The Localization Process

Localization (also known as L10n, where the number 10 represents the number of letters between the l and n.) is the linguistic and cultural adaptation of a product, software, application or document so that it meets the requirements of the specific target market or locale. The locale is the language and geographic region that also includes common language and cultural information. The audience should feel a connection to the product and feel as though it were made for them.

The professional practice of localization is very important in different industries, such as technology, medical and pharmaceutical. This practice is booming among those companies that want to expand their products around the world and understand that they need to consider localization efforts as part of their business plans.

We, as linguists working in localization have an aptitude for language and global cultures in our specialization. Before creating a message, or defining the channel, one of the most important elements is to know and understand the receiver (i.e the ones who are going to get the message) because the more the sender knows the receiver, the more the receiver will understand what the sender wants to say.

The localization process involves many steps apart from the translation process itself. An organized and clear translation flow is vital for a successful content translation and localization. The localization process also involves redesigning content to suit the market audience’s tastes, adding relevant content or removing irrelevant content according to the new locale, converting phone numbers, currencies, hours, dates to local formats, changing the layout for proper text display, following legal requirements and regulations in the target market, and modifying graphics and images to target markets. Culturalization is also a key component of the localization process that transcends language and focuses on the cultural, geopolitical, and historical adaptation of the content into different languages for specific locales. With culturalization, companies can ensure that their content is globally appropriate, locally relevant, and adapted to local cultural sensitivities and free of local offensive statements. To conclude, while localization has the power to meet users’ language needs, culturalization goes one step further to ensure that users from different cultures can interact with a product in a more meaningful way.

When you define your localization strategy, it is crucial to look into the newest language technologies to find ways to optimize the translation or localization process so that it can be faster, cheaper and better.

It is also very important to involve terminologists in the localization process to ensure accuracy, consistency, and appropriateness of term usage. Terminologists may facilitate the writing, editing, and translation process by researching and locating information that may assist linguists and other language services professionals to produce high-quality translations..

Once the localized translation is finished, editors and proofreaders must check translations for mistakes and consistency of terminology, and generally refine the translation ensuring that the text no longer reads as a translation, but as if it was originally written in the target language.

Finally, it is very important to hire Localization QA for the last step of a localization process. They will perform their work with an exceptional attention to detail, a systematic approach and strong technical expertise. Sensitivity to nuance and contextual meaning is also very important. Linguistic quality assurance (LQA) is the term used to identify the quality evaluation process used to assess the localization/translation quality of a project against predefined standards. It usually comes with a quality score assigned to a translation using a set of criteria and a set of error categories. After giving a score to all the different evaluations, one can easily find out whether a certain translation meets the quality standards that have been previously defined.

Today, we believe it is imperative to have your product duly localized. Do you agree?

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