Asia is the world’s largest and most populous continent, and has been for most of human history.
Asia covers everything from Japan to Siberia to Afghanistan, and yet in localization terms, due to market share, discussion of Asian translation and globalization is often concentrated around the major Asian powers. Southeast Asia, an emerging market with a lot of potential, contains long-tail languages that may not ever make it into mainstream localization. At least, these languages may not ever have the buying power that spurs international corporations to pursue them for financial gain.
Consider that the top two countries with the most languages spoken are in Southeast Asia and just off its boundary in Oceania. Papua New Guinea has over 800 living, spoken languages, followed by Indonesia at over 700. When you consider that Papua New Guinea has only eight million inhabitants, this linguistic diversity is particularly impressive.
In this issue, we try to do it all: look in depth at China and Japan, consider humanitarian translation in Southeast Asia — for a largely unwritten language of Myanmar — and parse out the Middle Eastern market.
And because even this solid line-up can only scratch the surface of Asian localization, we’ve supplemented all this with a couple of articles we’ve included for free on our Insights page.