In this series on why cultural localization is important for business, we’ll open with French and why a localized marketing strategy is needed based on where a language is spoken.
As the world becomes more and more interconnected through technology and travel, it is becoming essential for business platforms to diversify within the global market to stay relevant and competitive. This has increased demand for translation and localization services as it has become increasingly essential for international business on websites, eLearning platforms, and various eCommerce services.
Cultural localization is catering a product or platform for a specific market or region, which factors in the local language and its cultural diversities, beliefs, values, experiences, and social constructs. Why is this important? When culture is considered for localization strategies, people show more interest in the content or product. Further, cultural considerations create relatable products, increasing positive perceptions of the product and its sales.
To show you how important cultural localization is, here’s a look at the French language and how a one-size fits all approach doesn’t work for every region it’s spoken in.
There are approximately 80 million native French speakers worldwide, and it is the official language of 29 countries. French is highly regarded as one of the most important business languages as it is one of the official languages of the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, and more. It’s also a language renowned for its history and culture; in fact, the word ‘culture’ is derived from French.
French originated in Gaul, now part of France and Belgium, after the Romans took over. The Germanic invasions also had a large influence on the language, and by the 9th century, French was well established as its own distinct language.
While French variants in different countries are generally well understood by any French speaker, there are still many nuances depending on where it is spoken.
In 1534, Jacques Cartier left to find an expedition route to China and found himself in the new world, modern east coast Canada. As French settlers expanded in the area, the French language became the native language of its growing community.
Canadians continued to speak French after Canada was ceded to the British in 1763. As Canadian French developed in isolation from the rest of Europe, it created its distinct cultural variant.
Due to its isolation from Europe, Canadian French has managed to retain French verbs, expressions, and accents that date back to 17th and 18th century France.
After France ceded Canada to Britain in 1763, the French-speaking community became more isolated, allowing certain phonetic sounds from the elite French-speaking classes to remain.
As the French-speaking parts of Canada are near the English-speaking parts of Canada and the United States, they adopt more words from the English language. Further, some words are even adopted from the indigenous population of Canada, such as carcajou (wolverine) and atoca (cranberry).
Canadian French uses more informal means of address. The informal tu (you) is used more often than the formal vous.
Catholicism is the most practised religion in the French-speaking regions of Canada, whereas France is more secular.
French is now the lingua franca of around 7.4 million Canadians, making up nearly 22% of the country’s population, as well as being one of the two official languages in the country. In the province of Quebec, 95% of the population uses French as their first or second language. Differences in slang, idioms, and religious beliefs are some of the biggest differences between these French variants. They are essential considerations when creating a localized strategy for your business.
Canada isn’t the only country deeply influenced by the French. After the colonization of Africa and even after the French withdrew from many of the African nations, the language stayed and is often spoken alongside many of the indigenous languages. 44% of French spoken today comes from sub-Saharan Africa, with estimates that by 2050, 85% of the continent will speak the language.
French is no longer just the language of France, and this evolution of the language is something to pay attention to when forming a good localization strategy.
Blunders in cultural localization can ruin any localization strategy. For example, if you were promoting an eCommerce business that sells items for children, the word gosses in France is a playful word for child; however, in Canadian French, the word means testicles! This would be a serious, albeit hilarious, mistake in any marketing strategy. The same goes if you wanted to reach the market in France but used informal tones or Canadian idioms and slang in your approach; it would make your strategy appear tone-deaf and make your product less attractive to the local market in France. While these may appear as subtleties, it’s this type of attention to culture that can make or break a localization strategy.
Hire marketing, translation and localization specialists to create a localization strategy that ensures quality translation that involves the appropriate cultural research needed to create a successful marketing strategy.
Consider idioms, jokes, and sayings specific to the region’s language.
Consider the context of the culture when selecting images for products for an eCommerce platform or eLearning course.
Cultural localization and creating a good localization strategy may feel overwhelming if you’re looking to enter a new global market, but it doesn’t have to be!
Into23 specialises in translation and localization in all major global languages offering global language solutions for your business. All we need is a website or file to get you started with a free quote. Contact us today for all your global quality translation needs.
The process of translation may seem like a mere exchange of words and phrases from one language to another but as any quality freelance translator will tell you, there is a lot more to it than that. A good translator will use a variety of translation techniques and methods depending on the language it’s being translated into and the target market it’s aiming to reach.
In history, the translation of writing goes back as far as the Mesopotamian era and is believed to have started with the epic Sumerian poem, The Gilgamesh, which was translated into a variety of Asian languages around the second millennium BC. The need for translation began to increase with the development of religious texts and theories. The word translation is derived from a Latin term that means “to bring or carry across”. The word metaphrasis in Ancient Greek, which means “to speak across” created the word metaphrase which was the first term for a “word-to-word” translation. As translation and translation studies became more common, defined techniques and methods took form.
