With erasing boundaries, products and services have spread widely. Nonetheless, marketers and business owners have found that in order for their business to expand in other cultures they have to speak in that culture’s tongue. However, mastering other languages was a bit challenging, this is where the term localization was found.
What is Localization?
Localization is the process of adapting a product or service to meet the linguistic, cultural, and technical requirements of a specific market or region. It involves translating content into different languages, adapting cultural references and imagery, and ensuring that the product is functional and usable in the local environment, either technically or logically.
The goal of localization is to make a product or service feel as if it was designed specifically for the target market, rather than simply being a translated version of a product that was originally designed for another market. This requires a deep understanding of the target market’s language, culture, and technical needs, as well as a commitment to delivering a high-quality, localized product or service.
Elements of localization
When we talk about localization we need to keep in mind 2 elements: Language localization and website localization.
People think that technology and culture do not meet, whereas the truth is quite the opposite. Website localization stands for adapting the technical requirements in a way that suits the cultural background and principles of a particular region.
In other words, a website targeting the European audience can not function well when it targets the Arabians. Cultural differences require technical differences as well. Website localization is based on taking those differences into consideration so the localized website meets the cultural needs and references, alongside with making sure that the website offers a simple and easy user experience.
Language localization refers to the process of adapting the content of a particular product or service to meet the linguistic requirements of a specific language or region, and ensuring that it is grammatically correct and culturally appropriate.This involves different types of content; texts, images content and others.
When do we need localization?
Spreading internationally with your business requires localizing your content and website. It is important to set your vision early so that you can work and move in stable steps towards it.
Language and website localization are needed often when your business is related to any of these cases:
- Multi language business
- Right – to – left and left – to – right content websites
- Format of numbers and dates
- Businesses support local and regional principles
- A better interface and engagement process with your users and customers
Localization process includes many steps, and by doing each one properly we make sure that it is working effectively.
First, typically it begins with the identification of target markets and languages. Once these have been identified, professional translators will handle the translation process so it matches the culture needs. Second, The translated content is reviewed and edited by localization engineers, who ensure that it is properly formatted and fits within the technical constraints of the product or service.
Website localization workflow also involves adapting the product or service to meet the cultural and technical needs of the target market. This includes adapting cultural references and imagery, as well as the product’s layout and design to better suit the local culture. It also requires optimizing the product for different devices and browsers, as well as ensuring that it is functional and user-friendly in the local environment.
Localization vs. translation: Are they the same?
Localization and translation are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Translation refers specifically to the process of converting written text from one language to another. Localization, on the other hand, refers to coping with the culture, behaviors, linguistics and technical requirements of a specific market or region.
We can say that localization is translation on a deeper level to come up with a content that is hard to be differentiated from the original one.
3 examples of real-world localization
Many companies depend on localization method in their business model to gain improvement and progress:
- Facebook: nowadays facebook is found in countries more than we can count, and users from all over the world use it on a daily basis. Moreover, facebook stopped being a social chatting channel years ago, now, it is a job haunting and branding platform that is used to earn tons of cash.
In order for facebook to function well it was essential to be localized according to the audience needs and cultural background. Meta company did not only translate the website content from English to other languages, but also took cultural differences into consideration and launched it in a way that you think facebook is originally designed in Arabic, Chinese or even German.
- Ikea: Families among cultures share the sense of love and safety in their own homes, but how they express that differs from one culture to another.
When you wander into the Ikea store in Riyadh, then go to their store in Stockholm, definitely it will feel different. Ikea depends on a localization approach in their marketing content. For their Arab audience, they emphasize the sense of home and family connection more than concentrating on the beauty of their furniture so they meet the Arabian culture and standards.
Have you ever seen the Ikea catalogue? They translate their prices, quotes and marketing content to the target language.
- L’oreal Paris: advertising a perfume for Saudi women is different from doing so for French ones.
L’oreal paris takes into consideration consumers’ religious occasions, cultural backgrounds and languages. For example, in general speaking probably you will find a blonde girl with blue eyes advertising for their new lipstick for the western audience, otherwise, for the Arabic audience she is wheat – a skinned girl with brown eyes, holds a product that has an Arabic description on it.
How to choose a localization partner
When choosing a localization partner, it’s important to consider the following factors:
- Expertise: Look for a partner with a proven track record of success in localization, as well as expertise in the specific language and market you are targeting.
- Quality: Choose a partner that is committed to delivering high-quality, localized products and services. Look for partners with robust quality assurance processes and a commitment to continuous improvement.
- Flexibility: being able to adapt to specific needs and requirements, as well as adapting changes of the market is essential in choosing your partner.
- Cost: Consider the cost of localization when choosing a partner. Look for a partner that offers competitive pricing without sacrificing quality.
- Customer service: Choose a partner with a reputation for excellent customer service, and one that is willing to work with you throughout the localization process to ensure your satisfaction.
Having one strict method is not working in our world nowadays. You need to find a way to fit different cultures. By adapting products and services to meet the linguistic, cultural, and technical requirements of different markets, you can reach a wider audience and tap into new markets that ultimately helps you to grow and succeed in a global marketplace.