Translation Agents: 3 tips for explaining language localisation to your clients

Ian DaviesAustralian English, Brand Appropriateness, Localization

Translation agents, are you having trouble convincing your clients’ that marketing materials you translate also need to be localised for the country in which the materials will be used?

As a highly experienced localiser from Australianizers in Sydney, I have found two great articles explaining the differences between translation and localisation services:

In a recent Computerworld  article, titled translation vs. localization’, Computerworld staff made some convincing points about differences between translation and localisation and the different uses of each.

Translation is literal and ‘word for word’ and the source and target-language text must match up precisely. Examples of translations are legal manuals, technical publications, and support documents.

In comparison, localisation involves adapting the target-language content to convey a similar meaning in the target culture. The localisation may not be a literal translation. Examples include web sites, marketing campaigns, and branded content. The majority of these examples apply to advertising, marketing and business development.

localise multimedia

In the second article, by Emily Benson  and titled ‘Translation, translation, internationalisation…..what’s the difference?,  the question is posed: ‘Are they the same and which service do I need for my business?’.

According to Benson, translation is the process of expressing text in another language. Text is expressed ‘word for word’, with attention to grammar and syntax.

In comparison, localisation involves translation, but its broader goal is to make content (or a product) feel as though it were created specifically for the target market.

Based on these articles and my experience localising US, Canadian and British English into Australian English, I have listed three actions I would recommend to companies trying to convince their clients of the importance of following up translation with localisation if they want to have maximum impact in their target market:

Think Local – adapt content that has previously been translated into multiple languages to a specific country or region. Take the local cultural environment into account.

Don’t wait – Localise content as soon as you translate it. Don’t wait until a product launch fails because of cultural insensitivity.

Embrace the local culture – Ensure idiomatic expressions, puns and marketing materials convey a similar message or connotation in the target culture.

Talk to your clients today about the importance of localising content after it has been translated to ensure local cultural norms and values are addressed.

Looking to localize into Australian English? You have come to the right place. At Australianizers helping companies reach Australian consumers is what we do. We can help you localize your documents into Australian English to ensure they will reflect Australian culture.

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