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Misconceptions in Localization

Localization is about translation, true but is it just about translation? The answer is a stern NO. Localization is no more confined to the cliche word translation. Thanks to the advent of technology tedious localization process has, over a period of time, become more streamlined and structured. The process consumes a good amount of research and knowledge about the commonly used tools, techniques, software, technologies and file formats and translators are expected to equip themselves with the fundamental knowledge before plunging into the world of localization. More than anything else, localization is about absorbing knowledge- cultural, religious, social, food, places, tradition, heritage, habits, lifestyle etc. Anything that has to do something ‘even remotely’ inconspicuous to a new place holds importance in localization. After all, localization means transcending into an unknown territory and the best to way play safe, without hurting anyone’s sentiments, is to acquire as much knowledge as possible about the foraying territory.

No matter the efforts it takes to translate the text from one language to the other, most people casually dismiss a translator’s challenging as easy. In this article we have tried to bust a few myths and at the same time clear common misunderstandings that cloud the word translation and the overall localization process. Thus Myth vs Reality:


#1 Localization is an Easy Job

Translation, the key aspect of localization, comes across as an easy job. But it is in fact a mix of both art and science, which explains its critical nature.

#2 Translations by Experts need no Proofreading

Even if an expert translates content, it still needs to be proofread to ensure factual correction and fix grammatical mistakes. Thus, the statement content translated by an expert does not need proofreading is pure hogwash.

#3 Proofreaders & Editors not Required

Translations is not possible without the much-needed expertise of proofreader and editor. This in itself explains the step-by-step nature of translation and that it is a methodical process.

#4 Focus – Speed First, Accuracy Later

Translator should focus on speed first and then on accuracy is a myth. Translators may be fast or slow, depending on their skill sets, but all have to be factually correct at all times and thus focus on accuracy first and maybe speed later.

#5 Speed is Expensive

Localization is incomplete if translators are not equipped with necessary tools & techniques and proper knowledge about the usage of these tools & technologies throughout the process. These tools and techniques may be a little expensive but in the long run prove to be highly economical for the organizations by saving money and resources.

#6 Professionals, an Option

Localization is a structured process and thus requires qualified professionals to carry out the job. These professionals should have the fundamental knowledge about the socio-cultural realm of the territory, which comprises their delivery sphere. Thus having professionals on board the localization team is a must and not an option!

#7 Quantity not Quality Matters

Localization is not only about quantity it is also about the quality. If the final output fails the expectation of the client, that is an indication of the lack of quality. Thus the overall process is not only quantitative but qualitative as well. Quality is as important as quantity, or maybe even more!

#8 Second Language Specialists Fit the Bill

Not anyone who knows a second language can fit into the shoes of a localization specialist and a translator. Translators are professionals with years of knowledge and training with respect to translation.

#9 Not Challenging, No Deadlines, Easy Tasks

It sure is a time consuming process and various experts with their expertise pitch in at different levels until the final product is ready to be delivered to the clients. It is a time bound process and unlike who think otherwise, translators are restricted with research as well as deadline challenges.

#10 Software Code, What’s That?

Localization requires that the software code also be reviewed along with the translated text thus adding to the total value of the project cost.

Thus, there is little scope left for anyone to point and say that Localization is a simple process. May be it is, but then, that doesn’t make it any less complicated in terms of work-related challenges, time deadlines and pro-active research! The aim of this article is to clear the air about the myths and pre-conceived notions surrounding Localization.