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Marek Makosiej
January 16, 2023
11 min read

Things to Know When Choosing Localization Languages

different languages used in localization



If you are not a native French speaker, you will immediately understand what we have written, but a person who does not know French will surely stop reading after this sentence. Imagine you are a non-native speaker of French and you have no idea what a single French alphabet means, and there is nothing but French in this blog. Will you continue reading? Your response will be a counter-question as to why you bother wasting your time on a language you do not know or understand. You are not wrong. No one will bother to read an article or blog written in a foreign language.


When we review literature for our research or thesis, we come across many books and research articles that seem relevant to our topic but are not in English. Those are the moments when you wish those pages were in English. Even though Google's algorithms are very clever and intelligent, Google can tell from your search history which language you prefer. A message with a translation will then appear on your screen. The question is how accurate the translated version will be In a language you have no idea about and do not know what a single word means, it becomes difficult to trust the translated version. No matter how advanced the technology, machine learning can still contain errors or miss the essence of the native language.






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By the way, the phrase at the beginning of this article is French for "You can not sit there." I am not sure why I chose it, but I just wanted to illustrate that translation plays an important role in everything we read. We all speak different languages and are hardly familiar with other dialects that exist. We may be able to understand some parts of it, but not the whole dialect. The language and the dialect may seem the same, but there is a difference. Let us dig a little deeper to understand the difference between a language and a dialect.


Over the past 17 years, we have seen our clients create confusion about language and language versions, and we at ATL are always striving to assist our clients in every way possible. This article highlights the expertise we have gathered over the years.


Language Vs. Dialect in Localization


language and dialect are equally important in localization


Is there the same difference between language and dialect as there is between a rabbit and a hare? Is there a visible technical difference distinct enough to notice? These questions are not new to linguists who have written and translated various documents and books. As the famous linguist Max Weinreich says, "A language is a dialect that has an army and a navy." Looking at this statement, one might think that they are the same thing, but the difference is much deeper than this aphorism. The fact that linguists can easily distinguish between different language distinctions implies a difference between a language and a dialect worldwide.


English is indeed a second language worldwide, with the exception of a few countries that do not prefer it as a second language, such as Germany. If you are an avid reader, you have probably heard the famous name Haruki Murakami. He is one of the best Japanese authors, but we have all read his great work in English translation. Now the question arises whether the similes and the extraordinary, captivating words that drive your imagination to cloud nine come from the author or the translator. If we analyze this fact in depth, we might be biased as to whom we should give credit, the translator or Murakami himself. It is quite certain that Murakami knows English, but his forte is Japanese because he is a native speaker. A bestselling Japanese author, Murakami's work is available in fifty different languages around the globe.


Once published, a translation is a substitute text that has nothing in common with the source text. Often the book jacket will say "translation by translator x or translator y." Give Murakami's book to two different translators who speak the same language with a different dialect. You will hardly find any similarities between the translated versions. It may seem like a simple experiment, but it will give you enough evidence to see the difference between a dialect and a language. Many localization service providers have professional translators who are familiar with different languages so that the text is relevant to the people in the region.







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Even in the English language, there are seven different versions, each with a slight difference. We do not want to go too far, but there is no end to the debate when we compare American English with British English. When translating a written excerpt from a foreign language, you need to know which version your client wants. For example, if we want to use the word "lift" in British English, we might say, "The lift in the building takes me to the third floor." On the other hand, if we use the same word in American English, the sentence could replace the word lift with the word elevate or elevator. For example: elevate me to a higher building. The debate over which version is correct or makes more sense in writing is each unique.


When translating your content for a website or even a book, it is important to focus on the target region and its dialect. If a client wants a text in British English, make sure you have a native speaker or someone who knows the smallest details. A small difference in translation could upset your client. Also, when posting content on your blog, make sure you are targeting the right region and their native language.



How to Deal with Localization Languages the Right Way?


dealing with localization languages the right way


The English language alone has seven different versions, and you may be confused when you discover the small differences between them. Whether you are translating a document from English to another foreign language or the other way around. Make sure you get it right. The following tips might help you manage the process of translation.


