In our previous blog, L10n. Localization., we reviewed why localization, or L10n, is an important factor in preparing your content for the global market. For your business, this might mean you’re considering market expansion, seeking sales growth opportunities, or maybe even placing an increased focus on customer satisfaction. Regardless of your goal, if you have any of these factors at the forefront of your mind, then it’s time to further explore how localization can help your business reach its goal.
L10n is the process of adapting content for a specified market or locale, including a specific country, region, and language. Localization expands beyond just translating content from one language into another. It includes adapting graphics, updating designs or layouts, and formatting for local requirements such as currencies or unit measurements. The goal of L10n is to ensure your message resonates with your entire target audience, regardless of their geographic location or preferred language.
So, now that we understand what L10n is and the large impact it can have on your business, what’s next?
Where to Begin
Plan for localization from the start.
The best way to ensure a smooth localization process is to think about it from the very beginning. If you fail to consider adapting your content for different languages or regions from the start, you’re limiting your options (or, making the localization process MUCH harder than it needs to be). In fact, localization is a vital part of a good content lifecycle management strategy.
For website translation, this includes leaving a lot of space within your layout, separating your content from your design code, and enabling your website code for local preferences, such as currency or measurement units. Let’s look at each of these in more detail in relation to website localization.
- Space is key to any localization process. Think of a closet in your house. If you have too many items stuffed into the closet, it’s hard to accommodate that new spring jacket or the summer sandals you’re dying to have. In order to make it fit, you’ll have to spend time cleaning out objects you no longer want or need, and the process becomes more time consuming than necessary. The same goes for a lack of space on a website. If you have a cluttered design to start with, it will be hard to accommodate text expansions or contractions. You’ll need to consider cutting certain language or reformatting your design to better fit the new content. Thus, creating a much longer and harder project than needed.
- Localizing graphics, charts, and other media is an incredibly important phase of a localization project. As we discussed in Localization. L10n., using baseball slogans or imagery in Germany won’t go over as well as slogans or imagery from the much more popular sport of soccer. Even colors and emojis need localization. Check out our blog on this topic for more detail. And, of course, having the ability to remove the words from a design or image on your website will easily allow the translation of both pieces individually, making the entire process go more smoothly.
- Internationalization, or I18n, is the design and development of content to easily enable localization for different target audiences, cultures, and languages. This includes the adjustment of date and time formats, currencies, symbols, legal requirements, and more. When deciding to expand into a new market, this process allows for a quick and easy code-exchange from one language to the next, without having to start over at the design phase. So, if your website sells tickets to sporting events, this means it will need to have the ability to easily configure different date, time, and currency formats to match the new market.
Create a Localization Strategy
The “Who, What, Where, and When” of your localization project.
Having your content ready for localization from the very beginning allows you to jump right into defining the “who, what, where, and when” of your localization strategy, instead of spending time thinking through the “how”. The following are all important factors for defining your localization strategy:
- Who: Identify your target market(s) and demographic(s).
- What: Determine what language(s) to translate your content into and complete market research to create a buyer persona.
- Where: Determine the target region you’ll be introducing your content to.
- When: Timing is everything. Align your strategy with the proper timeline for execution.
Find a Partner
Localization is a lot of work.
Regardless of how well you prepare your content for localization from the start, the actual process of translating and localizing your content is a lot of work. Therefore, you need to find the right partner to help you from start to finish. Your translation partner will assist you with not only completing the translation itself but also guide you with creating your entire strategy. Visit our recent blog, Translation – The Solution You Need, to review the key factors to finding the right partner for your translation project.
Is your content ready for localization? Vocalink Global has extensive experience localizing content across websites, mobile, multimedia, software, eLearning environments, and more. Connect with us today to learn how we can help you relate to your new audience by way of localization.