contributed by Isaiah Curtis and Sam Goldfarb, LUNA Summer Interns 2017

Localization addresses all types of issues that may initially be overlooked when having text or content translated. Localization ensures that things like colors, fonts, sizes, and graphics are accurately adapted for different target markets. Localization also finds solutions to differing societal codes and values. For instance, English-language websites, like MailChimp and Wufoo may make use of informal language and humor in an effort to establish a certain connection with potential clients. In a given target culture, however, this approach may be seen as inappropriate or unseemly. Localization services will appropriately adapt this content. Or if a source website is very indirect in describing their product or service, but the target culture calls for a more direct approach in such a situation, localizers again will make appropriate changes.

A multitude of problems can arise when one fails to localize or when localization is executed poorly. Take for example Proctor & Gamble’s localization blunder when they began selling Pampers diapers in Japan. The packaging depicted a typical piece of American lore: a stork carrying a baby. Unfortunately, this packaging generated quite a bit of confusion in Japan, where there is no association between storks and babies.

In addition to cultural content, localization deals with various instances of functional content—adapting things like date and time, addresses, telephone numbers, and measurements to correspond with a target audience’s expectations. There can be many other facets to and applications of localization, from tailoring marketing campaigns to best resonate with a particular foreign audience, to redesigning and reformatting one’s personal documents, like a driver’s license or birth certificate, to conform with the format and content expectations of a given target locale.

Watch for the third and final segment of LUNA’s Localization blog series soon. And, contact us today to inquire about how we can help you localize your content.