Language localisation is a procedure for adapting your messaging or product, to suit a new market. It is the process of translation to suit a particular culture, group or country. That is to say, localisation addresses and adapts for perceived differences in the market. It is part of a process referred to internationalisation or globalisation.
Who needs language localisation?
Companies that want to break into new markets need to understand the use and purpose of language services. The objective of localisation is to bridge differences between a product and the new market. Ideally, companies hope to make it appear that the product was created for this new market. Above all, it’s important to offset any potential cultural and/or racial bias.
These days, software and website localisation are among the most popular forms of localisation.
Localisation vs. Translation
It’s important to understand the distinction between the language localisation and translation.
Translation means changing your content from your original (source) language into your target language. However, localisation is a more nuanced process and takes into consideration culture, ethics and societal guidelines.
To convert user manuals, medical files, research documents and scientific projects to a new market, you need professional translation. Your translated document should be both precise and concise. Most importantly, good translation communicates your message to your target audience without deviating from, or omitting any aspect of, the original meaning.
Localisation, on the other hand, is much more than changing the vocabulary. It adjusts your message to suit the local audience, in a way that they can relate to.
For example, language localisation means you might provide distinct content for England, Scotland and Wales! They are all British and share the same official language, but it doesn’t mean they speak the same language! Remember, your potential customers may share an official language, but will have local dialects and vernacular that are distinct. Certainly, a serious firm must consider this in their business and marketing strategies.
Why should you localise your language?
To make your website product more accessible
You want to increase your reach to a broader audience and boost sales. Successful multinational firms like Coca-cola, KFC and Apple know the importance of language localisation. This is why they localise all their websites for domestic information.
To boost your App audience
Language localisation is essential for digital products like applications. For instance, a successful app is easy to use, fast to learn and speaks to users in an accessible, modern vernacular.
Boost software sales
Software localisation means adjusting and adapting all text, interface, menus and graphics to suit the local target market. If you want to sell more, users need to understand how your product works; and you need to understand how your customers relate to the product.
Your brand identity is crucial to establishing a market presence. That is to say, you must ‘speak’ to your audience globally, in the same voice. Therefore, establishing a consistent style, tone and character to your messaging can only be achieved with effective localisation.
In conclusion, language localisation touches all aspects of customer and buying behaviours. Therefore, it is part of an essential process for companies wishing to expand their market.