Have you ever wanted to order something from another country only to run into a website with a foreign language or unfamiliar measurements? Chances are that you either bought elsewhere or simply gave up on the purchase. This experience happened because the international retailer hasn’t localized their product.
Product localization enjoys a long list of benefits from improving sales numbers to happier customers. But what exactly is product localization?
Let’s find out below.
What is product localization?
Product localization is all about adapting and modifying a product to better fit the chosen target market. The most common reason for needing product localization is that the intended audience speaks another language.
I know what you’re thinking, “Couldn’t we just use a translator?” Well, you could, but it likely wouldn’t lead to the outcome you’re expecting. While translating may do the trick for legal documents or other content that doesn’t need to persuade an audience, localization is all about giving a product a local look and feel.
Localization requires awareness of cultural nuances, religious views, local slang, and many other factors. Street addresses and date formats need to be correct, the local currency should be displayed and all measurements should be those used by the target market. All of this helps build rapport with potential customers and creates a more attractive product.
What does product localization involve?
Product localization involves a range of steps, from analyzing the content to quality control and cohesiveness tests.
Let’s dive into each of them a bit further.
I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times before, but the old adage of, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Is certainly relevant when it comes to product localization. Due to the array of details that a localizer needs to address, beginning with a product content analysis is the key to success.
In this stage, the product localizer will map out all the necessary details that may need localizing. These details may include the product information, imagery, colors, currencies, measurements, help guides, and any other content that a customer may read.
Internationalization is particularly important if your product is a mobile application or a piece of software. Skipping this step will lead to much more time and effort spent localizing your product later down the track.
Internationalization involves separating the source code from all the product elements that need localization. If your software has a lot of hard-coded text you’ll need to begin changing them to variables so that they can accommodate changes without the need for manual intervention.
You’ll also want to ensure that the user interface is flexible and can accommodate different currencies, languages, and date and address formats without glitching out.
Localization toolkit creation
Before your translators and localizers get stuck into your product you’ll want to provide them with a project brief/localization toolkit. This toolkit will contain any relevant information and instructions that are necessary for the project.
While traditional translation doesn’t require much more than the source text and knowing the language that it needs to be translated to, localization requires much more depth. So be sure to detail the context for each piece of information that the localizers will be working on.
You’ll need to include details about the mood, purpose, and the overall message that you want customers to understand. If the product is quite technical or innovative it’s a good idea to provide a glossary of industry and product-specific keywords. Finally, in order to avoid unnecessary revisions, you should also let the localizers know of any restrictions such as the number of characters or the expected layout of the localized text.
Review of the first draft
Once the localizers have completed their first run-through, the localized product will require a review. Here you’ll need people familiar with the product and the languages involved in the localization. The goal of this stage is to ensure that the message of the original content has been translated correctly and also adapted to fit the new target market.
Imagery and content cohesion check
Once everyone is satisfied with the localization of the product it’s time to check on the finer details such as imagery and content cohesion. At this stage, you want to ensure that the imagery used fits with and enhances the localized content. You’ll also need to ensure that the imagery and content will be cohesive with your audience.
Quality control check
The final step of the process is an overall in-context evaluation. This evaluation ensures that there were no errors missed in the localization process and that everything is a-ok. If every step in the localization process was followed correctly there shouldn’t be much to do in this step besides giving the product the green light.
Do you need product localization for your business?
Product localization is an important part of launching a product to a new audience and it’s not only for audiences that speak a different language. There are many countries in the world that speak the same language but still have very different cultures and values. That’s why product localization is an important weapon in your marketing arsenal.
Here at Day Translations we specialize in product localization and pride ourselves on capturing cultural nuances and being aware of legal and other necessary needs of particular regions. Get in touch with us today to get a free quote in less than 10 minutes!