There are two major misconceptions about localization (l10n):
- localization is easy,
- localization is cheap.
Let us dispel these myths one by one.
Localization is not easy at all. It is a creative process that is much more complicated than any primitive word-for-word translation. Localizing a product is not just conveying the content of the source text. It is also a thorough job of adapting the final product to the cultural peculiarities of the target audience, observing the rules and contemporary standards of the target language, meeting the customer’s wishes and maintaining the full functionality of the localized material. The style and the format of the source document should also be preserved to the maximum extent possible. That is why only professionals should be entrusted with localization.
To ensure perfect quality we involve the following experts in the localization process:
- qualified linguists who perform quality checks
- project managers (who organize the work of the people mentioned above)
- programmers and engineers (IT support)
Thus, the work of so many people is included in the prices for localization. This leads us to dispelling the second myth – localization is not cheap. It is a complicated process and a quality product can only be obtained with a certain amount of investment.
The myth that localization is cheap has been largely inspired by the wide use of machine translation (MT) systems. It is true that systems of this kind make the life of many users easier if they come across texts in foreign languages only occasionally and would like to have at least some idea of what these texts are about. However, even nowadays the quality of the raw MT still leaves much to be desired, especially for Slavic languages. That’s why the Machine Translation Post-Editing (MTPE) approach is currently on the rise in the professional localization of major blocks of data. Furthermore, the post-editing itself usually involves the work of the whole team of linguists mentioned above. If you rely on MT output entirely, without implementing PE in a l10n workflow, inadequate terminology, poor grammar and inconsistency are inevitable.
All these problems are overcome in the course of localization by the effort of many people using integrated software packages. We are always here to help you with every project – from the translation of a small booklet or document to localization of lengthy software or help materials. Just contact us to learn more.