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Internationalize This!

In an increasingly globalized world, content is generated for multiple areas and platforms, from applications (or “apps”) for Smart Phones and Tablets to user interfaces for computer programs, touch screens and web pages. And also for classic media such as books, brochures, posters, and anything containing text.

Nowadays, the concepts of internationalization and localization are better known than they were a decade ago. Software developers, graphic designers, publishers, etc. take the process of selecting content very seriously. They think long and hard about which elements should be published in different regions of the world. This is, in part, so an original design can adapt to different languages ​​and cultures with a minimum amount of modifications and still achieve the expected effect.

But what if it’s impossible to tell if a product, whatever it may be, will be successfully advertised and sold in other countries? To address any concerns, the following points should be taken into account in order to avoid unnecessary headaches when it comes to internationalizing it:

  • Predict the expansion and contraction of texts: The same sentences in different languages ​​may be longer or shorter than in the original language. For example, texts that translate from English to Spanish are usually considerably longer, and this “extra space” must be taken into account in the format (whether physical or digital) of the translated text. A simple example is the “YIELD” sign in English, which in Spanish would be translated as “CEDA EL PASO”.
  • Try to avoid rhymes or puns: In the vast majority of cases they will not work in other languages. Equivalents may be found but surely they will not have the same impact or panache as they did in the original language.
  • Choose the color scheme wisely: Colors can mean different or even opposite things in different cultures. For example, red can symbolize love or passion in one place, and hatred in another.
  • Select neutral images: Or if there are none, base your selection according to the cultural target. An image of a woman in a bikini showing a product can be attractive in one place, but condemned by a culture or religion in another.

In general terms, the public always expects to identify with what they read and see. Internationalization, and consequently, localization, are something that go beyond a mere translation. Consumers not only want to have access to products in their language, they also want to read them in their own cultural codes and jargon, see images of people that look like them, and feel that they share the same tastes and tendencies. By following this methodology, it’s much easier to communicate a message and have a product become accepted and assimilated around the world.

For more information don’t hesitate to contact us and we will gladly help you find the best strategy for your product or message to reach any corner of the globe with optimal results.