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Why Localization Matters in Language Services

A woman reading on a tablet.

Language can vary drastically from one culture to the next, even for those in the same region. Localization takes translation a step further to keep the intended message clear and appropriate for its specific audience. 

Every language has its own understood meanings of different words, and some words and phrases simply need a better word-for-word translation. While translation services are fundamental for communicating across written text, it's truly just the starting point for empathic communication. Here's how localization makes a difference. 

What Is Localization?

Localization in language services is a process that involves adapting initially translated text, cultural elements, and associated imagery to a specific region, country, or community. In other words, localization is a key step in the most effective translation and interpretation services because intended messages and impressions can quite literally be lost in translation without it. 

Language localization focuses on leveraging important attributes like slang terms, idioms, and local customs that can be critical for enabling accurate, unoffensive meanings during communication. This step is crucial for all forms of translation, including web pages and websites created for LEP individuals. 

The Importance of Localization in Language Services 

Ensure Effective Communication 

Localization humanizes translated information by using knowledge of customs and traditions, typical language formatting, and cultural awareness to ensure messaging is clear. 

Miscommunication can be one of the most significant risks for LEP individuals, especially in healthcare. Language barriers can have a negative impact on LEP patients and are directly tied to many medical malpractice claims. A lack of localization could wholly alter messages through just a single misused word, creating problems for LEP individuals (and those providing care). 

Build Trust with LEP Individuals 

Consider this scenario: You plug a sentence into Google Translate from a language you don't understand. However, when the translation is generated, the wording in English doesn't make sense. Words appear out of order, the overall meaning isn't clear, or the result sounds awkward and rigid. Do you trust the translated information?

Translation or interpretation without localization can read or sound much like this to an LEP individual, which does not help them feel comfortable or trust the information provided. This lack of trust is undeniably damaging. For example, LEP individuals often have little trust in healthcare providers and systems. And if that provider is not using localization to communicate, trust can be even more broken. 

Take Strides Toward Cultural Competency 

Localization and cultural competency go hand in hand. While translation may check the box to meet mandated requirements for offering language support, localization ensures you are mindful of the LEP individual's culture. 

For example, certain words, phrases, or images on a web page can be considered offensive in some cultures but not others. Localization helps resolve these issues by carefully analyzing the information from the viewpoint of someone who speaks the translated language. 

How GLOBO Makes Localization a Priority 

Without a professional linguist translating text and using localization, communication can be severely impeded because syntax and grammar don't always translate well from one language to another. At GLOBO, we keep localization at the heart of everything we do as a language services provider. 

We achieve this by working with highly qualified linguists and following a stringent quality assurance protocol to ensure optimal outcomes with every level of language support. Reach out to discuss how we can help your organization create the best language support plan. 


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