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Translation & Localization – How can you tell if your content needs localization? When is ONLY translation needed?

The time will come when you have content that needs localizing. You may have this realization because your company has an international presence, or because you want to expand your services into new markets. At this point, it will be clear that in order for your content to travel easily and connect with your target audience, it will have to be localized. In order to accomplish this, a number of steps will be necessary.

Localization involves adapting the content in question so that it provides an equal amount of value to end-users in a new locale. This may include altering the names of currencies or other region-specific attributes such as employing a different color palette. It may also require the text to be translated from its original language into that of the target destination.

HOW TO LOCALIZE YOUR CONTENT

There are several ways to guarantee the usefulness of your content across cultural and linguistic barriers. These include the following.

Ensure that the language of your content is tailored to your audience. Modifying the language to suit that of your target audience does not necessarily require a complete conversion into a foreign language like French or Mandarin; sometimes this may be as simple as modifying the spelling of certain words only (as when differentiating UK and US spelling). Other times it may require changing the phrasing of sentences that are idiomatic.

Formatting & Design

When localizing your website, brochure or other content, formatting and design alone can tip-off your audience that you are involved in international business. For this reason, when making formatting and design choices you must be mindful of the sometimes-significant differences in cultural attitudes that can positively or negatively bias the reactions of your intended audience with regard to your content.

A successful localization should conform to the local audience’s social conventions in a way that seems as natural as possible. Ensure that your design is done appropriately such that it will align with the people you are intending to reach. Create graphics and work with icons that are understood by your target audience.

Take the culture of your target audience into consideration. The visual content and the colors of the people you are trying to get across to should be put into consideration. In different cultures, visual metaphors and colors have different meanings; therefore, carry out some research before you decide on the ones to use. You need to do this so that you do not offend the sensitivities of the people with which you are trying to communicate.

WHEN ONLY TRANSLATION IS NEEDED

Oftentimes only translation is needed when you just need to substitute words from one language to the other. Therefore, one has to be careful in differentiating between localization and translation. Localization has to do with translating and modifying a product or service offering from the source language to the language of the target audience, with the modification being the key aspect of it. Translation simply involves converting the source language to the target language such that it can be understood in the proper context.

Internet of Things Opportunities – International and Foreign Markets

There are more than 3 billion people using 12 billion connected devices today and the IDC estimates that by 2020 there will be 26 times more connected things than people.

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That’s a lot of things. But what languages do those devices, gateways, websites, products, services, messages, portals – speak? And what is the customer experience like as they interoperate from one-touch point to the next in their journey from shopper to advocate? Is it seamless? Or, for them, is it like trying to navigate a truck through small streets in a foreign country?

If you you’re so not sure, just sign up for any of your companies products or services on the web – but do so as if you were a customer from another country, and you will see very quickly where the experience gaps are – both in functionality and in-language understanding. Doing this exercise is what LingPerfect calls an LoT (Language of Things) Assessment.

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From my experience working with global 5,000 companies managing translation projects spanning ecommerce, product development, customer support, and marketing, these groups have developed systems over time that have evolved in isolation. Because they’re not often linked they don’t provide a non-English speaking customer a great experience as they are using that product or service. In some cases, even the glossary of terms used on the product FAQ is different than the landing page.

Even with these clear predictions of how many more things will be connected, most global businesses are many miles away from having integrated translation process across their organization to support the people who use those things. Most global companies approach translation in an ad-hoc way, with too many vendors, too many redundant processes, and inevitably there are mistakes. Even a typo can cost millions. Many companies deal with situations where their products are mistranslated, the text doesn’t fit in the space allotted on the device or screen, the customer service doesn’t support the language or time-zone, or the app just doesn’t work in Chinese – for example.

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And as business move from B2C (Business to Consumer) to B2I (Business to Individual) where each communication is customized and personalized, the language that customer speaks and reads is critical for a successful transmission of information – and ultimately a great customer experience.

5 Steps to Making Your IoT Project Global-ready
[1] Make language options core to the development process. For many development teams I talk to, language is still an AFTERTHOUGHT. Make sure your team is following I18N (Internationalization) best practices when developing code. Your graphics should also be localizable, so establish the graphic standards that would allow each country or region to slug-in their local images and graphics while maintaining brand voice.

[2] Take a USER customer-centric point of view. “User’s” are so 80’s. Today, if you treat your customers like “Users”, they will become your competitors customers fairly soon. But I digress. As you look at your customer journey, click-by-click, step-by-step, you may notice a few Touchpoints that have not been translated or translated partially. Just because the web app is developed by one team, and the web site is developed by another team inside your organization, doesn’t mean you can’t integrate the experience for your customer. Take a customers point of view and make sure you map out every possible touch-point while interacting with your products.

[3] Use machine translation to analyze big data. Many business today CAN’T ANALYZE OR REACT to Foreign Language Big Data. As a global organization you’re on the receiving end of terrabytes of customer data, and many businesses don’t yet have a process to store, track, analyze and make sense of the galaxy of in-language data that is being generated by their global customers. (i.e. what do you do with 12 gigs of Spanish customers comments? Or 21 gigs of Chinese?) Use a customized Machine Translation engine per language to first neutralize the data, so that you can analyze the sentiment or the situations with a market-by-market lens.

[4] Use professional translation services to adapt your content. Machine Translation (MT) alone CANNOT SOLVE the language problem your organization has with supporting the Foreign IoT. While there may be some use cases where you can use MT, for example incoming emails, chat, and reviews, most of what you want to publish to your customers needs to be translated so well, that they won’t even know that it was translated. The app, the page, the welcome message, the diagnostics screen – should all read like it was written in the language of your customer – which, by the way, according to Common Sense Advisory is the only language they will buy in.

[5] Integrate Translation Services into your process. In years past, global companies could get away with going about translations in an ad-hoc way. But to support the next wave of connected product and service innovations that your organization is relying on the success of, you will need to also integrate Translation as a Service (TaaS) into your organization so every group has access to the same translation process and terminology.

Success at the HIMSS 2016 Conference!

From February 29 to March 3, we had the opportunity of representing our company at the HIMSS 2016 conference in Las Vegas. HIMSS is the largest health IT event in the industry, with nearly 40,000 annual attendees. We would like to extend our appreciation to clients, partners and other industry professionals who had the opportunity to stop by our booth and talk with our team.

What role do translation agencies play in B2B communication?

B2B communication, or business to business interaction, is an important aspect in both small and large businesses’ success. It enables companies to exchange ideas and experiences on issues like marketing or account management, and because it is mostly achieved via online communication, translation services play a key role.

The biggest reason for this has to do with the fact that B2B communication often occurs between companies in different countries. Language barriers can hinder effective communication and prevent businesses from interacting in an efficient manner. Any two organizations involved in B2B communication should be pursuing the same goals, and the first step toward achieving this is to understand your collaborator’s vision.

Translation agencies play a vital role in all forms of B2B communication: interpreting at conferences and business meetings to ensure communication with the other party goes as smoothly as possible; translating texts to convey your original message in another language and ensuring it’s adapted perfectly to your audience, and proofreading to guarantee your written work is error-free. All of these are crucial for the effectiveness of B2B communication and can help your company establish long-lasting relations with international partners, paving your way to success.

In today’s world, successful communication is key in any business, regardless of industry. B2B communication, especially between international organizations, can therefore be greatly enhanced with the aid of translation agencies. By being able to communicate your goals, visions and experience, you are essentially adding new dimensions to the world of business—something that can only be achieved if both sides speak the same language.

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