As expected, the brain power and the idea exchange were powerful throughout Localization World 2013 in Santa Clara. Four ideas, some related to the foundational principles of our industry, grabbed my attention:
1. Why localize?
The keynote session with Robert Lane Greene took us waaaay back to this question. Whether to localize or not is affected by the fact that world citizens are increasingly bilingual. Yet it turns out it doesn’t matter if you are fluent in a second language, the message will always hit you deeper if it’s in your first language. Your ability to listen to and understand multiple languages is not the same as your ability to hear a message. If you want people to hear your message and internalize it, then you have to localize it … even for a multilingual continent like Europe.
2. Is community translation for everyone?
It is expensive to moderate a community, do language quality assurance, motivate volunteers to complete sometimes boring content, not to mention set up tools that make the whole thing possible. It is often not cheaper than traditional translation in the end. Worse, it might flop and damage your market position. Whether or not to look at community translation deserves more scrutiny as well as service-level consulting by LSPs: some enterprises are well served by community translation and some are not.
3. Can you say for sure what “quality” means?
It is no longer black and white. It depends on the age, gender, level of education, user demographic, and content type, among other things. Can you pay attention to all these factors? If you reach one audience with a translation, do you turn off another?
4. Should marketing translation be handled by non-professionals?
Typically, marketing material and other highly branded content requires translation by a professional marketing content translator. Right? Think again. Non-professional, even crowd-sourced translation help may be just exactly what your brand needs.
These questions require careful thinking and solid answers.
Stay tuned and please post your comments below if you were at the conference, if you are intrigued by these ideas and, especially, if you disagree!