Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What Is Localization?

Localization, also referred to as the numeronym L10N ("L", followed by ten more letters, and then "N"), is a higher level translation process of adapting an application, product, software or service to a new language and culture. 

Localization is utilized in the culturally adaptive translation of everything from board games and books to software and websites.  From global dissemination to a granular focus on individual language and culture use where several different dialects are spoken within the same geographic region Localization, addresses all of the non-textual components translation.  Localization is cognizant of cultural customs and sensitivities that, if not addressed, might cause an organization to lose business due to what can be perceived as insensitivities or even offensive elements in the target market translation.

For example, an eLearning application developer is seeking to translate their application from English to Chinese and culture the application specifically to the Shanghai region.  The Localization process manages that translation and accounts for the correct translations, fonts, textual contraction/expansion, audio, and styling the UI format to that specific regions cultural requirements.
English e-Learning Course
Chinese e-Learning Course
Beyond idiomatic textual translation, Localization, also incorporates currency, gender roles, geographic examples, local color/format sensitivities, local holidays, product or service names and time zones.  A completed localization project provides a product or service that appears to have been developed in the local target culture.