As we explained in a previous article on this blog, localization is a translation process that involves the cultural and standardized adaptation of the exported support. In other words, in order to market a product abroad, it should be adapted to the target audience, namely the population of the country into which you want to extend your market.
Differences with translation
Like translation, localization is counted in words and proofread by a reviser. In fact, some translation agencies make it their specialty. However, contrary to popular belief, localization is much more than a luxury translation of websites or software. To enter a market, it is essential to identify the smallest details of local customs and traditions by conducting a socio-cultural study of the target audience so that the reader or user does not realize that it is a translation. In addition, localizers have skills and knowledge in computing, in coding, and even graphics.
Application to video games
If we talk a lot about localization in video games, it is because they are aimed at a diverse audience. To create a video game, a large number of people, each specialized in a particular field, from the all corners of the globes are called upon and all procedures will be carried out – generally – in English. So you end up with an extremely globalized finished product, that has to be adapted to the player’s imagination: choosing the themes, the colors, the music, dialogues adapted to the expectations of the final consumer, and this is done for each country or region in which the game will be marketed.
Other areas of application
Certainly localization often rhymes with video games, but a localizer is spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a work environment. They must be able to adapt to a wide range of activities from the literary to the very technical.
In marketing, localization is a crucial milestone for any company wishing to export. The first step is to erase all traces of nationalism by internationalizing the product, before targeting it towards a new culture through the localization process. The product must speak to the client, as if it’s been designed just for them; the closer it comes to the consumer’s personality, not only through language but also through puns and references, the more likely the consumer will buy it.
Localization affects a wide range of areas which include: smartphone apps, advertising, software, websites, any type of multimedia content, but also technical, medical, legal, scientific documents, manuals, brochures of all kinds, references to events, places or people, and above all, for non-text; time/date formats, currencies, pictograms, colors, units of measurement,…
For example, car dealerships adapt the speed in km/h or in mph, depending on where the vehicle is marketed; the world-famous Snapchat app offers filters with the names of cities where the user is located; online shopping sites change the payment currency; in advertising, localizers revolutionize slogans so that they personally reach the target culture with puns or references, it will replace a restaurant chain known in the United States with another more common one elsewhere, etc..
The translation of software is also popular with localizers. In this context, it takes into account the flags, language codes, graphics, drop-down menus. Like in translation, the basic aesthetic aspects, chosen by the program designers, as well as copyright, confidentiality and data protection, must be strictly respected.
Localization goes even further than translation since sometimes it works on regionalisms. Indeed, there are numerous versions of Spanish and Chinese, for example, and we should adapt the chosen vocabulary according to these language variations.
Discover our localization services