The Importance of Localizing While Globalizing


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The terms “globalization” and “localization” seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum. Globalization focuses on international integration of views, ideas, products, and culture in order to create a neutral product and/or service that can be used anywhere, while localization focuses on adapting the product or content to the culture and customs of a specific locale. As companies become global, however, it is still important to keep in mind the cultures and values of the countries where business is being conducted in order to guarantee an appeal to local customers and businesses.

In a world where English is unofficially becoming a universal language, taught in school and used in business, there is still an importance placed on ensuring that content is also translated into local languages of the places where the content is displayed and marketed towards. The Common Sense Advisory, a go-to place for information regarding the translation and language industry, previously published statistics that put an emphasis on the need for translating content. In order to reach about 80% of the world’s population, 83 languages are needed… Whereas, reaching 100% of the world’s population takes 7,000 languages. Also, about 56% of the world’s population agrees that having information in their own language is more important than price. If people are willing to spend more, and a great number of languages are needed to reach those people, translating content into local languages should be a top priority for any global company.

This is where the importance of linguists comes in. You help the process become easier for companies by introducing not only your knowledge and expertise of the language, but also of the culture and background of the locations where that language is most commonly used. To ensure that the message and emotions are translated along with the words, it is best never to do a word-by-word translation, like certain online automated translation websites do, but to also translate the expressions, humor, and/or idioms within the content. Translating and interpreting means to secure the message and not just to interpret and translate the words. Localization involves adapting the expressions and idioms locally, which can be done during translation. By working with a linguist, companies will gain the advantage of making sure that they localize their content while going global.

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