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Language Localization: How To Make The Most Out Of It

Language Localization: How To Make The Most Out Of It

Individuals often seek ways to reinvent themselves with a new job or business venture during times of financial constraints. These conditions also pressure companies to explore new markets to sell their products and services. This expansion does not necessarily require developing new products, but rather customizing  existing  products/services to target a new market. We have helped many of our clients expand their markets by translating and localizing their products.

To communicate with potential clients; you must speak their language in every sense of the word. One approach to target a new audience is through by localizing your website. With the right plan and the right team, you’ll successfully enter new markets in no time.

What do you need to localize?

Images and colors: First impressions last forever. Select images and color schemes your target audience can identify with.

Language: Use common expressions and terminology and be aware of different locales of  the same language.

The message: Adapting ideas and transcreating messages will ensure clear communication as if it was written originally for the reader.

While reading Multilingual Magazine (June and July 2012 issues), we found three articles covering brand/website localization.

Positive Example 1: Pantene’s localized campaign for the Latin American/Spanish market. On a portion of their website localized for Peru, they display a female who appears to be of Japanese heritage (due to historic Japanese immigration, Peru has the second largest Japanese population in Latin America).

Positive Example 2: Eva Mendez is the face of Pantene’s Spanish site in the United States, another cultural connection.

Positive Example 3: When referring to hair, Pantene uses “pelo for Argentina and ”cabello for Peru; the most commonly used variations of the term in each country.

Positive Examples 4 & 5: To adapt to the Chinese market, Coca-Cola changed the characters to say something along the lines of: to allow the mouth to rejoice (a very positive feeling/image) Google adapts to the Chinese market by changing their name to “GuGe,” eliminating pronunciation difficulties with the letter “L” in Mandarin.

These are great examples of cultural and language localization through the use of appealing and familiar images targeting a particular market. At the same time, if you are not mindful you can make a negative impact:

Negative Example 1: The term “voseo” (a form of the pronoun you) is used within the Argentina localized website. At first it appears to be used correctly but after further analysis, inconsistencies are revealed. This is a concern because your audience may feel that the brand is careless and does not relate to them.

Language localization is an extensive process requiring time and research. To ensure a positive and fruitful reception of your products, it is essential to:

  1. understand your market
  2. maintain a clear strategy
  3. be respectful and consistent in your delivery
  4. set realistic goals

These guidelines will ensure a positive reception and fruitful future for your products. Please feel free to contact us today for assistance with your website localization project.

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Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela. Jackie has a BS in computer engineering; As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.