What is localization and why is it so important in 2020?


2020-07-24 23:20 Smartcat


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In very basic terms, localization is the process of adapting something to a specific locale. But, you’ll need more than that to understand its role in the global economy, the language industry, and business today. There are two basic approaches to defining localization. The first relates to localization as a type of translation — one that focuses on the local culture — and the second concerns the types of content it is applied to or the industry domains that rely on it to make products and services work in every market. Localization as a form of translation Some people question the need to differentiate localization from normal translation. Isn’t localization just a good translation? Well, it can be, but the term translation doesn’t necessarily imply a full adaptation to a specific locale. Localization pays extra attention to the target culture and is less concerned with staying true to the original text. That’s why localization exists in its own right — language is important, but culture, history, taste, customs, and tone are just as critical to making a text work in another market. So what sorts of things change when localizing? There are so many local singularities to take into account, but common examples in written text include adapting currencies, units of measure, dates and time formats, and even fonts and capitalization. A simple translation won’t do in these cases because the whole concept needs to be changed to fit with whatever real people in the target markets are accustomed to. Localization as an industry As well as a variant of translation, localization has become an industry in itself. The omnipresence of tech and IT in business today has led to the recognition of localization as a key component in the development of software, apps, websites, and video games. Software localization is particularly prominent as it addresses the specific challenges of adapting software to different languages and markets. It requires a preliminary step called internationalization and bridges the gap between tech limitations and linguistic requirements by tackling common issues like placeholders, pluralization, gender, and character limitations. Why is localization so important in 2020? Here are five reasons why you’ll want to make room for localization in your global business strategy: 1. You’ll reach a wider audience Localizing your products to foreign markets will do wonders for your brand awareness — it will make it easier to enter new markets and strengthen your global presence. You’ll increase your customer base at the top of the funnel and you’ll also help move potential customers along the buyer’s journey. At the end of the day, you need to build trust to turn leads into customers. And you simply can’t build trust with new audiences without carefully localizing your products, services, and marketing to fit the needs of each market. 2. People want customized content Specialized content is more important than ever and that’s exactly what localization does — it makes content directly relevant to the person consuming it. Demand for good, reliable content has drastically increased in the last few years, and the COVID-19 pandemic is only going to accentuate this trend. Generic, this-was-clearly-written-for-someone-else content no longer works. It’s the harsh reality we now face in the new content economy, but if you listen and actually give the people what they want, you’ll quickly see a growth in audience numbers and engagement. 3. You’ll avoid risking your reputation How many reputable personalities and brands have fallen victim to cancel culture or online shaming in the last few months? Too many to count. Okay, we know you’re not going around insulting people willy-nilly for the fun of it, but how easy is it to inadvertently offend certain groups and cultures if you don’t know what rules and social norms apply there? Avoiding local insensitivities should be your number one priority, and localization will ensure that your messaging always hits the mark. If you’re rolling your eyes at the thought of always having to be politically correct, it isn’t about that at all. It’s about getting the tone right in your target markets and avoiding turning off whole communities or becoming the butt of the joke to a whole culture. You simply can’t afford that if you’re going global. 4. You’ll increase customer satisfaction Once you’ve got those customers, you’ve got to keep them happy! User experience is crucial today, especially if millennials make up a significant chunk of your customer base. By localizing your documentation, blog posts, FAQs, eBooks, guides, reports, and customer support, you’ll be well on your way to guaranteeing you’re addressing each client’s specific needs. And remember that these satisfied customers will talk about you and your offering. They’ll leave reviews and spread the word about you. They’ll be the ones creating and sustaining your community and there’s no better marketing than having real users raving about you online and in all your markets. 5. You’ll streamline your workflow An efficient localization process is heavily reliant on collaborative teamwork. There are usually several players in a localization team including a localization engineer, project managers, translators, and other localization specialists. The size of your business will determine how many people you need but whatever the scale, you’ll still need great collaboration within the team and with other parts of your business. This is why a streamlined workflow and management system is essential in localization. In today’s fast-paced world you need an efficient and automated localization infrastructure that can handle all stages of the project life cycle. This agile, optimized process is called continuous localization and there are many platforms that cater to this specifically, including Smartcat’s all-in-one platform. You’ll want to choose a system that’s as self-sufficient as possible, but that also allows for integrations with software repositories and content management systems, like WordPress. Check out how the cybersecurity solution Kaspersky and the women’s health app Flo increased their efficiency by introducing Smartcat into their localization processes. Localization is necessary to go global Anyone who has expanded into foreign markets will tell you that localization is key to international success. We’ll admit that localization isn’t a foolproof enterprise — it takes time, money, and research to get your business set up for global expansion. But if you plan ahead and execute right, results will surely follow.
