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Localization Tips

Globalization is a phenomenon that’s been bringing the world closer through the exchange of goods and products, information, knowledge and culture. There is plenty of evidence that offerings adapted to local language, requirements, and tastes are much more successful. To do this, many companies utilize localization, which is the process of adapting a product or content to a specific locale or market. For organizations having a global presence, the aim of localization is to give a product the look and feel of having been created for the target market and to eliminate, or at least minimize, local sensitivities.

The following are a few tips to optimize your localization efforts.

• Thinking about localizing during the entire process of developing your original content can mean less cost, and a greater potential for reuse. Whether content is displayed in a software interface, on a website, or in print, the product design must make allowances for the target market requirements. This will ensure your design concept is more easily internationalized.

• History, culture, ideals and propriety, as well as language are greatly varied across the world. Therefore, do not assume your local market reflects the characteristics of the global market.

• Avoid using slang and colloquialisms. Messages that are word-crafted purely for the domestic market can be lost in translation. Also, be certain your product supports different calendars, date and time formats, as well as ensuring your design accommodates displaying characters beyond your alphabet. For the best results, writing simple, active-voice sentences works best.

• If done right, graphics can be a great tool for communication. Graphics are a universal language which require no translation and are understood by everyone regardless of location.

• Always make allowances for text expansion in dialog boxes. Often, alphabets and text expands up to 20% when translated from English.

• Avoid making changes to your original content once you begin the localization process. A single word change in your source can mean many, many changes to cover all the target languages. This can cause delays and increase cost. According to a study by Common Sense Advisory, you limit yourself to one third of a potential $45 trillion economic opportunity if your websites are only available in English. Don’t forget that localization means building bridges to other people, places, and cultures. The above tips are simply a few ways to make this process easier and less time consuming.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at Human Touch Translations. We would be happy to help ensure your message is translated effectively across cultures.

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