J.P. Vinay and J.Darbelnet were pioneers of translation studies as they created and published formalised translation procedures in 1958 with their book titled, Comparative Stylistics of French and English: A Methodology for Translation. It was one of the first times translation methods had been categorised and since it has become the basis of technique for modern multilingual translation services.
While a translation method can be applied to an entire translated text, translation techniques and types of translation vary based on what elements will be translated. Vinay and Darbelnet detailed seven different techniques within two methods of translation.
This method is used when similar concepts and structures of the source language can be used in the translated language. Languages need to be similar in a variety of ways for these techniques to work as these types of translation techniques are not able to capture a lot of nuances found in language.
Borrowing examples: sombrero, café, kimono, hamburger, kimchi
Calque examples: gratte-ciel in French is a calque of ‘skyscraper’. An ‘Adam’s apple’ is calque of the French phase pomme d’Adam. Beer garden is a calque of the German biergarten.
This method is most often used when languages and cultures are substantially different, such as English to Chinese translation. This method will usually change the structural or conceptual elements of the text to preserve its meaning.
Transposition example: Rendering a French noun with an English verb, Je l’ai vu avant la rentrée can be directly translated to English as “I saw her before school started”, this changes the noun la rentrée into a verb.
Modulation examples: Lebensgefahr in German means danger to life, whereas in English we would say “danger of death”. A literal translation of this phrase from English to German would sound odd and confusing to a German person. Another example is how French speakers refer to the top floor of a building as dernier étage which translates as “last stage” in English. A literal translation of this phrase from French to English would baffle many prospective English apartment buyers and renters.
Equivalence/reformulation examples: The English phrase “It’s pouring,” which refers to a downpour of rain doesn’t translate into German but the meaning can be altered to give the same effect, es regnet in Strömen (It rains in streams).
Adaptive examples: Baseball or NFL football in the US 🡪Football in England
Out of these basic and common techniques, how do you know what translation tools, translation techniques or methods are the best for your business or localization strategy? Every business, strategy and approach is different so the best way to get a return on your investment is to use certified translation services. Quality translators will assess your documents, software, website, eLearning platform or eCommerce software to ensure that your business successfully reaches your target market and audience.
Into23 offers high quality translation services in any language your business needs. Contact us today for a free quote so we can help your business enter new global markets and enterprises.
Spanish is the world’s second most spoken native language and the official language of 21 countries. If you’re looking to crack into the Spanish market, here are some factors to consider for your localized marketing strategy.
Spoken by 559 million people worldwide, Spanish ranks as one of the most important business languages. It’s a language that is becoming increasingly globalised as it is commonly regarded as the most understood language in the western hemisphere next to English.
With today’s global market, the use of Spanish online has risen by 800%. From eCommerce services to website localization, if you’re looking to enter the Spanish market, there are specific factors that need to be considered based on the Spanish region you’re looking to enter.
Like other languages that developed in Europe, the Spanish language emerged as a dialect of spoken Latin in the Iberian Peninsula which is where modern-day Spain and Portugal are now located. The language developed further when the Arab armies invaded the peninsula in 711.
The invasion brought with it Arabic art, culture, and architecture which had a strong influence on the area and language. Arabic began to mix with the old Spanish which resulted in the Spanish language that we know today. Spain expelled the Arabs in 1492 but the Spanish language managed to retain some 8,000 Arabic words. Words like la almendra (almond) or la almohada (pillow) have come from the Arabic language.
After the Arabs left in 1492, the Spaniards started colonizing which is how the language came to the Americas. The first European settlements in the US were established by Spain in what is now modern-day Florida which is why Spanish was the historical language of many of the southern States during that time. With the annexation of these states, the main language eventually changed to English but Spanish is still used and spoken widely even in these areas today.
The Spanish Empire also expanded its colonization to other places such as the Philippines in 1521. The Spanish controlled the island until 1898. Today while only 0.5% of people in the Philippines speak Spanish, it is still home to the most number of Spanish speakers in Asia.
Today, the Spanish language is maintained and safeguarded at The Royal Spanish Academy located in Madrid. The academy started in the 18th century and helped to create dictionaries and grammar books that have since been adopted and used by other Spanish-speaking countries. The academy invented the use of the inverted question and exclamation marks that are specific to the Spanish language as well as the letter ñ.
