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What is Localisation?

23rd July 2020
Reading time 4 min
What is Localisation

Localisation is similar to transcreation in that it adapts content to resonate with a market’s culture, language and other nuances. The main goal of localisation is to allow the audience to interact with content that is familiar to them. Like transcreation, these services are particularly used by marketing and advertising industries especially within software, gaming and entertainment.

”To create effective localisation communications, localisation objectives should be included in campaigns strategies from the very beginning.”

Translation services ensure that the main message in the source language is communicated fully. However, translation and localisation differ because localisation takes into account – not only the language – but all regional elements that give the target audience an organic experience.

To create effective localisation communications, localisation objectives should be included in campaigns strategies from the very beginning. This way, websites, apps and products will be planned and built in a way that supports content in new locations and languages. This will also save on localisation costs in the long run. Even when products are not internalised, localisation can still be applied, but will incur more costs and longer development. It is time-consuming and takes a lot of resources, but will reduce costs once the materials are distributed to different markets.

It is vital for companies to budget localisation costs in reaching new audiences. However, the localisation and distribution of marketing assets in local markets are very valuable in creating demand. Therefore, any multilingual touchpoint, such as landing pages, emails, blogs, whitepapers, news and web content should all be localised. All should consider the region’s language, cultures, idioms, colours and images, addresses, time, numerals, dates, etc. As language and culture become more complex, the price becomes higher.

Localisation process

  1. Agency receives a brief and a final master copy from the client.
  2. Agency analyses the build system (game, site, app etc.).
  3. Debrief takes place to align agency-client expectations and ways of working.
  4. Agency establishes a working process, provides timings and costs.
  5. Content translation is conducted, proofread and signed off by the client.
  6. Approved translation is integrated into the build system.
  7. In-content review is conducted.
  8. Quality check and bug fixing takes place.
  9. Clients' revisions take place in-situ and any amendments are incorporated.
  10. Final site build is QC'ed by a native speaking project manager.
  11. Final client's sign-off in the environment.

When budgeting for localisation, marketers should employ a localisation supplier who can help with technical audits. Localisation costs are dependent upon the languages needed, content, formats, graphics that must be adapted and many other services.

A brand’s marketing assets in their source language should have a distinct “voice”, which should be as apparent in any language. So, creating style guidelines for marketers and content creators to follow is vital in keeping brand consistency. In addition to setting quality and content requirements, guidelines will help to create a consistent tone on a global scale. Elements, such as keywords, acronyms and abbreviations should be used consistently no matter the market. In addition, reference materials, such as glossaries or indexes can help content creators follow the style and tone of the content.

Isn't Transcreation just Localisation?

Localisation is a translation that incorporates a region’s language and culture, so it is indeed, quite similar to transcreation. However, there are some crucial differences:

  • Transcreation copy is creative. Texts that are localised can be creative as well, however, the copy should stay as close to the original as possible. Transcreated copy may need to divert from the original copy for it to resonate more accurately with the local audiences.

  • Transcreation copy is more emotional. The audience should feel the spirit of the text, which may or may not occur in localisation copy.

  • Transcreation and localisation content is different. Because transcreation deals with creativity and emotion, it works better with specific types of content and less with others. Transcreation is great for copy involving brand names, slogans, and social media. Localisation, on the other hand, works well with content, such as video games, websites and applications. For example, localisation should be applied for the call-to-action, “Enter your name and surname”. This phrase must be localised according to different regions because some countries write names differently. However, no emotion or creativity is necessary, and therefore, does not need transcreation services.

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