This time we have received a guest post from DayTranslations. ¡Enjoy!
Can you imagine the size of the World Wide Web? The latest number of indexed web pages is about 1.37 billion pages. That figure is as of November 29, 2013. That is a lot of web pages of information, written in different languages. Computer ownership and use of the Internet grow everyday as the Internet becomes the primary source of information and fast becoming a highly important alternative for finding services and shopping outlets. There is also a remarkable increase on computer ownership and Internet users from countries speaking languages other than English. Most businesses are quick to respond to these facts and are now open to website translation and localization.
What is website localization?
Technically speaking, website localization means modifying an existing and active website so that it will be usable and accessible to specific target audiences. It should also be suitable to the audience culturally. The process involves many layers, from programming to cultural and linguistic knowledge. It is part of language translation yet it involves so much more as the target culture (the locale) should be comprehensively studied so that a service or a product adapts correctly to the needs of the local target audience.
Even if the existing website is in English, care should be taken when translating the webpages into other languages. English words, metaphors and phrases sometimes cannot be directly translated into another language. If the original website has a theme and specific approach, let us say humor, will the local target audience be able to understand it or even appreciate it? Language variants should also be considered. If it is going to use the Hindi language for example, the translator has to know if the target audience speaks the Western or the Eastern Hindi, as there are differences. Urdu is the official language in Pakistan, yet there are regional dialects as well. The Urdu spoken in Hyderabad City is different from the Urdu spoken in other regions within the Hyderabad State.
For your website to be globally useful, localization should also take into consideration the society and culture of the local target audience. Oftentimes, it is not practical to translate all the information in your original English language website into a local one. You should base it on careful research to gain insight into the preferences of the target audience, whether they want to have pages that are information-rich or they want pages that are colorful and with plenty of images and little text. It can become tricky when it comes to technical language.
Images, colors and symbols
Just like when considering the language variants, website localization work should also consider the images and the symbols used in your web pages, since some may not be culturally and religiously appropriate. Colors hold various meanings to different societies. Even the layout and navigation of your web pages will differ. For Chinese and Japanese audiences, texts are read from top to bottom while Arabic is from left to right.
Day Translations is a translations and interpreting services provider with headquarters in Tampa, Florida, and offices worldwide. Our team of experienced and devoted translators and interpreters are available 24/7 and ready to deliver accurate, perfect and timely translations and interpretations in any language pair in the world.