What is Localization?
There are many competing, yet related, definitions of this translation industry buzzword. For our purposes, localization is the process of crafting a text to the langauge and culture of a specific audience. In this regard, localization can be viewed as the art of giving a generic text a bit of local color as an English text can be adapted to an audience in Boston, Los Angeles, Wales or Sydney.
The Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA) defines localization as "the process of modifying products or services to account for differences in distinct markets".
As a particle matter, website localization is more than translating written materials about a product or service, though it does often entail converting the language of the packaging, labeling, promotional materials, technical manuals, users guides and web pages into another tongue. For a web site to appeal to people in different countries and cultures, or for a product or service to be understood across international boundaries, the text, the icons, and all cultural content must be adapted. This includes obvious matters like units of measurement, time and date displays, currency, numbering systems, fonts, and legal-commercial procedures and terminology. It also includes non-obvious points, like the appropriate form of address and level of speech to an unknown person, use or avoidance of non-standard words (as desired), use or avoidance of references to local expressions (like "smart as a whip" or "white as snow"), and acceptable (non-strained) phrase constructions.
What does it have to do with technology?
The term localization is most often associated with technology such as websites and software. About the web defines it thus: "The process of adapting a computer program for a specific international market, which includes translating the user interface into a foreign language, resizing dialog boxes to fit the new language, customizing features if necessary, and testing results to ensure that the original program still works."
How does it differ from translation?
In the case of a website, all buttons, images, scripts, etc. would have to be adapted to a target audience for it to be considered truly "localized." Translating the body text into a foreign language yet leaving the remainder in English would be considered translation, but not full localization.
What can Green Crescent do for you?
Green Crescent is more than a language service provider. We are expert in all facets of online communication with expertise in website design, programming, online marketing and website development. Put our experience to work for you and improve the look, organization, usability, and popularity of your website or bring your business online with a new custom site.
- Website and logo design - we can design the visual look of you website to your specifications. Unlike most designers who will give you only a handful of mockups, Green Crescent offers unlimited modifications of the original design until you are 100% satisfied.
- Design conversion and theme creation - whether you already have a design or logo or are working on a brand new site, we can convert your design into a flexible website template that employs clean, efficient code and integrate it into your current site.
- Content management systems - Green Crescent developers can get a state of the art, user friendly content management system up and running on your domain so that you can control your site from behind the scenes and make changes to your content as you need to without having to hire a professional programmer each time you want to make a change. Our content management systems are highly extensible so you can add additional features as you need them without having to reprogram your site from the ground up.
- Search engine optimization - no matter what your marketing strategy, we can design your website's navigation and content delivery to take maximum advantage of the free traffic provided by Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines.
- Online marketing and consulting - if you're not experienced in the ways of the web or just need a fresh perspective, our experts can help you design a winning online marketing strategy or give you advice about how to avoid all the time consuming and costly pitfalls that one encounters as they bring their business online.
- In additional to website translation, Green Crescent is also expert in such diverse facets of website development and management as domain name selection and valuation, branding, data base design and optimization, and web hosting.
How Should a Website be Localized?
Website localization takes place in phases:
- Planning. The first step is to have Green Crescent website development experts perform a detailed analysis of the website in its current state, isolating both technical and translations issues. This work typically must be accomplished in close coordination with the translator assigned to the project. Examples of design planning might include recommending a different color scheme for the website, particularly if certain colors are considered more appealing in the target culture.
- Transforming the Assets. Each website will have many separate components, called "assets." They may be web pages themselves, images, media files, scripts or a number of other website building blocks.
- Programming Assets. Programming assets (like style sheets and scripts) will usually not require translation into a foreign language other than any interface elements like help screens or notices to the user. Some format specifications will probably require adjustments. Examples are periods and commas as separators for numbers, the order of presentation in date displays, and the use of a 24-hour clock rather than "am/pm".
- Text Assets. The actual text, of course, will be separated out and placed with the translator, together with instructions for how the material should be returned for easy reassembly into the website. This translation is more than linguistic - it must capture the content in terms of the local culture.
- Other Assets. It is possible, perhaps likely that some images, diagrams or icons may require execution in the foreign language as well.
- Testing. Once the elements have been reassembled, the Green Crescent development programmers will test the web site prior to launch, as usual, tweaking links and formats, and making sure that everything fits together and flows as it should be. This process also involves the intimate involvement of the site translator, who will have one more chance to proofread all translated text and be sure the order of links and pages is correct. Then the website is delivered to the client.
Website localization may be part of a more general localization effort, involving DTP translation of printed materials that help establish and maintain relationships between the client and its foreign market or audience.
Why Use Green Crescent for your Website Localization?
Green Crescent Translations has the programming capability in-house to work with just about any technology in use on the Web. In addition, Green Crescent performs localization services in over 100 different languages of the world, having served some of the world's most active international companies. Additionally, Green Crescent can advise clients with recurring requirements on the economic benefits of creating translation memories, to streamline the localization process, reduce costs, and help make output consistent across the spectrum of markets.