What is Localization and When Do You Need It?
50 milliseconds (or .05 seconds), that’s how long it takes users to form an opinion about your website, app, or other software product. Now imagine landing on a website or using a piece of software that was clearly not created with you in mind. Yes, the content may be written in your language, but beyond that it feels foreign. How likely are you to continue using that website or piece of software?
If you’ve ever encountered a situation like the one described above, you understand the need for localization. While sometimes confused with translation, localization is the process of adapting a product or content for a specific market or location. From this perspective, translation is actually only one aspect of the localization process.
In this article, we discuss the localization process in depth and give you some guidelines for figuring out when you need it as well as tips for choosing a localization partner. Let’s dive in!
As we said above, localization is the process of adapting a product or content for a specific market or location. It involves more than simply translating text into the relevant language. Localization is about giving a website, app, or other software product the look and feel of a product specifically designed for your target market (no one wants to feel like an afterthought).
You can think of localization in the same way you think of marketing. Suppose you have been successfully selling a particular product to a specific audience (say, women 44-55) for years. But now you want to market that product to a whole new audience (say, men 27-36). What would you change? You would certainly change the messaging. You might change the packaging design or the graphics. It might even make sense to emphasize different features of the product and their value to the new audience.
In a similar way, localization takes a product and gives it the look and feel expected by your target audience. Here are some of the considerations at play when it comes to localization services:
- Measuring units
- Number formatting
- Address formatting
- Time and date formats (long and short)
- Paper sizes
- Default font selection
- Case differences
- Character sets
- Word separation and hyphenation
- Local regulations
- Copyright issues
- Data protection
- Payment methods
- Currency conversion
Simply put, localization makes whatever you’re selling more appealing to your target market. If your goal is to reach a global audience, than localization is a must. One survey of marketing decision-makers in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and France found that 71% increased sales in their target markets by employing a localization strategy.
Just as a strong translation is more than a literal, word-for-word exchange from one language into another, a strong localization goes beyond mere translation. Even consumers from two different cultures, but who have a shared language (e.g., Spaniards vs. Mexicans), may prefer different marketing approaches. This is the power of localization.
All major global brands use localization to provide their customers with a more personalized experience. For an example of localization at work, compare Coca-Cola’s Japanese Instagram page with its page for Brazil. You can see how the posts for Japan are full of bold, colorful product images, while there are more videos and candid shots of people sharing a Coke with friends on the page targeting Brazilians.
Major brands know that if they want to expand their reach, build credibility, and increase sales, localizing their content is the way to go. If you also want to be known as a global brand, you need to consider localization.
Just as it’s important to choose the right translator for your critical documents, it’s important to choose the right localization partner for your software localization. At first, localizing a software product or website may seem intimidating. However, a full-service language service provider, like DTS Language Services, Inc., will make this process as painless and worry-free as possible.
We have the necessary resources to provide the highest quality translation and localization services on time, every time. Because we have decades of experience, we have systems in place that reduce your need to be involved in the day-to-day execution. Simply tell us who your end users are, what your overall goals for the project are, and we will get to work analyzing and adapting your product.
Ultimately, the success of your localization project comes down to the skill of your language partners. Your main goal should be for your end users not to be able to tell that the content they are reading or the product they are using was originally created in a different language. For example, if your website was originally created in English and later localized into the consumer’s native language, German, say, this should be undetectable.
Believe it or not, achieving this result requires a high level of skill learned over time. So, set your expectations from the beginning of your engagement and make open communication one of your highest priorities throughout.
When you are up against a pressing deadline, we have access to a large team who can work together on both the linguistics and the functionality of your software localization to guarantee quality assurance. In addition, our team has access to the latest translation and localization tools that will save you time and money on future projects.
DTS Language Services, Inc. has language experts to handle any type or size translation or localization project. We also have tech savvy people on our team to handle the technology side of projects. From websites to software to multimedia and elearning platforms, our internal software localization department will get the job done. Our people are our value proposition.
Localization will set you apart from your competition when it comes to reaching global customers and making sure your products resonate with them. Start attracting and connecting with new audiences today! Request a quote.