Cultural localization: giving your content the right appeal
The ability to transcend language and cultural boundaries is paramount for global communications and marketing. Translating and localizing software, a website, marketing or advertising material is more than the mere transposition of words and content originally designed for a specific market or context from one language to another. They must be redesigned for the linguistic and cultural context of the target market, considering its social and communicative specificities and treading carefully to avoid any cultural misunderstandings. Translating therefore bridges the gap between different cultures, alluding to tacit knowledge and conveying nuance, intention, attitudes and beliefs. When we speak of cultural localization we mean all the editing of a text so end users receive the message exactly as it was intended, with all the evocative force of the original version, so that the translation appears to have originated in the target language and culture. Landoor’s translators, transcreators and copywriters are communication professionals capable of recognizing, interpreting, conveying and creating connections between people. They are well aware of the need for the skilled cultural localization of copy, to convey the original message with the right words, while also carefully modulating the style and tone, so they adhere as closely as possible to the norms and mores, sensitivities and idiosyncrasies of those who speak the target language or live in the target country. Irrespective of the source and target languages in which we work, at Landoor, our professionals are world class. In addition to having completed specific courses of study, their intellectual openness and ongoing cultural, social and technical training and experience give them with the skills they need in both the source and target languages and cultures. Here are a few examples of the forms and conventions that require editing:
- Dates and times;
- Punctuation and numbers;
- Measurements (temperature, length, volume, weight and liquids);
- Currency for payments and the calculation of local taxes;
- Telephone numbers;
- Formulation of legal information;
- Instructions and warnings, nutritional values, chemical composition of pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals;
- How the reader is referred to (formally, informally or as a group? Should the imperative or gerund be used in a call to action?).
For localization in languages with non-Latin alphabets, translators must often work alongside developers to adjust icons and symbols, images and layouts. For example, in languages read from right to left (Arabic and Hebrew), the sequence of buttons, icons and images is inverted. In addition to these formal aspects, the ideal transposition of texts often demands a new style and tone that feel more natural and in tune with the local culture. Certain phrases are frequently replaced with the equivalent local expressions, like:
- Figures of speech;
- Plays on words;
- Common sayings;
- Metatextual, cultural, social and historical references.
Whenever the target audience perceives a disconnect with their cultural heritage, values, beliefs or lifestyle, the message may have a negative impact. Take, for instance, the symbolism of colors – which have widely disparate connotations across different cultures – and social taboos, which, if violated, could distort the message and substantially damage the brand’s reputation. Specifically, in marketing and advertising, two particularly crucial aspects when launching a product on the foreign market are:
- Product name;
- Its slogan.
Both choices require in-depth research on the target market and a cultural check with a focus group to avoid choosing name or slogan that would be ridiculous and could backfire on the company. Often, a handful of words requires the most reflection and the presentation of various proposals until the perfect solution is found, the one that has the right ring to it in the target language. The work of Landoor’s transcreators is essential in these areas. Our carefully vetted team of creative translators specialized in their respective sectors can translate a text, reworking it or, for more complex projects, rewriting it completely, without changing the client’s emotional intent or style preferences as specified in the client’s style guides, but tailoring the content to fit the characteristics of the target culture and market. Their objective is to fall into sync with the audience, tapping into what evokes their emotions or piques their curiosity, what persuades them to buy a product or to act. Culture-oriented localization is a necessary step in the translation process for:
- brochures, flyers and other marketing material
- advertising campaigns (for print, TV, radio and the web)
- press releases and press kits
- e-commerce and marketplaces
- tour guides
- software and apps
- cookbooks and recipe books
- packaging and labels
- presentations and slideshows
- videoclips and informational or promotional multimedia content
- video games
Landoor’s transcreators enhance translations with the creative adaptation of content and images to reflect the audience’s cultural context, so that the message in the target language maintains the same communicative force and triggers the same emotions as it does in the original language.
Landoor provides clients with talented, creative strategic copywriters to prepare original copy in the requested language, based on the client’s guidelines and in line with with the target culture on all of the most modern communication channels: websites, blogs, social networks, emails, newsletters, digital storytelling and more.
Our copyeditors rework the language and style of an existing text to give it the desired slant and tone (for example, promotional and advertising copy). Landoor relies on a team of specialized editors who fully understand the client’s needs and the specificities of the target culture and market and can therefore maintain the style and intent of the original message.