Why do I need localization?As much as localization has developed significantly during the last twenty years, not all companies are localizing their products for global distribution. The following are three types of companies that have lagged behind in the rush for gold in the fast growing global economy:
- Companies that lack a well developed international strategy to compete effectively in the global market.
- Companies that rely on local distributors to localize and market their products for them, thereby giving away much of the ownership and sales proceeds of the localized products.
- Companies that don't yet believe globalization is the direction of the world economy, just like those that resisted email and the Internet during their early development.
In the first case, it's a question of strategizing the company's overall development plan for sustained and long term growth. Priorities will need to be redefined within the organization so that objective analysis can be achieved of potential gains and loss for localization investment. There are also plenty of 3rd party companies such as CSOFT that provide good localization consulting.
Companies that rely on local distributors or partners to localize their products tend to miss out on substantial returns if they take direct control of the localization process. By taking direct control of localization, a company will have complete ownership of the localized product and much greater share of sales profit for the localized product. Return on investment or ROI is often the key element that many companies fail to adequately analyze and understand. There are many localization providers including CSOFT that offer highly affordable localization solutions to help companies reduce localization cost and time to market. The best way to find out if this model fits into your company's globalization development is to send an RFQ to the vendor so that you can obtain a realistic cost estimate. This will allow you to compare the risk and potential gains in a much more clear and educated way.
Companies that resist this time of change and globalization will invariably lose out to the global competition. History has shown time and again that the companies who refuse or are unable to adapt to market changes are left behind as the markets evolve. Companies that are quick to follow and adapt to a changing world economy will remain at the forefront of the business world.
What is L10N?L10N is the abbreviation for word localization. The numeric 10 represents the 10 letters between the first letter L and the last letter N. L10N is widely used in the industry as a short name for localization.
What is I18N?I18N is the abbreviation for the word internationalization. The numeric 18 represents the 18 letters between the first letter I and the last letter N. I18N is widely used in the industry as a short name for internationalization.
What is LISA?LISA stands for Localization Industry Service Association. The group is a non-profit organization focused on the development of the localization industry.
TranslationThe process of changing the words of a source language into a new or target language. Because languages are extremely complex, translating from one language to another inherently and invariably will contain many instances that can only be dealt with by a human and not by a machine. Frequently, translators encounter words or sentences with many possible correct translations into the target language. It is precisely because of this intrinsic complexity that the translator needs to be clear about the desired style and feeling needed for the translated output.
Machine TranslationThere is no human involvement in machine translation. Once the only option to save time and sanity, Machine Translation is actually a relatively simple computer program. Upon encountering a word, or set of words, in a source language it will then change them into a predetermined word, or set of words, from the glossary of the target language. Unfortunately, languages have far too many variables and subtleties for this to work effectively. The resulting translation is usually easily identified as a non-native translation. This hurts companies who would like to have their products appear as if they are tailored for the local market and who would like their image to represent that they truly understand the markets that they are selling in.
Localization, by definition, must ensure that products and documentation function in each language and culture as well as they do in their original language. Thus, L10N specialists use more advanced and dynamic tools to help native speakers achieve a natural and appropriate translation that meets the client's specifications and matches their brand image.
Style GuideA Style Guide is a given to a localization partner by a client to ensure that the style and format of the finished project will match with the client's internally accepted styles and format. Because translation and DTP work can be subjective, L10N specialists find Style Guides a crucial tool to help them deliver a finished product back to the client without any incongruities in their image or the style that represents them.
A properly maintained glossary can be very useful tool. Though a glossary can never take the place of human judgment for the appropriate word choice, they can be very helpful for certain kinds of documents. For example, repetitive technical descriptions and instructions, or electronic device catalogues and manuals, or technical automotive texts, or surgical device descriptions all have product or software specific terminology. This terminology must remain consistent throughout the translation. Imagine the confusion if the definition for a specific part or function changed throughout an owner's manual. As products or software are localized into many different languages, this consistency only becomes more important.
Review CycleEvery effort is made to ensure the highest quality of the L10N products that we deliver to our clients. It matters to us because it matters to you. We believe that the highest quality translation can only come from thoroughly trained, native-speaking professional technical translators. However, by its very nature, translation does contain some subjective elements in the choice of words and style. This is why a Review Cycle can be a critical element to any L10N project.
Even before the L10N work commences, the project manager will be in touch with our client's reviewer in order to ensure that our translators can establish communication when there are linguistic, stylistic and terminological issues. These issues are typically subtle and subjective so we recommend that the client use a reviewer with knowledge of the target language and product to examine the translations.
Because the client knows their product and their intentions best, managing this review process is typically handled by the client. However, in our quest to always offer the most comprehensive multilingual localization solution, we can have the designated CSOFT Project Manager assume responsibility for this review management. Your satisfaction is our number one priority.