Hitting The Right Notes With Localization

By Cloudwords 09/03/2015

Cloudwords-localization-duckmoneyYour company is expanding and you will soon be a proud global presence. You’re getting ready to sing your song to the world: you’ve researched global markets, chosen territories that are likeliest to increase revenue, and all of your materials have been translated perfectly.

Time to press play?

Not so fast: translation is only one part of this tune.

“Perfect” translation is relative. While many would consider a literal translation to be the goal, often a literal translation will not include local subtleties, leading your perfectly constructed message to hit the wrong note.

Surprisingly, in the context of translation, literal does not equal perfect. What’s missing from this composition? Localization.

Connotations of words change by region, generation, current events, and so many other factors. By employing localization, you’re ensuring that your message will be pitch perfect for each region and culture the moment you hit a new global market.

Perhaps the best example of perfect translation to imperfect execution is the local idiom. There’s an old Portuguese idiom that translates literally to “Pay the duck.” What could be more appropriate for a bank going global with a duck as part of its branding? Enter localization. The discovery of the idiom’s true meaning alters the message entirely: “To take the blame for something you did not do.” The translation is perfect, but the band is playing the wrong song entirely.

By localizing content, the translation and the meaning will come through, specifically tailored to the culture, trends, and targeted audience in each city in which you’re building a presence. Now your message will come across accurately, and you’ll be singing to the choir.