Why Localize Your Content?
No business can go global if it doesn’t adapt itself to different markets. It doesn’t matter how good your concept, product, or service is, or how good the marketing campaign is, if it doesn’t speak to people.
And if you’re going to talk to someone, you’re going to have to speak their language. It’s a truth inherent in everything, from lighter things, like humour (where jokes get changed for cultural nuances), to demagoguery and populism.
This is the role of localization: it takes your concept, product, or service, and renders it in words that your target audience can understand.
What is Localization and How is it Different to Translation?
The BBC, a British institution, has Arabic and Farsi channels. CNN and HBO, American platforms, have dedicated Spanish outlets. Why?
Localization is adapting a product or content to a market. It specifically means reorienting and fine-tuning a product so it feels like it originated in its new market.
In other words, while translation brings something to culture, localization makes it feel like it was always from there.
Translation is part of localization and goes hand in hand with content creation and visual design.
What Are Some Examples of Localization?
The importance of localization can perhaps be best illustrated by mega-corporations. Consider Disney.
Sometimes, the company adds cultural context to a film. For example, a throwaway line in the English version of Japanese film Spirited Away explains to the audience that a building serves as a bathhouse. The line does not exist in the original Japanese version, as that would be obvious to the audience.
But Disney goes further than this when it comes to localization.
Famously, a joke in Pixar’s 2015 film Inside Out was redesigned for Japan. In the US version, a character is grossed-out by broccoli pizza. In Japan, where children don’t have a problem with broccoli, the pizza is topped with green peppers instead
Disney took this 10-second scene so seriously it re-rendered it. It even changed things like sports references: a daydream in the US version focused on hockey, but was changed to football for the international release.
Or “soccer,” as it would have been localized for Americans.
Restaurants like McDonald’s do this, too—the menu in India (which is largely vegetarian) is different to the menu in Jordan or the US. The restaurant adapts itself to suit a country’s needs.
Without further ado, here are five reasons you should always localize your content.
- Localization Greatly Helps Your Business
Studies show that localization:
- Gets 600% the engagement;
- Higher return on investment (ROI), according to 49% of marketers;
- Retains 8% to 13% more customers;
- Outdoes English campaigns by 86% on both CTRs, leads, and conversions.
Localization isn’t an option. If you want to expand your business and take it abroad, it’s a must.
- Localization Lets Your Customers Know They Matter to You
Not every localization effort needs to be comprehensive, but when it happens, it matters.
Google provides its services in dozens of languages, including Arabic, French, English, German, Chinese (traditional), Chinese (simplified), Korean, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, Polish, Hungarian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Albanese, and Zulu. It covers every inch of the globe.
IKEA has social media pages in ten languages.
These are all key factors in communicating to your market that you want their attention, and that you’re willing to speak on their terms to get it.
- Localization Avoids Confusion and Legal Pitfalls
Localization goes beyond just rendering jokes in a Disney movie in a new language. Small but significant things that localization deals with include:
- Naming conventions: not every culture follows the first name-last name structure.
- Dates and times: Is 11/01/2020 referring to November 1st, or January 11th?
- Measuring systems: If you told someone from Jordan that the temperature was “86 degrees out,” they’d think your blood was boiling, as they’d assume you meant Celsius and not Fahrenheit. Different measuring systems require conversion.
- Legal requirements: What applies to Jordanian law may not extend to the laws of the EU, for example, and a good localization will account for that and write around it. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for example, greatly changes how we deal with data.
Editing and proofreading content services are a must-have for any professional business entity.
- Localization Means Respecting Culture—and Therefore Markets
Different cultures see things differently, and that includes phrasing, imagery, and symbolism. A good localization doesn’t just add context to your product—it ensures that your product doesn’t offend cultural sensitivities.
Red Bull is excellent at this, having tailored the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix to the Red Bull Air Race (for the UK) to the Red Bull Soapbox Race (for Jordan).
Dunkin Donuts, meanwhile, took to marketing its products differently, depending on country—whereas China gets dry pork doughnuts, Lebanon gets mango chocolate.
- Localization Means Speaking Your Customers’ Language
The most important thing any enterprise learns is simplifying its message. This is a rule in politics, a rule in marketing, and a rule in writing: if you want to engage your audience, you have to meet them halfway by speaking their language.
Cultural context, humour, nuances—these are all extremely important facets to a product or text which become lost in translation if they’re not localised.
And they should be.
Gibran is made-up of a diverse, international, professional team that ensure your product, service, or content are rendered in their target language in the best possible way, by providing professional language services to businesses in Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Get in touch with us right now and learn how we can help you get the results you want. Gibran provides translation, Arabization and localization services to companies across various industries.