Translation, Localisation, or Globalisation?
Like most industries, the language services sector loves to make things more complicated than they should be.
If I asked you, do you know what Localisation is, would you know, what about Transcreation? Do they mean the same thing, and which one of these do you require to operate successfully in an international market?
Let us look at the language services industry’s most common concepts:
When preparing products or services for easy distribution and consumption across international markets, Internationalisation is the process used to take them from being suitable for your home market to being rolled out internationally. Usually, this process is executed before any translation. There are often product based requirements to ensure compliance with international standards and protocols, and these considerations need to be planned correctly.
Translation in its simplest form is the process of expressing text from one language into another language. For pure translation, the translated text is expressed verbatim, focusing on the grammar and syntax of the text. Depending upon the service provider or translation technology you use (and your requirements!), the translated text may or may not consider local cultural nuances and idioms in texts.
For example, “Easy-Peasy” is a common English idiom and translated incorrectly to Arabic, can be interpreted as “Easy Death”, instead of idiomatically and correctly as “Very Easy”.
The main goal of Localisation is to make the content or merchandise feel as if it has been created within the specific local market. If Localisation is executed successfully, the end consumer will be oblivious to the fact someone had localised the text instead of writing it locally.
A website that has been translated could very well feel like a local product. Still, small differences can ruin the experience, such as incorrectly formatted address or dates. Should it be DD/MM/YY or MM/DD/YY, is it a ZIP code, PIN code or Postal code?
A fully localised website will use a lot of translated text from the source language and introduce new content and concepts to ensure relevance in the local languages.
To ensure that all challenges that may arise when a company expands into new territories are addressed correctly, an extensive and strategic process of globalisation is implemented. This process encompasses research and analysis of the target market and local legal and business requirements captured. Translation and localisation processes are usually a small part of the overall globalisation process.
Creative translation is the easiest way to describe Transcreation. It is, in essence, a combination of translation and copywriting where the transcreator may change the translated source content in its entirety to communicate the correct message.
A transcreator won’t just translate the source text but will write new text in the translated language that will make the content serve its purpose better for local readers. For example, if the text was to be used as part of a marketing campaign, the transcreator may ensure that any use case examples for a product will still be valid locally.
This process is a good way of preserving the corporate messaging across different international markets for global brands.