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Stock Photo – Pixabay

Translating a website doesn’t mean the target audience is going to understand it or accept it. You have to change more than just the meaning of the words. This process is called localization.

Researching the culture

Most important is an in-depth understanding of the target culture. This involves heavy research into subjects you may not be as familiar with–even if the target culture is your own. Surveys and interviews are highly recommended to determine the general reaction of the public to your choice of wording, photographs, etc.

Changing media content

Speaking of photographs, even the media of a website must sometimes be changed to appeal to a different culture. The appearance of a landscape, the ethnicity of a person, the way an action is being performed–due to any of these details, an image may need to be switched out or altered.

For example, some cultures view the left hand as unclean. They do not eat with their left hand. Therefore, a photograph of a person touching food with their left hand would be highly offensive to such a person. A person in charge of localization would recognize this problem and replace the image with a more appropriate one.

Proofreading written content

Localization often is done in teams. Why? At least one person translates the original text into the target language, and at least one of their partners will assist in proofreading and inputting the new content into the website.

Proofreading is vital–even a correctly translated document must be looked over by someone who understands the target culture. Different wording may need to be used. Another style of writing may be more appropriate. And, of course, spelling and grammar must be scrutinized.

Changing the design

Color schemes or web page layout may also need to be changed, depending on the cultures, circumstances, or languages involved.

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