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What You Didn’t Know about Localization

Localization

Simple concepts can sometimes be difficult to grasp. Localization is no exception. The purpose of this guide is to help you better understand what localization is and why using a language service provider (LSP) can make a world of a difference for your business.

Translation + local cultural knowledge = localization

Although localization and translation are often used in similar contexts, they’re actually not the same thing. Put simply, localization is the process of not only translating the words, but also preparing all aspects of a product or service to meet the needs of a foreign market. When a product or service is localized, the source text is transformed into its linguistic equivalent, with a focus on local-linguistic semantics and culture, making the product specifically tailored for the target market.

Machine Translation – Is this a cheaper alternative?

With the help of machine translation (MT), companies are capable of bridging the multilingual communications gap in the global marketplace. While human translators have the ability to produce translations with an accuracy level of 95 percent, MT can only reach 70 percent. Even though it’s a cheaper, faster alternative, a machine translation tool is unlikely to produce an entirely accurate translation, and is most certainly not capable of producing text suitable for international markets. Translation is only one small step in the localization process.

The Localization Workflow:

Localizing products and services can be complicated, so working closely with your language service provider will simplify the process and keep you involved every step of the way. To offer more clarity, here’s a selection of some of the individuals that are involved in your localization projects:

  • Project Managers

Project managers oversee a localization project from beginning to end. In order to produce high-impact results and ensure that goals are met, project managers work closely with the language specialists, localization engineers, native quality assurance reviewers and desktop publishers.

  • Software Engineers

The role of a software localization engineer is to disassemble elements of a product and put them back together once the content has been localized. Software engineers are also responsible for preparing a localization toolkit containing all the files and instructions for the translators to facilitate the translation process.

  • Translators

The primary duty of a translator is to convert words and meaning from the source to the target language, while taking cultural differences into consideration to guarantee that the message is being transmitted effectively to the desired audience.

  • Native Quality Assurance Reviewers

Before products and services are given to the clients for a round of reviewing and comments, quality assurance reviewers ensure that the translated text meets a certain standard of quality.

  • Desktop Publishers

Desktop publishing, which involves implementing and designing the localized products and services to give it the final look, is the last phase in a translation project. Once this phase is completed, the project can be delivered to the client.

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The Importance of Glossaries

As companies expand geographically, the importance of maintaining consistency across all projects and brands becomes crucial. The following tools can help mitigate inconsistencies and promote the standardization of terms for improved communication within an organization.

  • Translation Memory (TM)

A translation memory (TM) is a linguistic database containing segments of human translations in both the source and target language. Utilizing a translation memory can considerably reduce project costs and increase productivity.

  • Terminology Management

Terminology management is the creation, extraction, managing, and sharing of terms across all languages. The purpose of terminology management is to create a repository of an organization’s key terms to ensure clear and reliable communication across departments and maintain accuracy and consistency across all its documents.

  • Glossaries

A translation glossary is a lexicon that contains the most important terms for an organization with definitions and translations. The purpose of implementing a translation glossary is to help eliminate ambiguity in the translation and accelerate the localization process.

Testing, testing, testing.

Localization testing is one of the most critical steps in the localization process. During this phase, native, in-country, bilingual testers verify the product’s compatibility with different operating systems and evaluate the product’s readiness for the target market. Ensuring that functional and linguistic problems are eliminated before a product is released will prevent potential challenges down the road. Without this step, an LSP cannot guarantee that the product is market ready.

In order to successfully access overseas markets, companies have to understand how to combat cultural and linguistic challenges. Working with a professional language service provider (LSP) can help avoid the growing pains of going global.

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