In this fast pacing business world when everything happens in the speed of light, information seems to be passed on a different pace in various counties in the world. Primarily, all information is passed on the world in English. Being spoken by billions of people around the globe, English has been characterized by many as the language of trade. It is not, therefore, a miracle that the above is a reality. Folk of countries with a small number of population invest more time, energy and budget to be educated in foreign languages. Especially those whose large proportion of income source is tourism. Numerous are such states in the European continent. Even though the latter is a reality, still not the whole of the population is actually able to speak language properly. Most of the people tend to be able to hold a basic conversation with a foreigner. In depth knowledge of a foreign language is actually a commodity, since there is a certain level of language knowledge provided. Past that point, there is nothing more to be done. The belief that everyone speaks English is evaporated to thin air. Professional translators are called to fill in the gap that exists in the market. Localization is an area of practical need in the sense that there are certain aspects that need to be considered. Let’s observe three typical examples of localization needed in practice:
Software is a primary field of products that need to be translated in all the languages of the world. A customer cannot be expected to buy a product that does not include software in the customer’s language. In other words, no one would buy the Microsoft Office product in English apart from the native English speaker or perhaps those proficient in English. Even if the latter was an option, still different language options in various languages should be included in the software (e.g. elements in the Word processor, spell-checkers etc). All electronic products, including machines of everyday use (household appliances using software, ATMs, POS devices etc) need to be localized. Let’s consider this question for a second: Should Apple be expecting to sell apps only in the English speaking countries? How much revenue could potentially be lost? How much information would the non-English citizens of the world miss out?
Primarily after the large usage explosion of the Internet, companies particularly in English speaking countries were creating their websites including texts in English only. Some of them challenged by the sales they were making in different countries went ahead and made their websites available in some major languages. Expansion of sales, however, is not realized unless the full potential of the sales income is completed. This means that a product needs to be advertised to all people of the world. As a company’s face in the business world and beyond is accessed in an instance is practically served by the company’s website, shouldn’t the latter be available in more languages? What impact could more languages have in sales?
Automated machinery and robots are slowly but steadily make their appearance in our daily routine. Scientists are researching and experimenting on new ways to make our lives easier. Shouldn’t languages accompany their products down the lonely road of development? Although robots have not conquered Europe yet, in Asian countries they are making their appearance even though they are still in experimental mode. Some of them respond to voice recognition commands. Again, software should be offered in all the languages of the target market. Otherwise, how would it be possible for them to be of use?
What other examples of localization can you think of? Do share your thoughts!