One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to localization is that it is simply translation.
However, localization is much more than directly translating phrases into multiple languages. It covers translating the text itself and tailoring all kinds of materials to suit new cultural contexts. This can include changing the page orientation or user interface design of a product to accommodate different languages and formats, making sure all technical and terminology documentation are up to regulatory standards, and product testing culturally-specific marketing and products with potential customers. That’s a lot more than just translation!
Not convinced? Below are four reasons why localization is worth going the extra mile.
- Localization relies on professional software translation tools.
Localization firms like CSOFT use professionally-designed translation software to achieve a higher quality of translation. Our translators use computer assisted translation (CAT) tools which can leverage previously translated terms to accelerate the speed and accuracy of future translations.
Combined with the expertise of human translators, using these specialized translation tools result in more efficient translation workflows and a much higher level of accuracy in translation. For very technical or nuanced source material, CAT software tools are crucial in keeping costs reasonable while achieving high translation quality.
- We use native, in-country subject matter experts.
Language is ever-changing, so it is crucial to have only the best translators working on localizing your products.
CSOFT contracts with professional translators from around the world, in addition to the 50,000+ translators who are registered on TermWiki, our social learning network term-sharing platform. CSOFT uses in-country speakers to translate documents and interfaces. Not only are translators native speakers of at least one language they are translating, they also work in-country. This is important because even native speakers can make the mistake of using outdated phrases or terms. With in-country translators, CSOFT can provide the most up-to-date translations.
Localization firms also prioritize having linguists build up experience in particular industries. For example, a translator might specialize in translating technical documents for the mobile industry. This allows the translator to develop a greater familiarity with the language and specialized terminology of any given industry. As a result, his or her translation will be faster and more accurate than that provided by a regular translation service. For translation, even the slightest change in context or vocabulary can drastically affect the meaning; using translators with industry experience or subject matter expertise can make all the difference.
- We can work on a much wider range of documents and products.
Localization firms support translation of a wide range of document files and images, and work directly within the original file formats to produce final, translated products that mirror the original source. In comparison, translation houses primarily require plain text files.
Meanwhile, using professionally-designed desktop publishing programs (DTP), localization firms can work directly within the original file formats when translating content. Details like spacing, page orientation and layout can all be adjusted to accommodate translated versions directly within DTP software and then mapped back onto the original product interface. This can be especially useful for companies that are translating software or video game interfaces.
- Localization ensures compliance with market standards and regulations.
Localization services will make sure that product terminology and technical documentation follow all auditing regulations and standards, including documenting a paper trail for each. This is particularly crucial for industries in the life sciences or technology whose products have to work very precisely to maintain customer satisfaction or meet relevant regulations.
While localization services can cost a bit more, in the long run however, going to a simple translation service to localize your products can end up costing more than directly going to a localization firm. That’s because correcting any mistakes or awkward language retroactively can cost a business in both time and money. Even worse, time spent revising terminology errors can result in launch delays, or worse— potentially millions of dollars in damages from product recalls or fines. For life sciences or other regulated industries, terminology errors can also lead to customer safety issues and regulatory compliance risks.
In short, localization costs more than translation because it involves so much more than translation, and is the best way to ensure that your product quality is preserved when entering new markets.