Translating content for a local market it not as straightforward as it sounds. Localization, when professionally completed, should give no inkling that it has been translated from another language – it should look, sound and read like it has been designed exclusively for the new target market.
Unfortunately, many firms try to cut costs and time on their translation projects by utilising multilingual staff or machine translation but this can lead to embarrassing errors, potential loss of custom and negative brand awareness.
The only way to avoid this is to use a professional Language Services Provider (LSP) for all your translation and localization projects.
Below you’ll find more information about how LSPs can help you achieve a professional, accurate, culturally acceptable, and reliable translation and localization.
Before selecting who will translate or localize your content, it is worth clarifying a few terms so that you can make an informed decision about which services(s) best suits your requirements.
Translation is the process of changing text or content from a source language to a target language or languages.
Translation is usually a word-for-word conversion, which offers an exact representation of the original.
However, it does not account for alterations of factors such as, humour, colloquial phrases and so on, which can mean that your message won’t feel like it was created for a local audience, no matter how accurate the translation.
For instance, an Arabic-speaking audience may not understand the relevance of English phrases, especially those linked to the culture, such as, ‘raining cats and dogs’.
To overcome this issue, LSPs offer a process known as Localization.
This is more involved than translation and adapts language, images, weights, measures, currencies, and so on, for a specific target audience.
It will localize content so that it appears natural and meets the expectations of a particular region.
Content will be adapted for a cultural fit, so the overall message and tone of the content is the same but it is not a literal translation. Instead, it is creatively revised so that phrases, humour, and images are relevant to the target audience.
Who Shouldn’t Localize or Translate Content?
The most straight-forward answer to this is – anyone who has limited language and cultural knowledge of a specific region should not localize or translate content.
Using an overseas office, multilingual friend or family member, or machine translation will not give professional, accurate and reliable translations.
Inaccurate translations risk damaging your brand and can lose business and revenue in the long term.
Additional problems can also arise from using an overseas office or multilingual employee, including:
• Unauthorized alterations – local offices may take it upon themselves to alter content without regard for the original message or brand voice
• Lack of consistency – having multiple employees work on a project will result in many different views and preferences. This can be reflected in translated content which results in varying terminology and a lack of overall consistency
• Time delays – using employees who have a different primary role in your organization as part-time translators means they are unlikely to be able to perform both jobs. Time delays are inevitable if you’re expecting someone to do something for which they are untrained and underqualified.
• Lack of accuracy – errors in spelling, punctuation, language use and grammar all suggest a lack of regard for quality and attention. Your customers will believe they deserve better
Who Should Translate or Localize Content?
Highly skilled and well-practiced translators are the best placed people to translate and localize content.
Whether you choose a high-end translation company or a sole translator is up to you, but there are a few factors to consider when selecting the best provider for your needs:
• Language expertise – select a provider who has previous experience in your required language as this will give more accuracy. Where possible, use a native speaking translator
• Cultural experience – as with language, a translation provider who has cultural experience is a must for a precise and culturally acceptable translation or localization project
• Industry Knowledge – choosing a LSP with experience in your field or industry means terminology can be translated accurately and succinctly
Creative Word have been offering high-quality translation and localization services for more than 15 years. We have hundreds of translators and linguistic experts working with us meaning we can offer our services in over 80 languages.
Talk to one of our language experts now if you’d like more information or help with your translation project.
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