The 80-20 Rules for Language Industry

Miloš Matović 2 years ago Comment

The Pareto principle or the 80-20 rule in its simplest form states that, for better or worse, roughly 80% of the effect comes from 20% of the causes.

The 80-20 Rules for Language Industry | Blog | Ciklopea

The Pareto principle or the 80-20 rule in its simplest form states that, for better or worse, roughly 80% of the effect comes from 20% of the causes. However, this principle has also come to describe the 20% of any process that requires special attention, expertise, effort and makes a difference. Of course, this rule by no means states that the 80% should be ignored – it simply helps us define the focal point of our activities for best results.

Although the exact figures may vary (the 80 is not always 80, nor is 20 always 20), this simple but effective rule of thumb named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto has numerous applications across different sciences and industries, but in all instances it explains the ratio of inputs and outputs. This time we focus on its application in the language industry.

The 80 – 20 Rule of Localization

We often say that translation is the central process of localization, but that it is a much wider and more complex process. And it is true – accurate translation is the very heart of localization and no localization team is even imaginable without translators.

Indeed, translation is the 80% of localization, while the 20% is the stylistic, cultural and technical adaptation that separates localization from translation.

The 80 – 20 Rule of Globalization

Localized products and services have the same features and purpose, most of the time the look and the feel also remain the same. If we apply the Pareto principle, it is easy to see why – 80% percent of global needs, habits, behavior and expectations is universal, while the 20% is dependent on the culture and environment of a local market.

Therefore, there is always roughly the 20% of any product / service that is completely localized, while the 80% remains the same.

The 80 – 20 Rule of Corporate Content

The importance of content can never be emphasized enough. However, the question of the purpose of content is even more important. Do you like websites that feature almost nothing but ads and sales information? We don’t, either.

The 80% of all corporate content should be about our users and clients, addressing their expectations and needs and providing the useful information regarding our products and services, all of this to establish and maintain a good relationship with our audience, while no more than 20% should be reserved for sales information and strict business activities.

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