Communication is not merely the transmission of information, it involves delivering the right message at the right time to the right people and in the right manner. This is so that the message is understood as intended. As Rollo May said, “Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy, and mutual valuing.”
It goes without saying, a lack of or improper communication leads to doubts and mistrust in a society. A case in point, the spy thriller Homeland that went awfully wrong for all the wrong reasons. In the fifth season’s second episode, Clare Danes (or Carrie Matheson - the lead character) walks past graffiti in Arabic that translates into “Homeland is racist” and “Homeland is a joke and it didn’t make us laugh.” What happened? Syrian graffiti artists were roped in to add local color to the show to depict a refugee camp on the Syrian-Lebanese border. Unbeknownst to the production crew, these artists despised Homeland. They utilized the opportunity cunningly to vent their anger against the show for the misrepresentation of the Muslim world.
The highlight being, the producers of Homeland neither understood nor checked the Arabic script that was used in the graffiti by the artists. The show then drew sharp criticisms from many, including Nadeem Hotiana, the Pakistan embassy spokesperson. Alex Gansa (the producer) regretted the whole incident and wished they had “caught these images before they made it to air.”
The entire mishap would not have occurred had the producers availed the services of a localization or language service provider.
Benefits of using localization services
The exact definition of localization or (l10n) is “the process of adapting a product or content to a specific locale or market.”
Across the globe there are around 7000 languages spoken with many more dialects. Businesses are now increasingly trending toward becoming multinationals with the ever-expanding use of technology. This includes the Internet of Things (IoT), e-commerce, e-logistics and much more. The need to reach multiple regions across the world and speak the language of the region is at the core of such businesses. With more non-governmental agencies or non-profit companies also trying to reach out to a wider audience, communicating effectively to culturally sensitive markets with the right message is critical.
An established localization provider can help businesses accomplish their goals of targeting multilingual audiences. The modified content takes on the look, feel, and appearance that blends well with the local culture and habits and does not appear alien.
Word-for-word translation is just one of the aspects of localization. The services of localization industry also include the following:
- Modifying and selecting the appropriate graphics to target audience.
- Matching the right content with the taste and consumption habits of consumers in other markets.
- Attention to design and layout of translated content.
- Use of local measures and units appropriate for the target market.
- Attention to using address, number, phone, and other details in the local format.
- Adept at meeting the legal, cultural, and local regulations in the market segment targeted.
Adapting software and other technology tools to enable correct interpretation of the messages being communicated is another critical function of localization services.
Why focus on Language Service Providers (LSPs)?
Language service providers (LSPs) enable the effective adaptation of services or products for use in multilingual markets.
LSPs are well versed in adapting the content to suit the culture, preferences, habits, and other characteristics of the target markets. The LSPs provide both translation and interpretation services for the design of product labels, documentation, other important marketing communication, and for websites.
LSPs specialize in multiple languages, they provide effective services for the languages of the world. It is this specialization in regional languages that allow for companies to communicate their message clearly around the world.