Many companies are looking to offer their products and services internationally so they can multiply their number of potential clients, and build a strong - and internationally recognisable - brand. But when it comes to the challenge of expanding your business on a global scale, you need to draw up a communications and branding strategy involving much more than simple translations of the products your brand sells. Do you want to know what localisation is, and how it can help you internationalise your company? We'll tell you in this post.
What is localisation?
According the Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA) the term localisation is "the process of adapting products or services, taking into account the difference between varying markets". Delving deeper into this definition, we could say that localising a product or service involves modifying and adapting the original text, in a way that makes the resulting product or service marketable in the target market.
This means that when a professional translator approaches the localisation process, they need to leave traditional translation to one side and go deeper, taking into account the cultural aspects, beliefs, and conventions of the target audience. Localisation should adapt content to the new market, considering aspects which may seem to have little relevance, such as the psychology of colour in the target country, or religious beliefs.
Which languages need localising?
Any language can be translated or localised, but this type of translation makes more sense when we're looking at languages of countries that are culturally different. All countries have their own differentiating factors such as beliefs and cultures, but sometimes they're not so different that the products need localising from one market to another.
Having said that, there is definitely a trend towards localising FIGS languages (French, Italian, German and Spanish), given that they are among the most popular languages in the world. And there's also a growing trend to localise into CJK languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean), since the Asian market is one of the emerging markets that has the most potential.
What needs to be localised?
When deciding whether to localise a product or not, one of the most important factors to consider is the product's projected sales volume. Based on this analysis you may then decide whether you need partial localisation or full localisation. It's always advisable for companies to use professional translators who are native speakers of the target language to carry out a full localisation and 360º adaptation - partial localisation could well lead to issues with reputation which in the long term could incur greater costs to the company.
The elements you need to localise include:
- Printed materials: documentation, brochures, promotional posters, and even product packaging.
- Audiovisual material: images, promotional videos, subtitles, and dubbing.
- Websites: URLs, meta tags, SEO, date and time formats, and phone numbers.
- Video games and software: technical manuals, code, graphics files, menus, dialogue boxes, calls to action, and the user interface.
How can localising content benefit you?
One of the main reasons for adapting your brand content is because you want it to have an effective impact on a new audience in a foreign market, which has a different language, belief system, and culture. And by localising your content, you can be sure that your new target audience overseas will identify with your products, services, and - most importantly - your brand.
The most significant (of many) benefits of localisation are global brand recognition, giving your company an international dimension, and a greater return on investment (ROI). To sum up, localisation is going to help you get more sales and more clients, and it'll contribute to a more robust international marketing strategy.
AT Language Solutions is the ideal partner to help you take the plunge into globalising your brand: we have more than 20 years' experience collaborating with companies internationalising their products or services. You can count on us to localise your content - we work with professional native translators who can adapt your content, campaigns, and products, and make sure your brand successfully breaks new markets. So are you ready to take on the challenge to go international?