European Spanish is centred in Spain while Latin American Spanish speakers are located in the lower part of North America, Central, and South America. In Latin America, the Spanish language is just called español, since the language itself was brought over by colonisers.
In Spain, however, the language is called castellano, which refers to the Castile province in Spain where the language is believed to have originated. Another reason why Spanish is called castellano in Spain is that there are other Spanish dialects within Spain such as Catalan, Galician, and Basque.
If you’re creating a localization strategy in one or more of these Spanish speaking areas it’s important to note that there will be regional and cultural language distinctions. Here are just a few important aspects to consider.
The pronouns vosotros and vosotras (you) are only used in Spain, making this one of the key differences between Spain and Latin America. Vosotros is an informal means of address whereas ustedes would be used professionally or formally in Spain. Since vosotros doesn’t exist in Latin American Spanish, ustedes is used in both formal and informal means of address.
If you’re looking to create a formal business presence in Spain this is an important distinction as if you use the incorrect pronouns on, say, your website localization, your business platform may not be taken seriously.
Like vosotros in Spain, the pronoun vos (your) is used in Argentina, Paraguay and Uraguay instead of tú.
Likely due to the influences of surrounding European languages, Spaniards use past tense differently than Latin Americans. In Spain, you’re more likely to hear about a completed action using the present perfect tense, whereas in Latin America they are more likely to use the simple past, which is similar to English.
|pen||bolígrafo or boli||pluma or lapicera|
|car||coche||carro or auto|
The pronunciation of the Z and C (before I or E) is different between the two Spanish-speaking regions. In Spain, these letters are pronounced with a “th” sound while in Latin America, an “s” sound.
In parts of Argentina and Uruguay, the double LL and Y sounds are pronounced like an English “sh” sound while Spaniards would pronounce them with a “y” sound.
Further, there are also differences in the way that people speak depending on the region. Argentinians are said to have a sing-song type of accent while Colombians have a neutral sounding accent.
As this article details, there are a variety of differences within the Spanish language based on where it is spoken. A good localization strategy will understand its target audience and know what pronouns, tone, and vocabulary to use when marketing.
Since 21 different countries speak Spanish, if you’re a company that is looking to break into a few of them, you could take a different localization approach by using what’s called neutral Spanish. Every country that speaks Spanish will have its own cultural nuances and differences so to help ease the localization process, many companies use neutral Spanish in their strategies.
Neutral Spanish, or standard or international Spanish as its sometimes referred to, is the process of using terms and vocabulary that are universally understood by all Spanish speakers.
This process would include avoiding idioms that might be specific to one region and not another or words that aren’t specifically used in day-to-day speech but are appropriate enough for marketing purposes and general understanding.
Neutral Spanish might be appropriate for your business if you have a high amount of technical content that needs translation or if you’re just getting started and are looking for a cost-effective translation solution.
The use of localization and translation services is a key factor of success for any marketing strategy. A localization agency can help you determine what approach you should take when entering the Spanish market, if specific transcreation or localization is necessary, or if a neutral Spanish approach would better suit your business needs.
Into23 offers localization and translation services from websites to eLearning platforms and more. Our quality translation and advertising transcreation specialists can help you reach any Spanish market and localize your business to get the best return on your investments. Contact into23 today to find out more.
Chinese is one of the most important business languages. It is second only to English in terms of being the most spoken, so here are a few important things to know while creating your localization strategy.
With a large population and a growing number of middle-class consumers, the Chinese market has been a new hotspot for businesses. The Chinese market can be a successful market for your business if it’s done right. It’s easier than ever to crack this market with the growth of technology, online shopping, eCommerce translation services, and eLearning platforms. However, there are some major points to consider if you want to localize for a Chinese area or region, as there are many pitfalls when localizing to Chinese.
Chinese is an old and diverse language. In mainland China alone, around 70 million people belong to 55 different minority groups, each with their dialect and some that don’t even have a distinguishable written form. However, with the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, Mandarin was chosen as the official language of the country. Today, more than 70% of the Chinese population speaks Mandarin.
Written Traditional Chinese is around 6000 years old and is the oldest written language in the world. Cantonese speakers generally still use these characters, as do Mandarin speakers in Taiwan. Mandarin speakers in China use Simplified Chinese characters. Simplified characters have been around significantly less than their traditional counterpart as they were formalized at the beginning of the People’s Republic of China. The People’s Republic of China was formed in 1949, and at the time, the majority of Chinese could not read or write. To improve literacy, Mao Zedong initiated a new system of Simplified Chinese, simplifying around 2000 Chinese characters by reducing the number of strokes used for each character. Simplified Chinese was first used in 1956.
