Localization of Websites and Software
Localization is a special type of translation, which is relatively new to Russia and involves adaptation of information to the linguistic and cultural specifics of the target language. In a narrow sense, localization implies preparation of software for entry into a new linguistic market. However, it has a much wider field of application in real life activities.
In fact, we deal with product localization every time we are «lost in translation». Irrelevance, obscurity and even absurdity of word-for-word translation or original names, awkward long-length terms, multiple meaning of words – all these and many other factors make translators turn to localization to get through intricacies of translation.
The title «Johnny D.» can be named as the example of successful localization of a movie in Russia. It turned out to be much more appropriate for the movie about John Dillinger played by Johnny Depp than the original title «Public Enemies», contributing to the box-office success of the movie that attracted numerous Johnny Depp fans.
Localization is popular among manufacturers of food products, automobile concerns, movie distributors, book publishers. However, localization is most frequently used by software developers and website owners operating on the booming IT market that requires overcoming of language barriers, which may limit its accessibility to prospective users.
Software solutions for business, user software, computer games – all these products are created by dozens or even hundreds of professionals; their translation needs utmost attention and competence: Occasional translation blunders and inadequate adaptation can impede promotion and acceptance of a program or a popular game on a new market.
Proper localization of a software product includes the following stages:
· Market analysis; assessment of the extent and specifics of the required software adaptation;
· Extraction of the textual information from the source product –localization and translation are required not only for the main texts, but also for elements of the program code, labels, captions, charts and illustrations, documentation and supplementary materials;
· Verification of the terminology applicable to the final product;
· Cooperation with software developers in adaptation of localizable information; correction of mistakes;
· Comprehensive testing of the localized product with participation of programmers, designers, layout designers and translators;
· Preparation of technical and commercial documentation for the product.
It is obvious that the task is not easy and implies considerable responsibility assumed by the working team. High quality translation will be insufficient – localization involves taking care of a lot of tiny, but important things. You can rely on the Translit Agency when ordering localization/translation services: Our competence and commitment will help your company tap new markets.
The creation of a foreign language version of a website is similar to software localization; however, there are some distinctive features such as:
· The information that is presented to the user is only part of the textual content. Translation and adaptation are also required for captions and subtitles to illustrations, SEO-texts, pop-up prompts and even such components as menu buttons and items. If only a small portion of information is neglected in translation, the site loses both attractiveness and information value.
· Sometimes the website media content (audio- and video-materials) must be adapted.
· Many text elements must be thought over to fit the design. For example, if the menu item «Travel» is translated into Russian as «Путешествия», there is a 5 character difference in length. In this case, either the design and page layout should be changed or another word should be found for translation.
· In localization not only linguistic, but also cultural specific features of the country, which is a prospective consumer of the website, are of crucial importance. The most common example is the date format. «05/03/11» will be read in the USA as «the third of May», while in Russia it will be «the fifth of March». Nuances of this kind are numerous.
· To make the foreign language version of the site efficient and up-to-date, not only the core and static information (description of sections, etc.) should be translated, but also the updatable content (news, press releases, vacancies, etc.). Such linguistic updating is especially important for large web portals.
When you entrust localization of your software or networking product to professionals of the Translit Agency, you receive much more than a new language version. We give you confidence that you will find a common language with your new partners and customers!
Luca Ricoveri, head of the Branch of Enel Ingegneria e Innovazione S.p.A.