Finding the right localization service can be a make or break factor when it comes to marketing your business internationally and expanding its operations overseas. For companies that are serious about earning their stripes in the international marketplace, translation services alone are not enough – professional localization has to be factored in.
Localization goes above and beyond translation. It is carried out by language specialists who have extensive knowledge of the countries where the materials in question will be used. That knowledge includes a vast array of cultural factors, so that the localization expert can identify any elements of the documents that might cause offence in the target country. This relates not just to the copy, but also to any images being used.
It is surprisingly easy to cause offence when first working in another country. Even big-name brands are susceptible to doing so, from Electrolux to Honda. Religious and cultural sensitivities can be finely nuanced and it only takes a slight misjudgement or lack of awareness to create a real headache for a company – particularly given how quickly such mistakes can spread on social media. A localization fail early on in a company’s attempts to crack a new country’s market could just seal that company’s fate for good.
Nor is it just offensive content that needs to be edited out of company documents. Slang terms can create unforeseen issues for companies that don’t localize their content. Germans, for example, enjoyed a good laugh when Starbucks introduced the ‘latte’ to Germany. Starbucks kept the Italian term, not realizing that it meant something altogether more adult in German slang. Thankfully, Starbucks is big enough that the amusement the localization fail caused could be laughed off. However, smaller companies entering new marketplaces could fare less well.
Companies therefore need to find the right localization service – one that understands not just the languages of their country of origin and target country, but also the cultural conditions and the specific business sector in which the company operates.
Online reviews are a great place to start, along with personal recommendations from professional contacts. It’s then time to grill possible candidates on their localization capabilities and how they ensure their knowledge and skills remain up to date. With slang terms being created all the time and spreading fast, this is absolutely essential.
A test localization could work too, so always check if the localization companies you’re considering using will be happy to undertake a brief test.
Finally, be sure to factor in other elements of localization businesses’ service delivery, such as their availability and the other languages and regions that they cover – after all, once you’ve achieved success in your target country, you might want to expand to even more locations!
For professional translation and localization services backed by superb customer service, it has to be Tomedes. Please contact us for further details. While you’re here, why not also check out our new Text Summarizer Tool – it’s yours to use, completely free!