While there are various spoken dialects of Chinese, these are the two major forms of writing. This is handy as even if the spoken dialect is different, Chinese can generally communicate through writing.
Seven major dialects are used in China and its Special Administrative Regions (SARs). To reach the Chinese market with your business, you need to know where your target market is and what Chinese form is used there.
|Mandarin (Putonghua)||Most of mainland China, Taiwan, Macau|
|Cantonese/Yue||Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou (Canton), and Wuzhou.|
|Min||Fujian province and parts of Guangdong, Zhejiang, Hainan, and Taiwan|
|Wu||Zhejiang province, Shanghai, southern Jiangsu province, parts of Anhui and Jiangxi provinces.|
|Xiang||Most of the Hunan province, the counties of Quanzhou, Guanyang, Ziyuan, and Xing’an, northeastern Guangxi province.|
|Hakka||Northeastern Guangdong, adjoining regions of Fujian, Jiangxi, Southern Hunan, and the older generations of Hong Kongers in the New Territories. In Taiwan, Hakka is spoken by some in the Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli parts of the country.|
All of this variation within the Chinese language necessitates using the best Chinese translation services company to guarantee that sufficient research is done to develop a translation and localization plan that matches your strategy for entering this lucrative market.
Like any good localization strategy, you need to know your target audience, its culture, its language, and the things your target market values. You’ll need to consider how your brand voice and whether this will resonate with a Chinese audience. Can you directly translate your brand content, or will you need to consider a more creative translation, a transcreation, to convey your brand voice? As China is diverse, with differences across the regions, high-quality translation services can help you achieve your marketing strategy. An experienced translation agency can help you avoid cultural mishaps and translation errors.
Learn from the companies who have attempted and accessed the market already. Localizing in China is challenging, and even some of the biggest names have failed after not performing thorough market research. Learning from what has worked with brands that are similar to yours can help narrow your research and expedite your localization strategy.
Mainland China uses various social media and eCommerce platforms that are not used or are less popular in other countries. Baidu is the search engine used by most people, with platforms such as WeChat for social media and eCommerce payments. Other social media platforms include Qzone, Renren and P1. In Hong Kong, western social media platforms are popular, and a variety of eCommerce platforms, from the Octopus card to PayMe, are used to pay for products online.
It should be apparent by now the importance of localization and translation services when expanding your business globally, especially into Chinese markets. Navigating any new market is challenging, so take the guesswork out of your localization strategy and get the assistance of translation and localization experts.
Into23 is a translation agency in Hong Kong offering localization and translation services. We are experts in Asian languages. Reach out to Into23 today to discuss your business localization strategy to set yourself up for success in the Chinese markets.
When it comes to eLearning localization here’s what you need to know to get it right.
eLearning has become an important part of many people’s lives, especially since the pandemic. eLearning platforms have become increasingly popular as a means of acquiring new skills, knowledge, and certifications from anywhere in the world.
This global appeal means that if you want to make your eLearning platform international, certain factors need to be considered when translating and converting your courses successfully into other languages.
eLearning localization is more than just a direct translation of words, it’s about transforming your courses and platform so that everything about it suits your target audience in terms of their language, social constructs, and culture.
eLearning localization helps bridge cultural differences in your courses while helping students acquire and retain knowledge more efficiently and effectively.
Unlike document translation, there is a lot to consider when localizing your eLearning platform. Here are some major aspects that should be addressed,
Often an afterthought, the need for localization should be identified and planned right from the creation stages as pre-planning makes the localization process run a lot more smoothly.
When creating your eLearning courses, here are a few ways to make them more localization-friendly,
It is essential to know the audience you are seeking to reach in every area that you want to localize in. Researching is required to learn about a region’s language nuances, cultural preferences, tone and even spelling variations. This can affect everything from colour and image choices, your selection of eLearning voice-overs, and how you approach culturally sensitive topics. Hiring eLearning localization services is an easy way to ensure you nail this step.
As each language is unique, one of the major features you need to pay attention to when localizing is the expansion and contraction that occurs when transcribing certain languages. This is important because it can affect the general layout of your course and its graphical elements.
This is especially important when translating Chinese Mandarin to English as text may contract by up to 20-50%! The opposite happens when, say, you want to translate from German to English the text expands anywhere from 10-30%. If you have audio and video content these issues also apply. So be sure to consider this when putting together your courses.
