Globalization and localization of translation relate to adapting communication to the needs of those who speak different languages, live in different countries, and are immersed in different cultures.
Today, multilingual communication that is to be used in various markets is prepared already at the product planning stage. You can approach translating texts that are meant to suit many different audiences in two ways — through globalization or localization. This article will explain the difference.
The globalization of translation aims to prepare a text that will connect people of different cultures. To do so, the text must not contain references that are only understood in a small community. In the process of globalizing translation, the translator must also take good care of any troubling thoughts and elements. While these might seem funny in one culture, they may cause confusion or be considered offensive in another. It is the translator’s task to simplify communication, avoid idioms or locally fashionable but globally incomprehensible phrases, and, above all, to ensure that the translated material is consistent. Therefore, as a result of this process, the text will be universal and general. Its main goal is to build understanding between people who speak different languages. Having globalized the translation, you can use the exact text on a website or product packaging in multiple language versions in other countries.
More and more products, however, cannot function in distant local markets with a literal translation. Therefore, when it comes to adapting a product to the local market culture, we mean the localization of translation. This process makes the text embedded in the local context understandable at the level of a given culture. Companies decide to localize their communication as it brings measurable benefits.
Research conducted by Distomo shows that localized applications are downloaded 128% more often than their non-localized competitors. In addition, the profits of localized applications are 26% higher than those without local language versions.
If you want the text localization process to be effective, you should precede with a series of activities that I will not refer to in detail right now. Those activities include distinguishing all of the elements of culture and content characteristics for a given country already at the product planning stage and continuing until the product enters the market. This stage is called internationalization. Omitting it extends the time it takes to launch a product on a given market. The localization itself is also a concept broader than translation, but this text focuses on language standards only.
Localization is a process used by the translator to reflect the cultural context of a given country. It is not just a matter of good translation. It is also not just a matter of literal translation. When it comes to localization, the translator must identify and neutralize linguistic barriers and embed the linguistic sensitivity of a given cultural circle. For example, they might omit incomprehensible cultural references or replace them in the translated text with clear and understandable ones.
Localization is used to translate computer software and games, applications, websites, or marketing and advertising content. Wherever the translated text serves a goal (the goal might be to make a purchase or encourage subscriptions to a newsletter), localization increases the chances of success. The point is for the communication recipient to be unaware that they are reading a translation and instead perceive the text as if it were written especially for them. The effect of localizing a translation is communication that sounds familiar and inspires trust. Localized translation can improve the perception of a brand in the local market and translate into greater interest in its offer.
Regardless of the type and purpose of the text, the more natural it sounds to the communication recipient, the more effective it is. Irrespective of whether you need a literal translation or localization — contact a professional. Translation will give you quality, and localization will help you achieve your goals.