Certified language service providers have the resources to conduct comprehensive studies of target cultures in order to correctly adapt a business’s product or service. Their specialized linguists and programmers understand a specific region’s culture inside and out, right down to the current slang. From there, they use their skills and unique knowledge to localize products such as software programs, video games, websites and e-learning tools to specific countries, regions, and ethnic groups. Localization is not only required for regions or countries where people speak different languages, but also needed when there is one common language spoken. For instance, even though English is common to the U.S. and Great Britain, localization is needed when marketing to, or between, both cultures. An American potato chip company will need localization services for advertising in England, because, across the pond, chips are actually fries, and crisps are chips.
Marketing experts spend their days making sure that their company’s brand and messaging are appropriate, accurate, and accessible to the public. That ‘public’ may be local, regional, and, nowadays, international.
Our broadening global economy is presenting new locations and demographics to sell products and services to. It is also making it more difficult to successfully market to these new targets. This is where the importance of “localization” comes into play. More than just a series of translations, localization is a process that involves programmers, linguists, and marketing experts working together to ensure that a product or service is translated accurately and effectively for an entire target region and/or culture.
Ian Sawyer (http://www.buzzsaweditorial.com) writes articles about the translation industry for Translators, Inc. (http://www.translators.com), a full-service foreign language solutions company providing services for over 18 years in over 130 languages.
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