Localization services refer to services adapted to a definite locality.
Services are localized in the following areas.
Website localization – Since the internet has become the major tool of communication, it has become important for website holders to ensure that information is easily accessed by clients. Hence, websites adapt to the different language groups of users. In addition, the domiciliary tendency of internet users is changing; increasing firms’ internet potential. For instance, to take advantage of China’s huge population with her added high number of internet users, firms have had to provide their websites in Chinese in order to sell their products.
Translation services – Product or firm names may have damaging effects on the firm’s reputation. This occurs especially in places where the name can mean something else to the locals. This therefore, calls for a translation of the words or phrases in line with the dictates of the local cultural needs. Translation from English to other languages is not an easy job though; many determinants have to be borne in mind including the rendering of metaphors, similes, humor and perceptions of the language i.e. whether to use formal or informal rendering.
Software localization – Software localization is the attuning of the software to the demands of a certain client group. This type of localization involves translation of the language used, changing the graphics and manipulation of data. Software localization is different from both translation localization and website localization which occur as final processes. Localization of the software is done alongside the development of the software to ensure concurrent production and shipment to the various markets. The localization is meant to attune to a number of factors such as language, date formats, fonts and font sizes, time and address formats, word separation, payment methods, copyright issues and currency conversion.
Some Common Pitfalls to Avoid when Localizing a Service
Names – use of ambiguous names; ensure that the name cannot be understood differently in another language. An example is a model of Honda that was released in Scandinavia called “Fitta”. This term is used by the locals to describe a delicate area of a woman’s makeup. This led to rejection of the model.
Language – If the original language contains sayings, metaphors and other colloquial expressions; they may not directly translate in to the target language.
Pictures – Pictures mostly used in the Western world may not be readily acceptable in the East. For example, scantily dressed ladies are not a common scene in Buddhist and Muslim communities. The use of maps is also another tricky area as these have political and cultural attachments.
Colors – Different colors carry different meanings to different people. For instance, red color is viewed as a reference to aggression by many western countries. However, the same color is a symbol of calmness in China.