Content Localization: Why You Need It Now

Because of the ever-growing importance of international trade, internationalization and localization are a lot less mysterious than they were ten years ago. Publishers, marketers, graphic designers, software developers, and experts in many other professions now recognize that their content needs more than a perfunctory translation to become suitable for use in new parts of the world. In fact, smart content creators who know their work is going to be presented to an international audience are already altering their content with adaptability in mind. They build content from the outset with an awareness and understanding of the localization process so that it can be more easily adjusted to suit new audiences.

The nuts and bolts of localization involve making a lot of informed decisions about how to modify words, images, brands, and products to make them successful in other countries. Below you’ll find some important points that have to be considered whenever content is being transplanted from one region and culture into another.

As the marketplace for every industry grows more and more global, more and more content is pushed across borders both technological and cultural. The same piece of writing can be put to work in software, mobile phone applications, web pages, and more traditional media. It can also be used in many different countries – provided it’s been properly and professionally localized.

Content Localization Tips You Should Consider

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Account For Text Expanding And Contracting

Sentences that express the same ideas can grow longer or shorter when translated into another language. Moving from English to Spanish, for instance, tends to lengthen sentences by a significant amount. The final format of the text must be adjusted to ensure that there’s enough space for the translated text. As an instructive example, consider the simple traffic sign that says “YIELD” in English. The Spanish equivalent, “CEDA EL PASO,” requires three words and twice as many characters.

Avoid Wordplay – Rhymes, Puns, Etc.

It can be difficult or impossible to translate subtle sentences that rely on wordplay from one language to the other. While equivalents can sometimes be found, they often change the tone or meaning of the original in ways that are better avoided.

Pay Attention To Colors

Different cultures interpret color differently. The associations and meanings attached to a color in one culture can be different and even entirely reversed in another. In one region, red might be the color of love, while in another, it’s the color of hatred.

Keep Imagery Neutral

You need to have any and all images associated with your content reviewed by someone who’s intimately familiar with the target culture. An image that would pass without comment in your native culture, like a model in a bikini, may be viewed as insensitive, offensive, or immoral in another nation.

Speaking very generally, the audience always expects to read and see content that they can imagine someone like themselves creating. It is capturing this complex process of identification that separates localization and internationalization from mere linguistic translation. Consumers respond better to products and messages that go further than just speaking their own language. Addressing them in their native tongue, with images that look familiar, presenting ideas that match their cultural tastes, is the best way to forge a productive connection. This sort of sensitive, reasonable methodology is absolutely vital to building a message with a truly global reach.

If you’d like to learn more or want expert help with a specific internationalization project, we’d be happy to answer your questions and build an effective international strategy with you. Contact us now!

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Did you find this article helpful? I’m sure you’d love this too! Localization And Translation: What’s the Difference?

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