The basis of localization is our foreign language typesetting.
Foreign language typesetting, using the proper characters in the foreign language, is always necessary and in every case the first step in localization.
Our foreign language typesetting takes account of the special typographic features of the target language, such as different characters, punctuation and hyphenation, and takes over the job of adapting the formal and technical parameters of the translation to the standards or norms of the target language and country.
Indications of time and amounts, the notation of digits, data and telephone numbers, and the language of symbols are adapted to the standards or norms of the target country, and currency figures are converted. In the case of software translations, we take note of differing tags, scripts and keyboard layouts.
Foreign language typesetting even enables the perfect presentation of scripts or writing directions that differ from the Roman alphabet, as in Arabic and Chinese languages.
Using the right characters helps make your product
a success in the country of the target language.
Localization – “translating” the layout with desktop publishing (DTP)
The layout and effect of the original version of the magazine, catalog, presentation, advertisement, brochure or instructions that you give us to translate represent your ideas and requirements. However, a translation always changes the layout.
Typesetting in a foreign language alone changes the structure of the text and therefore also entails changes in the graphic design and layout.
A translation into another language, however, primarily changes the number of words, which is why the amount and length of texts in the source and target languages differ.
Sometimes the original text is longer than the target text: when continuous text in German is translated into English, for instance, the result is about 20 percent shorter.
Sometimes the original text is shorter than the target text: when translating from German into French, a text will grow by about 25 percent.
Translations from French or other Romance languages into English can cause the amount of text to shrink by nearly 50 percent in some cases.
Often a translation even means reading and writing in a different direction from that of the Roman alphabet: Chinese, Japanese and Korean, for instance, are written primarily from top to bottom, while Arabic, Farsi and Hebrew are written mainly from right to left.
When the direction of the writing changes, the carefully crafted interplay of texts and illustrations in the original product will completely fall apart.
Nonetheless, you naturally want the layout of your product to meet your wishes after being translated, so the text and graphics must be brought back into a sensible relationship.
For instance, if the source texts are allocated to dialog boxes, the boxes may have to be adapted. The relationship between texts and illustrations may also have to be redesigned. A new page break may even become necessary.
Our specialists for desktop publishing, experts in computerized typesetting for documents, take over this layout work, from simple adaptations to a complete redesign, in coordination with our native-speaking translators.
Our DTP specialists recreate the necessary relationship between text and graphics that you are aiming for and that is necessary for the success of your product.
Our DTP specialists “translate” your layout
and its effect for the target country.
Localization – “translating” the cultural code.
Whether the intended recipients in the target country understand your document and product is the result of local influences and life experiences, of everyday learning, including on media, of religions, forms of government, customs, do’s and don’ts, and written and unwritten rules of perception and conduct. All this in turn involves differences in consumption and user behavior.
When the values, philosophies of life or widespread dreams and wishes in the target country differ too greatly from those of the home country, merely replicating the original layout of your translated product will not be enough. In many countries, a pig is simply not considered a lucky charm as it is in Germany, and this is not likely to change any time soon.
In cases such as these, localization does not mean adaptation, but rather coming up with an entirely new layout. Graphic design, imagery and colors, perhaps even the texts themselves, must be redone with a view to the cultural parameters of the target country and put into the proper perspective.
That is why the translation of your document and the presentation of your product will only be understood and accepted as desired in the target country if the cultural codes of the source text are also translated into the cultural codes of the target country.
We translate the cultural codes so that
your product will be properly understood in the target country.
Localization – our native speakers guarantee culturally perfect translations.
Some aspects of the different culture in the target country can simply be looked up in dictionaries. But localization goes much deeper than merely being aware of well-known codes, such as pigs not representing luck in Muslim regions, or that dogs in Arab countries stand for impurity rather than loyalty.
This is because the rules and evaluations differing from the source culture are so self-evident in the culture of the target country that they are seldom if ever articulated, but must be respected and cause great offense if they are not.
The ideal seismograph for these often unconscious or subconscious pitfalls is a translator who has lived among the unwritten cultural rules of the target country and absorbed them along with their mother tongue: this translator can combine knowledge of the well-known codes with sensitivity for any hidden differences.
That is why a native speaker can guarantee a successful transfer of culture and meaning, a localization so perfect that the intended recipients in the target country will not have the impression of a text or product that has been “translated” from a foreign culture, but will be certain that the text and product are intended specifically for them and their cultural target group.
This sort of perfect localization is especially necessary for advertising, marketing and PR texts, for packaging design and corporate communication, for internet and sales sites, and for online help or FAQ sections.
The perfect translation does not
seem like a translation in the target country.
Localization – complete redesign in the case of major cultural differences
If values, philosophies of life or widespread dreams and wishes in the target country differ too greatly from those of the home country, simply replicating the old layout of your translated product will not be enough. A pig is simply not a lucky charm in many countries, and this is not likely to change any time soon.
In these cases, localization does not mean adaptation, but rather redeveloping the entire layout. The graphic design, imagery and colors, and perhaps even the texts themselves, must be redone in view of the cultural parameters of the target country and put into the proper perspective.
In any case, a native-speaking translator who is at home in the culture of the target country and has also internalized the unwritten rules and deeper nuances – those that cannot be found in a dictionary – will guarantee the success of a cultural transfer.
Our native-speaking translators and DTP experts will be glad to help you redesign your product, if necessary, so that it will be sure to have the desired effect in the target country.
Our work itself has always been more convincing than all the words
that might be said about it. For twenty years.
Tel. +49 (0) 40 40 19 56 20
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