensure that your content is culturally appropriate for your target market.
Need a localization expert? Get in contact with us on 1-800-969-6853 and you’ll receive your quote in less than ten minutes. Plus, we’re available 24/7 so we can help you when you need it most!