本地化一词最基本的含义是使某物适应特定区域的过程。 但是,仅知道这一点还不够,你还需要知道它在当今全球经济、语言产业和商业中的作用。 定义本地化有两种基本方法。第一种方法是将本地化看作一类侧重于当地文化的翻译;第二种方法涉及应用本地化翻译的内容类型或依赖本地化翻译使产品和服务在每个市场发挥作用的行业领域。 本地化:一种翻译形式 有人质疑是否需要区分本地化与一般的翻译。 本地化不就是一个好的翻译吗? 嗯,可以,但是翻译这个词并不一定意味着完全适应特定的语言环境。本地化特别关注目的语文化,而较少关注是否对原文忠实。这就是为什么本地化本身就存在的原因。语言固然重要,但想让一篇文章在另一个市场上发挥作用,文化、历史、品味、习俗和语调这五个要素同样重要。 那么,在本地化时会发生哪些变化呢? 有很多当地的特点需要考虑,但在书面文本中常见的例子包括调整货币、计量单位、日期和时间格式,甚至字体和大写。 在这些情况下,一个简单的翻译是行不通的,因为整个概念需要改变,以适应目标市场中的真实人们所习惯的一切。 本地化:一个产业 作为翻译的一种变体,本地化本身已经成为一种产业。 科技和IT在当今商业中的无处不在,人们已经认识到本地化是软件、应用程序、网站和视频游戏开发中的一个关键组成部分。 软件本地化特别突出,因为它解决了让软件适应不同语言和市场的具体挑战。 它需要一个被称为国际化的初步步骤,并通过处理诸如占位符、多元化、性别和性格限制等常见问题来弥合技术限制和语言要求之间的鸿沟。 为什么2020年本地化如此重要? 为什么你想在全球业务战略中为本地化留出空间呢?以下列出了五个原因: 1. 你会接触到更多的观众 将你的产品本地化到国外市场,你的品牌知名度就会相应提升。本地化可以帮你更容易进入新的市场,加强你的全球存在。顶端的客户群会相应增加,还能推动潜在客户变成买方。 归根结底,你需要建立信任,把线索转化为客户。 如果你不仔细地将你的产品、服务和市场营销本地化以适应每个市场的需求,你就无法与新的受众建立信任。 2. 人们想要定制的内容 专业化的内容比以往任何时候都重要,这正是本地化的用处所在,本地化使内容与用户直接相关。 对质量高的、可靠的内容的需求在过去几年里急剧增加,新冠肺炎大流行只会加剧这种趋势。 而那些通用的内容,也就是那些为别人写的内容,显然没有吸引力了。 这是我们在新的内容经济中面临的严酷现实,但如果你倾听观众的意见,并真正地给他们想要的内容,你会很快看到观众数量和参与度的增长。 3. 你不会拿自己的名誉冒险 在过去的几个月里,有多少知名人物和品牌成为取消文化或网络羞辱的牺牲品? 太多了,数不清。 好吧,我们知道你并不是为了好玩而随心所欲地侮辱别人,但是如果你不知道什么规则和社会规范适用于某些群体和文化,那么你有多容易在不经意间冒犯这些群体和文化呢? 避免地方性敏感度丧失,这应该是你的首要任务,本地化将确保你的消息总是命中目标。 如果你一想到必须始终保持政治正确就会翻白眼,我们的重点不是这个。重点是要在你的目标市场找到正确的语调,避免关闭整个社区或成为整个文化的笑柄。 如果你要走向全球,你根本负担不起。 4. 提高客户满意度 一旦有了那些顾客,你就得让他们高兴!用户体验在今天至关重要,特别是当00后在你的客户群中占了很大一部分的时候。 通过本地化你的文档、博客文章、常见问题、电子、指南、报告和客户支持,你就能保证满足每个客户的特定需求。 记住,这些满意的客户会谈论你和你的产品。 他们会留下评论,给你“做宣传”。他们会创造和维持你的社区,没有比让真正的用户在网上和你所有的市场上对你赞不绝口更好的营销了。 5. 简化工作流程 一个高效的本地化过程在很大程度上依赖于协作的团队工作。 本地化团队中通常有几个角色,包括本地化工程师、项目经理、翻译和其他本地化专家。 你的业务规模将决定你需要多少人,但无论规模如何,你仍然需要团队内部以及与业务其他部分的紧密合作。 这就是为什么一个精简的工作流程和管理系统在本地化中是必不可少的。 在当今快节奏的世界中,你需要一个高效和自动化的本地化基础设施,它可以处理项目生命周期的所有阶段。 这种敏捷、优化的过程被称为持续本地化,有很多平台专门迎合这一点,包括Smartcat的一体机平台。 你会希望选择一个尽可能自给自足的系统,但这个系统也允许与软件存储库和内容管理系统(如WordPress)融合。 参考一下网络安全解决方案卡巴斯基和女性健康应用Flo是如何通过将Smartcat引入本地化流程来提高效率的。 走出去需要本地化 任何拓展到国外市场的人都会告诉你,本地化是国际成功的关键。 我们承认,本地化并不是一个万无一失的企业,它需要时间、金钱和研究来使你的业务建立起全球扩张。 但如果你提前计划并执行得当,好消息肯定会马上到来。