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Language Localization Explained

Language localization is an integral part of all Translators USA services involving translation despite the fact that the vast majority of our clients request only accurately translated documents to be delivered on time. Furthermore, some feel uneasy when being asked for additional information about the target country/culture and audience, thinking that we don't really need to know all that. But when we explain why we need them to tell us more, they are more than happy to provide us with additional information.

What is Language Localization and Why is It Done?


Language localization refers to a process of adjusting a product or service, or in our case – translation to a particular target country or culture in order to make it relevant for target audience and avoid misunderstandings. And these are not that uncommon as many people think. For example, there is a substantial difference between British English and American English. Similarly, Spanish speakers in Spain and those in Latin America don't use the same expressions, phrases and idioms either. Even a particular word can have different meanings in different countries with the same official language and sometimes even in different regions within the same country.

Now, the vast majority of terms will be understood by all native speakers of a particular language but there are quite many that simply don't sound right. As a result, translations that don't include language localization may fail to appeal to the target audience. Language localization is therefore especially important for marketing and website translations which mustn't only convey the same meaning as in the original source language but also must appeal to the target audience.

How is Language Localization Done?

Language localization is often defined as a process distinct from translation. This is because it requires much more than just adapting the target language to the target audience. It also requires a thorough study of the target market or culture not only in linguistic sense but also when it comes to local customs and preferences including things such as date formats. For example, translations for the UK audience will have dates written with the day of the month first, while those intended for the American market will write month before the day of the month. Mixing up the two can therefore cause a serious misunderstanding because 10/11 will read as October 11 in the United States but in the UK, it will be understood as November 10. Now imagine having sent out invitations for an important event without proper date format.

We at Translators USA overcome the issues of linguistic varieties and cultural differences by determining the target country/culture which in turn is used as a basis for the selection of a translator. In addition to making sure that the selected language specialist has both linguistic expertise and in-depth subject knowledge, we also make sure that the selected language specialist is familiar with the target country and culture including local preferences, customs and habits. And with a database of several thousand translators all over the world, we can adapt translations to target audiences in all the largest markets both linguistically and culturally.

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Wednesday, 17 January 2018
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