Read Thoroughly


localization requires thorough reading


As a translator, before you start working on your text, you should first read it in its entirety. Reading the work will give you insight into the vocabulary or ideas expressed in it. If you are to translate Murakami's work into British English, you need to understand the meaning of the metaphors and other similes used in the book. You might say that it is not the words that enhance the quality of a text, but the metaphors used. However, it is the other way around. Metaphors and similes do indeed enhance the beauty of excerpts, but it is the words that weave together the beauty of a sentence.


Reading between the lines makes it easy for translators to get the gist of the entire document and develop the words and metaphors used in the source text with the same meaning. By reading the source text a few times, you can better understand what the author wants to say and "how" he wants to say it.


Grab All the Tools


proper handling of localized languages requires the right tools


No, we are not asking you to grab mechanical tools like a hammer or a screwdriver, but the translation tools. It may seem simple-minded, but even a good bilingual dictionary can serve you as a tool when it comes to translating a source text into a specific version. Fortunately, due to its medieval history, the English language is blessed with more Romance vocabulary than Romance languages like Spanish, French, or Italian themselves. The English language has its roots in the ancient Germanic language, which is partly close to German and Dutch.


When translating a source text, make sure you use the correct text or have the correct settings enabled. Having all grammatical tools and applications ready can improve the technical accuracy of the translated document. It is beneficial to have grammatical knowledge. With the right tools, you can expand your knowledge and perfect your translation skills.







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Choose the Right Words


choose the right words in the languages you localize your content into


One of the most common mistakes that many translators make is translating word-for-word. This practice has led to many comical renditions of the excerpt or a source text. They focus on the words instead of working out the meaning of a sentence. For example, if you are translating from French to English and the sentence is "Avoir le cafard", then that is a sentence that expresses the feeling of being "depressed" But if you focus on the literal translation, it is "Not having a cockroach in the house" Now imagine that you want to say I feel depressed. If you write this as "I feel like I do not have a cockroach in me", it will not only distort the essence but also give your document a funny look.


When translating a source text into a particular dialect of the language, it's important to focus on the meaning as a whole rather than translating each individual word. Many people say, "It's just a translation," but no one can imagine the effort a translator must go through to create an accurate and perfect version of the source text. Well, it's not just a translation, it's also a representation of the skills and expertise you have accumulated over the years to become known as a professional translator.


Read Up and Take Your Time to Truly Localize


be thorough and precise when localizing into another language


You may think that this can be an obstacle to a good translation, especially if you are working under time pressure. It is a solution. We can classify it under the adage "practice makes perfect", before you go into translator mode and reach the level of an expert, until then, take it slow and step by step. Whatever you translate, do not write just for the sake of translating. The average capacity of a translator is 2000 words per day. Reading and translating the source text is indeed a challenging task, but it becomes even more difficult if you have to revise the text over and over again. This not only spoils your relationship but can also cause your agency to lose potential clients.


So when you translate a text, do not be in a hurry. Even if it's a translation and it requires the same attention and time as writing a text from scratch, reread your work after the translation and analyze if it flows well. Read it as an author and find out if it needs any changes. This will save you the time and effort you might spend revising the same draft over and over again.







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Attention to Detail


localization demands attention to detail in many languages


When we read a book, we do not just skim it, we try to connect with what the author has written. When translating a document, make sure it does not feel like a corset. Many readers and buyers avoid such translated works that make them feel like a copy of a foreign language. When translating a language or a language version, paying attention to small details can be your salvation. For instance, there is a certain standard rule that might be applicable when writing in English, but the same rule might become null and void in a different language. If you understand the common grammatical practices, you can stick to the translation standards.


Do not freak out if you get your first draft wrong, but let your mistakes guide you. It may take you a little effort once or twice, but you'll get it right the third time. Remember what you did wrong and look for a solution to get it right. The more attention you pay to a language or its version, the better your skills will become.


Localization Means Local Languages and Cultures


localization is not only language but culture as well


Translating a language may seem easy, but when it comes to translating a source text, it requires more attention and effort than you can imagine. If you want to expand your business to another region, you need to find your way around the locals. Around 76% of customers prefer to store in their native language. Incorporating native language translation into your blog or business can reportedly increase your website traffic by 47%.


Translation plays an essential role in the number of visitors to your website, the organic traffic it generates, and its search engine optimization. With each target market and a new language and locale, these numbers grow. And it's the growth you're after, right? So, go and grow!