While some symbols and images are universally understood some may need to be reworked for successful media localization. Items that often get missed include navigation buttons, speech bubbles, and progress bars, animations, and colour selections. Take a look at the colour white, for example, and how differently it is viewed depending on the culture. In the West, the colour white can signify purity and cleanliness but in many Asian countries, the colour white can be associated with death and bad omens. These seemingly small aspects can be the defining features that draw the line between a successfully localized eLearning platform and one that is not.
eLearning translation is sometimes the easiest part of a localization strategy but one of the defining features of localization is that it needs to be all-encompassing to reach the native audience of an area. Design features and choices need to be considered when building eLearning courses. For example, say your original course video was created for the UK market and you’ve translated all the text and audio content for the Latin American market, however, the video graphics remain unchanged. Say in the video a man snaps his fingers as he recollects something.
If you plan to deliver this content in Latin America you might end up with a few confused learners as the gesture of snapping one’s fingers in Latin America is a way of asking someone to hurry up.
Design features also include the user interface and the choice of colours and fonts as previously mentioned. Failure to consider these items will lead to ineffective and easily misinterpreted course content.
If you want things to move fast and smoothly in the translation process, be sure that all of your eLearning content is in appropriate editing formats and source files. This includes videos, images, audio, presentations etc. This helps avoid the need to start anything from scratch which saves not only time but also money.
If each of these steps feels overwhelming, it’s because you need the best translation services company for a partner that can walk you through this process. Don’t sell your elearning translation content short, get help from qualified localization companies, like Into23.
Notarized and certified translation services are some of the most requested services among translation companies.
These two different types of translation are often confused with one another and are, at times, requested when they’re not needed. While they share some similarities, there are differences between these two types of translation and in the way in which they are used.
If you are a business that has begun to expand globally and are putting together a marketing strategy, it’s not always easy to know which of these services you’ll need. So what are the differences between a notarized and certified translation and in what instances are they required?
Certified translation refers to translations that are done and signed by a sworn translator. The purpose of certified translation is to prove that the document has been translated correctly and is of the highest quality. Certified translations focus on the quality of the translation and are meant to ensure that it meets the highest-quality translation standards. Further, the translator is held liable for the translation and information presented in the document.
A notary has authorisation from the government to authenticate and oversee specific legal documentation. Notarization proves that a document meets a set of standards and that it abides by a law or regulation.
A notarized translated document focuses less on high-quality translation accuracy and more on meeting the legal standards and requirements of an institution or legal system.
Where things tend to get confusing between the two is that both certified and notarized documents have legal connotations to them in that the translator or the notary is liable to documents they are working with. The biggest difference between the two is that a notarized document doesn’t have the same demand on translation quality.
A certified legal translator needs to have a professional degree that majors in translation and they usually complete tests that prove their capacities as a translator and allow them to be part of formalized unions and groups to ensure consistent high- quality translation.
This step is not required in notarization. When a document becomes notarized, it has often gone through a certified translation already and the notarization process is the additional step in ensuring that the document meets certain requirements.
When the document is handed over to be notarized, a public notary isn’t looking for its translation accuracy but rather that it meets a set of legal requirements and that the person that did the translation is accountable for the information that is contained in it.
Notarizing certifies the document or certificate itself, rather than the translation. Certified legal translators often sign an affidavit that is sworn in the presence of the notary which will contain the notary’s seal and signature. So, think of notarization as an additional legal authentication process.
Legal documents are the most common types of documents requiring certified translation services. Here are a few common examples,
They usually complete tests that demonstrate their capability as a translator and enable them to join formalized unions and groups to ensure consistent high-quality translations.The translator will then sign and stamp the documents, provide an official statement verifying its accuracy and provide credentials attesting to their skill and quality.
When it comes to a notarized document, which performed, the translation is not important, what is important is that it meets a set of legal requirements which is all a notary will check for. The most commonly notarized items are usually on education-based documents and related administrative documents.
For example, if you have qualifications that were acquired in another country and are in one language and you need to provide these documents to another education facility in a different language. Notarizing these documents proves that the education credentials from one country translate to meet the same standards in another.
While having certified translation is essential for sensitive information and legal documents, these services also come at a different cost. While it’s important to employ a good translation agency for your translation and localization strategy, not everything needs to be officially certified. Examples of items a translation company can localize and translate that don’t necessarily need to be certified,
While it is important that all of these items be translated properly, especially if you’re localizing, they are not legally imperative materials that require certification.
When it comes to business documentation and translation, it’s best left to language service providers and professionals. A quality translation company can help you discern what you need to have certified or notarized and more.
Certified translation services can offer the assurance needed for sensitive legal documents that require high quality translation and will meet the standards for any regulatory body and be ready for notarization if required.
At Into23, we have a team of certified legal translators here to help your business thrive and meet the highest standards of translation. With all languages covered, let us become your language service provider and help your business succeed globally.