When companies venture into a new market, what determines whether they succeed or fail? “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” – This is what most thriving businesses have taken to heart, with content localization being the key to their success. Is there a grain of truth in that?
Content localization is a potential solution for bridging linguistic and cultural boundaries, gradually bringing companies closer to their intended audience. At Thao & Co., we invite you to explore the significance of content localization and how to guarantee excellent translation.
Content localization is the meticulous process of adapting content to a specific target’s cultural and linguistic norms. Its principal aim is to minimize disparities and deviations in content when transitioning from the original language and culture to the target language and culture. As such, content localization extends beyond mere translation, necessitating a high level of harmonization between the translated content and the target audience and market.
Content localization is widely used in a variety of projects:
The rationale behind our need for content localization lies in appreciating each language’s unique beauty and distinctiveness, shaped by its rich cultural influences. In high-context cultures, like those in Asian countries, language tends to be subtle and indirect. To fully grasp a message’s true essence and intended meaning, it is essential to consider the context in which the message is being communicated. On the other hand, in low-context cultures such as the US and UK, messages are typically conveyed with clarity and directness.
Within every culture, individuals have subconscious programming about how to receive messages and their meaning. This presents both advantages and disadvantages for businesses entering new markets. Products and services that are localized to be compatible with the local culture will be more readily accepted, while those that are not may be met with resistance or confusion.
An illustrative case of the importance of content localization can be found in Coca-Cola’s localization strategy for the Chinese market. In its initial entry into this vast market of billions, the brand labeled its carbonated soft drink “Kedou-kenla,” roughly translated to “Bite a wax tadpole.” Recognizing the need for a cultural adjustment, Coca-Cola’s brand managers embarked on extensive research of 40,000 homonyms to eventually unveil a new name, “Kekou-kele,” conveying the delightful notion of “Happiness in the mouth,” and this meticulous localization effort led to Coca-Cola’s successful reception in this new market.
Customers become more open to the message as they identify culturally with a brand. Hence, content localization is a crucial bridge, seamlessly uniting brands with their target customers across diverse cultures. To excel in content localization, linguists must have a firm grasp of the source and target cultures, ensuring the delivery of the finest translations.
A significant challenge in content localization lies in adapting content to the target culture while preserving the “essence” of the original. That said, how can a professional translation agency uphold the quality of translations during the content localization process?
Every field possesses specialized knowledge, and each business has distinct attributes. It is imperative to create comprehensive translation guidelines to facilitate a smooth translation and localization process that preserves the brand’s distinctive attributes while ensuring excellent translation quality.
Thorough translation guidelines provide essential information about products, services, and brand identity. Such refined instructions serve to optimize content localization, guaranteeing precision and consistency between the original content and its translation.
A set of Translation Guidelines at Thao & Co. typically includes the following components: workflow, standard translation process, Do-not-translate list, and glossary. Beyond the above core components, the Translation Guidelines may also include dedicated notes per project requirements and the client’s preferences.
Idioms, metaphors, and slang are distinct cultural nuances within each language. This presents a significant challenge for translators in content localization since each culture employs idioms, metaphors, and slang with diverse connotations. In some cases, even when two phrases in different languages appear to express the same concept but deliver opposite messages.
In Japanese, the phrase “Aitsu-wa amai,” shares a semblance in denotation with the English expression “You are sweet.” However, these two phrases diverge significantly in interpretation. While “Aitsu-wa amai” implies “You are immature, naive, and weak,” “You are sweet” indicates a charming compliment.
This contrast highlights that translating idioms, metaphors, and slang requires the translator to understand deeply the language and how native speakers use these linguistic elements. Furthermore, it emphasizes the importance of the translator’s adaptable creativity in choosing words that accurately capture the subtle meanings of the original expressions.
Back translation, a widely-used practice in translation, involves re-rendering a translated text into its original language. It allows a business to evaluate different creative translation options and decide on the best one that most accurately reflects their brand identity. In this case, back translation is a potent risk management tool, especially in creative translations of slogans, taglines, product names, and other major brand elements.
Back translation empowers translators to adapt the creative translation method to resonate with their audience while staying faithful to the source material.
Proofreading is a critical step once skilled linguistics have finished translating the project. This meticulous task is assigned to experienced language specialists who carefully examine the text for any word usage or stylistic errors to guarantee that the translated version maintains a smooth flow and seamless alignment with the original context. Therefore, strict proofreading forms the foundation for creating the highest quality final product.
Comprehensive linguistic and functional testing is indispensable for specialized content localization projects such as adapting applications, websites, or software. Functional testing verifies digital products such as apps, websites, and software operate as intended, while linguistic testing ensures that translations are culturally appropriate and visually compatible with the product interface.
To provide clients with the highest quality translations, professionals in the language industry must carefully evaluate a translation’s linguistic accuracy and functional relevance.
Typically, a professional translation agency can create a content localization process tailored to the specific project’s characteristics, ensuring it aligns perfectly with their client’s needs. Thao & Co. Translation Agency would be happy to walk you through our perfected professional content localization procedure, as below.
First, there’s a preliminary stage, also known as pre-translation, in which we methodically separate and prepare the components and resources that need to be localized. This collection of components and content constitutes a “localization kit.” Upon request, the expert linguists at Thao & Co. will analyze this “localization kit” and create detailed Translation Guidelines to ensure consistency and quality throughout the translation and localization process.
The next step is the translation and proofreading of the localized text. At Thao & Co., our linguists are committed to ensuring translation quality through a rigorous and passionate approach to the craft of language. We meticulously examine each word to ensure that it conveys the brand’s desired message and meaning while preserving the spirit of the source content. High-quality translation with localized content is undoubtedly an effective tool for connecting with audiences and increasing brand reach.
Once the translation step is complete, we move on to post-translation refinement. This involves seamlessly reintegrating localized components and information into the product, followed by thorough functional testing. This stage is crucial for projects involving the localization of games, applications, or software since our analysis goes beyond essential content compatibility to ensure the product’s original performance. Thao & Co. will promptly deliver the completed product if no issues are found during this comprehensive review.
In addition, we are happy to provide professional Voice Overs or Desktop Publishing (DTP) Services to enhance your product upon request. Thao & Co. is a professional translation agency dedicated to providing you with easy, tailored solutions for producing high-quality, professional translations.
Content localization is a “gateway” for multinational businesses to enter new markets successfully. Choosing a competent content localization agency is essential for delivering high-quality and accurate translations consistent with the source materials.
Professional content localization agencies must meet high standards in this highly competitive field. The most important of these qualities is experience, with translators having an extensive work history in the industry. They must have substantial cultural knowledge and polished, adaptive, and creative translation skills to produce translations that seamlessly blend with the target culture.
Furthermore, a transparent workflow and pricing policy ensure peace of mind by preventing unexpected costs and giving you control over the progress and quality of your project. This creates a smooth and efficient collaboration for all parties involved.
For multinational businesses, high-quality content localization is an essential requirement. Recognizing this imperative, Thao & Co. provides expert Application + Software + Website + Game Translation Services performed by native linguists with extensive experience helping global companies succeed. At Thao & Co., we are committed to meeting your needs and standards with a systematic and optimized translation process that leverages cutting-edge technologies.
Please visit Thaonco.com for more information or head over to our Get A Quote page to discuss your localization needs today.