When does translation merge into localisation?
Translation is the process of rendering your text into another language so that the original meaning is correctly conveyed. This may mean mimicking the style, tone of voice or dialect of the original text. If the original is written in a formal style, the translation should reflect this and so on. Localisation (localization) takes this process a step further, and is concerned with delivering an end product that conveys the original meaning as clearly as possible.
Products and services that are native to a country tend to look and feel much more natural to potential clients there. All sorts of small signals show that the product or service originated elsewhere. Think of the TV adverts where an American actor has been overdubbed by a UK English speaker – the words sound right, but somehow the body language doesn’t match the accent. In the same way, a translated text may be spot on, but if the accompanying graphics don’t match, or the currency and units of measure don’t match that market, it still feels not quite right.
Accutranslate’s team are native speakers in the target language and expert translators, and simple localisation is covered as part of our translation service. For example, we will translate currency, weights and measures to local standards. So “a six foot man” will be translated into metric where appropriate, and “he weighed 10 stone 5” would be converted to pounds only for a US audience and kilos for a European audience.
However, as with the example of dubbing a TV advert, sometimes this is not enough. Accutranslate will advise where a simple translation of your text would not be enough to convey your message fully.
Localisation of Branding and Graphics
Visuals can be a real giveaway, as text styles or images that work well at home may look very alien in another culture. Where this is the case, our translators will advise.
Localisation of Document or Website Design and Layout
An example is where text is rendered top to bottom rather than left to right – the design of your website may not fit this, again we will advise on ways you can mitigate this.
Localisation of Phone Numbers, Addresses and Dates
The way contact information is shown varies across the world – at a minimum the translator will add the international dialling code in the correct way to your phone numbers, and the country to your address.
Local customs vary, and it is easy to cause offence unwittingly. Our team can help by pointing out possible issues, and suggesting ways to convey the meaning in an acceptable manner.
Finally, with website translation you should also consider the implications of the translation on your SEO. Accutranslate can also help with local search engines and the right vocabulary needed to be found in overseas search engines.
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