Localization Basics

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So you want to expand into new markets. Or maybe you want to know what translation mistakes your company should avoid. Possibly, you’re just curious what localization is. Great! You’ve come to the right place. Here are four important thing to keep in mind.

1. The customer is always right

You should know what your different end-users need, as Richard Sikes explains in an article about international expansion. Knowing what customers in various locales want, and then delivering it to them in a culturally-acceptable, error-free way, is the underlying focus of localization. You can read the full article, as well as several others on localization basics, in this excerpt from MultiLingual.

2. Localization management can be tricky

If you think you can hand off your international expansion or translation to Jan in IT or José in marketing, you might be in for a rude awakening. Translation, vendor management, localization project management — these are all full-time jobs that you need to outsource to qualified individuals or hire in-house. You can study up on it in further detail in this focus.

3. Translation itself is tricky

Especially when you factor in choosing a translation vendor and understanding translation technology. And by “translation technology,” we don’t necessarily mean machine translation, which you’re probably already familiar with thanks to Google Translate. Being a good translator requires a high level of expertise, especially in this day and age. Read more here.

4. In the localization industry, you can always learn more

Consider how complex each language is. Consider how complex the social cues, habits and customs of each country are. Multiply that by every language and every culture in the world, and then multiply that by the expanding set of technology we use on a daily basis. This industry is exciting because there’s always something new to learn or explore, whether that’s how to localize apps, how to localize voice recordings, how to translate for the medical devices of the future or a host of other considerations.

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