Localized translations – act of communication

2016 04 18 10:08

Mass globalization, penetration of information technologies into all spheres of life and falling borders among countries have opened doors to the business sector to the international market. Still, the reality is that some companies or organizations succeed to enroot deeply in a foreign country while others fail.

According to scientists, there exist really many reasons why one or another company fails: a poorly chosen marketing strategy, underestimated opportunities and risk, unsuitable communication, etc.

One of the most famous researchers of intercultural communication George Barnett has noticed that some companies aiming to anchor in the international market step to it like conquerors who do not doubt that the product or services offered by them will be liked by potential clients, partners and investors.

Nonetheless, no matter how innovative and useful the product is, such tactics is doomed to failure. In the times of constantly changing market, the most important is not to place business on a pedestal but to localize it.

What is localization and why are localized translations needed?

The term of localization is presently very popular in the fields of commerce, economics, information technologies and translations; however, localization and localized translations are a rather new phenomenon that appeared in about 1970–1980 and only in about 1996 in Lithuania as our country was fighting for the place on the map of the world at the time the world started realizing the importance of intercultural communication.

True, the term of localization was first used in international trade and economics and it appeared in translation studies rather recently.

Localization itself is understood and defined very differently, and more than twenty definitions of the term “localization” may be found in scientific literature only.

Such variety and difference of opinions has been determined by the attitude of scientists and practitioners towards localization as well as the nature of the process, which is not very clear, actually.

When we speak about translation studies in particular, discussions frequently arise whether localization is part of translation or on the contrary, translation is part of localization.

No doubt, every translator, practitioner and scientist has his/her own opinion on the question and hardly any common decision will be accepted regarding the relation of translation and localization in the nearest future; still, we may state boldly that translation studies cannot exist without localization and localization – without translation. Of course, a natural question appears, why?

Localized translations are usually related with the objective of companies or organizations to increase their sale indexes, return on investment and to conquer the largest possible part of the global market.

Companies striving for successful activity can communicate freely with their potential clients or partners using information technologies at any time of the day and offer their services or products despite the fact that they are separated by thousands of kilometres.

Nonetheless, attention should be paid to the fact that the unconditional desire to establish successful international relations is not sufficient if partners, investors or clients do not feel that the offered product or service has been crafted for them in particular.

Sales are possible only when the products, website, advertising campaign and marketing strategy is adapted to the target audience taking into regard the cultural, legal, technical and linguistic requirements. Localized translations are the first step to be made by businessmen planning to dive into international waters, otherwise business may fail.

Localized translations are frequently compared to effective communication, which is the most significant driving force of business. It is like collective programming of mind which enables to find a common language for people of different languages, traditions and cultures.


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