China is unique, bridging a tech-savvy modern market and an emerging, rural one.
Kaiser Kuo of Baidu, China’s biggest search engine, noted at the last Asian LocWorld that he is “hard-pressed” to find an example of an American internet giant that had succeeded in China, mostly due to bad localization. Although most people tend to blame this on the governmental firewall, Kuo pointed out that between the years 2002 and 2008, very few websites outside of China were blocked by the Great Firewall of China. Even so, international companies such as Twitter and Facebook lagged far behind local competitors.
China has undergone massive changes in the past 20 years. I was in Shanghai this past spring, and from the first moment there, I knew it was different than what I remembered from a trip to China 14 years prior as an impressionable 20-year-old. Even the quiet orderliness of this last arrival into China felt strange. It was so easy, routine. Nothing like I remembered from over a decade ago at the border crossing from Hong Kong to mainland China, nothing whatsoever like being pressed forward in an untamed crowd of human flesh toward an official stamp in your passport.
In many ways, China and the Chinese market have matured, but localization is still tricky. Jacob Stempniewicz, Matt Arney, Louise Law and Alex Matusescu all examine Chinese localization and translation, offering various tips and cultural explorations. John Tinsley outlines some challenges in Chinese machine translation. Micaela Andrich’s article compares Chinese terminology guidelines with those for German and English.
Outside of our magazine’s focus, we have an article on localization in the Nordics from Anne-Marie Colliander Lind and Cecilia Enbäck. We also have a column from Andrew Lawless on doing business in China; a column on Translators without Borders from Jeannette Stewart; and a couple of technology reviews.
Richard Sikes offers a massive review of SDL Trados Studio 2015, and Angelika Zerfaß has an equally in-depth comparison of this tool with memoQ 2015. Our Takeaway is by Daniel B. Harcz and covers working from home in the localization industry.
The Chinese market is indeed maturing, and still has some hurdles to overcome. With the help of our experts, we hope that you can overcome them, whether you are localizing to or from China.