In a previous article, I defined localization as the process of adapting a product (in the context of translation, usually software) to a specific locale (i.e. to the language, cultural norms, standards, laws and requirements of the target market). Localization includes, but is not limited to, translation of the screen texts and help files. You may be thinking, "Isn't translation enough; why do I need to localize too?" Localizing a translation personalizes your product or service to your intended audience.
Here is an example of how one client utilized localization to personalize their training materials to a Latin American audience:
A client in the training/education industry was determined to translate their training materials and textbook from English into Spanish. During the initial discussions of the project scope, the translation project manager broached the subject of including localization of their training materials. The client was using these materials to offer training in Latin America; and by making small localization updates, these materials would be better suited for their new target audience. The inclusion of localization to the project did not significantly change the timeline or cost, and the value gained by personalizing the translation to their target audience was worth the minimal increase.
Localization updates to the project included:
- Replacing American locale images with those set in Latin American locales.
- Changing character names (i.e. changing Joe to Jose and Jessica to Marcela).
- Localizing dollar figures to the more appropriate format in Latin America (i.e. five dollars $5.00 American is written $5,00 in many Spanish speaking countries).
These simple changes were incorporated during the translation process and approved by the client review team. By investing a small amount of resources in this localization project, their target audience received materials that were uniquely catered to them. The client later shared that the relatability of the materials to the Latin American audience created a higher receptivity towards the learning process and an overall higher success rate in the training course.