The localization landscape is extremely fragmented, and you probably noticed that it may be a bit confusing to define what types of services you really need, as well as how to deal with the non- familiar industry terminology.
The important question that comes along is: How should you approach the procurement process? Actually, when you are buying language services, you are actually buying a process and how the process will be tailored and executed. Also, it largely depends on your requirements and the desired end results.
While the basic phases and the desired outcome of each project are generally the same, the variables such as language combinations, number of language pairs, type, format and purpose of the materials and any additional services required will influence the scope and consequently the price of each project.
Take a look at the key points you need to define at the beginning of your journey towards the perfect service:
Translation vs Localization
While translation refers to communicating the meaning between the languages (mostly in textual format), localization, as its name implies, refers to a particular place, or even more specifically, to a particular market.
Its purpose is to adapt the product/service to the linguistic, cultural and legal environment of the target market, while maintaining the corporate identity and the essence of the corporate message and values across different languages and locales.
Translation is an extremely important part of the localization process, but localization goes deeper, as it also often includes adaptation of non-textual elements such as images, layouts, multimedia elements etc, as well as alignment of the product/service with any market-specific legal or technical requirements.
In short, you may need translation only for textual content, while for websites, software, IFUs, multimedia materials and everything else you should be looking for localization.
When done the right way, localization is invisible – if the end user can notice the seams, something is not quite right. To achieve this invisibility, we need the localization process.
The localization process can include more or less stages, depending on the requirements and objectives of each particular project. The standard process version includes the essential roles of a PM, translators, reviewers and a QA
It is impossible to imagine the localization process without the dedicated translation technologies and productivity suites designed to generate more high-quality content in less time and at optimal costs. CAT (Computer-assisted translation) tools are software products designed to help professional human translators generate more work in less time and they have been the industry standard for decades.
Machine translation (MT) is the translation output generated by machines, i.e. machine translation engines that should be custom developed for best results. MT can be performed with the application of Artificial intelligence (AI), with the post-editing and quality control steps by professional human translators.
The context refers to what do you need to localize and who is your target audience. The type and format of your content will have a significant impact on the turnaround time and costs of the localization process. It is important to bear in mind that the purpose of the localization process is the same in all cases and what differs mainly depends on the context i.e. target audience: It is not the same to localize corporate materials in editable vs. non-editable files, website localization vs. localization of highly specialised materials, transcreation vs. localization of multimedia files etc. In other words, the specific stages and workflows of the process will largely depend on the type and format of your materials.
The volume refers to how much content do you want to translate and how are the costs calculated – and, lest we forget, the number of language combinations. Translation and reviewing volumes are usually calculated per source word, with applied calculations that generate weighted word counts, with matches and repetitions at reduced price per word. This method of calculation is one of the many benefits of CAT (as well as MT + AI) platforms. In cases when localization is performed in several language combinations, it is always advisable to prepare the source material in one major language and then to localize from it to other languages, and thus avoid language pairs with reduced availability.
Quality in this context is not an elusive or preferential aspect of the localized materials, but actually a predictable and measurable result of the localization process. The aspects of quality of translated materials such as accuracy, appropriateness and fluency can be assessed, and these are the aspects of your corporate message that can have an impact on your business performance and that can make your marketing campaigns sink or swim in international markets. The thing is that people tend to notice the quality of the language only when it’s bad – and when it’s bad, it always brings a whiff of sloppiness and untrustworthiness that may have serious consequences on your business.
The reason why language industry even exists, together with its processes and dedicated technologies, is to prevent this kind of thing from happening.
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