Localisation and translation are terms that are often confused. They may seem similar but there are clear differences between them: cultural, functional and technical aspects. While a translator needs linguistic skills for a translation, other skills are required for localisation, such as a good knowledge of the culture of the target market.
Localisation consists of a translation which includes the necessary modifications in the content in order to obtain a text that is comprehensible for users in the target language. Localisation is generally related to the cultural adaptation of websites, video games and software.
As a point of interest, here are some statistics on content localisation according to the type of website from the book by Singh and Pereira: The Culturally Customized Web Site:
- Standards: pages in one language, the same for all markets (7.49%);
- Localised: information relevant for the target market is translated (35.17%);
- Highly localised: URLs are translated and specific formats are adapted, such as the time, date, etc. (28.66%);
- Culturally adapted: even the website design reflects the target culture (0.2%).
As well as localising the content to ensure it is effective in the target market, other tasks are required, such as a SEO analysis or changes in functionalities of the page, taking into account the language and target country.
However, if the web content has not been effectively localised, working on SEO is useless, as, although users will access the website content faster, they will leave it because of the unsuitable content.
A powerful marketing tool
Localisation means redesigning the structure of a website. Adapting the web content to the target market, adjusting the features according to the culture of the market and even changing pictures, colours and graphic design, makes the work of a translator more complex.
Website localisation is vital to any business seeking to move into international markets. Adapting content to the target market may have a major impact on web traffic and, as a result, in the positioning of the website and sales.
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