The Internet is now the source for information, products, social communication and connections, and much more. And it is a source for people all over the globe. American buy products from China, and Chinese buy products from American businesses. And on it goes with people in most every country.
It is not surprising, then, that businesses have looked to expand their market bases by expanding into foreign markets. After all, their competitors are.
But to expand into those foreign markets, companies must establish localized websites, and this means finding website translation services that can provide website localization services specifically.
The Challenge of Website Localization
A lot of amateurs are out there who believe that simply because they speak the language of a target country, they can localize websites for businesses. Don’t buy it. They can’t. professional website translation takes much more than simply knowing the language.
And any professional website translation company will tell you this. A website localization must be compatible with the national culture of the target country. Thus, using an owl visual as a symbol of wisdom will be highly offensive to cultures that see it as a depiction of evil. You get the point.
A professional website translation company will take all of the cultural nuances into consideration as it provides localization – language, educational levels of the target market, value systems, and all of the little details that will make a site pleasing to that market.
For this reason, professional translation services employ individuals who are natives of a target country – people who understand all of the cultural nuances and who can provide not just translations but recommendations for both text and visuals that will “work” for that audience. they will not simply translate entire website content. They will remodel it to suit the specific demographic to be targeted.
Website localization may also entail some programming and coding changes, especially in areas such as game localization services. When these things are called for, a professional translation service will have access to the development resources that are required.
App Localization Services
Strong middle classes are beginning to emerge in many developing nations – middle classes who are in the market for consumer goods from other parts of the world. They do not have PC’s or traditional infrastructure. Their Internet use is almost wholly by mobile devices.
It makes sense, then, that businesses expanding into these countries develop apps rather than websites. Most have apps in their native languages anyway, and so the translation and localization process for apps in target languages should be a high priority.
Again, the process is far more than just translation. The same process must occur as for website localization, and the same pros must be used to accomplish this task.
The Process of Localization
As you consider translation services for website or app localization, you need to ask very specific questions.
- How will text and visuals be adapted for local audiences and who exactly will be doing this?
- Will you be in regular communication with the individual in charge of the translation process?
- How will date, time, currency, payment procedures, numbers, etc. be formatted?
- Who will ensure that the software will be compatible with the technology of the target country?
- Will there be follow up, so that any issues or bugs can be fixed quickly?
- Who will provide updates to the website as they are needed?
- What is the ratio of machine to human translation? For good localization, a company should be relying on humans – both as translators and backup editors to review all translation for accuracy and cultural appropriateness.
- Can the company provide samples of its successful localization work in the target markets you are requesting? And are their solid references who can be contacted?
Going Global is No Longer an Option for Most Businesses
Businesses cannot remain competitive and grow without moving into foreign markets. But website translation and localization must be very carefully planned and executed.
Even the “big boys” have made some mistakes as they have engaged in their expansions. Their slogans have been badly translated; they have used inappropriate colors and symbols; they have offended local cultures.
Don’t let these things happen to you. Choose a translation service with a solid history of successful localization.