Localisation and its role in the global market

9th Sep 2013

The tremendous impact that the advent of technology has had on society is evident on the emergence of the ideas of globalisation and uniformity among cultures. Even though technology unites people from all over the world, it cannot be denied that the aspects of diversification and cultural identity are still powerful. In this respect, the role of translation in sustaining diversity is rather vital, since a wider range of texts and cultural experiences is introduced to any individual. Thus, localisation as a linguistic, technical and cultural adaptation process has evolved on the grounds of the need for promoting global products or services into local markets which are distinguished by their own cultural identity.

Software localisation, as one of the most widespread types of content adaptation, has been developed on the basis of an increase in the demand of globally distributed products addressing different locales and cultures. It is, therefore, considered as an integral part of a wider chain of concepts expressed with the acronym term ‘GILT’ that is analysed into Globalisation, Internationalisation, Localisation and Translation. It could be assumed that these terms constitute the distinct layers of a pyramid at the bottom of which lies the concept of globalisation, whereas localisation is placed at the highest level. Translation as an actual process is a key aspect in each one of these three concepts. While globalisation constitutes the broader term according to which a product, website or company is adapted or modified in order to be provided to international markets, the very process of designing and developing a product in such a way so that it can be localised for different locales or countries is demonstrated on the concept of internationalisation. These terms are further analysed by the Common Sense Advisory (2011). As far as localisation is concerned, it should be noted that a localised product or text is part of a material distribution process that starts in one locale or country and is then circulated to many others.

According to the above mentioned, the localisation of a product generally presupposes its distribution to the market, since the need for a product or text to be moved and transferred into other cultures or locales is the one upon which its localisation and translation is dependent. This prerequisite stage of distribution seems to be in line with the internationalisation process that involves the generalisation of a product or text by eliminating its culture-specific elements, so that potential problems in its future distributions to other locales can be minimised. With regard to software applications, internationalisation is rather significant as it aims at standardising a product before it is released into the international market.

With regard to the translation of marketing materials including adverts, brochures or websites, the term ‘transcreation’ is the one that is mainly used to refer to the cultural adaptation and transformation of a message within written content, imagery and design. The importance of all the above processes lies on the fact that they satisfy the needs of the target audiences rendering the whole translation and adaptation process highly successful.

We regularly help clients including Leo Burnett and M&C Saatchi with transcreation of their marketing campaigns, and have helped improve both the quality and the delivery times of their translated materials. For more information, on how Pearl can help you with your translation requirements, please call us on 020 7253 7700 or email sales@pearllinguistics.com.

Maria Perdiki,Interpreting Booking Coordinator



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