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Written by Steven Bussey
on August 20, 2019

In our rapidly developing global marketplace, the need for seemingly bespoke processes that speak to the customer and create a high level of connection, relevance, and desire for ongoing engagement is what drives the conversions, the interactions, and clicks. This is where localization comes in. After all, the level of competition across all sectors is so high, why would customers want to engage with anything less?

Localization is an essential tool to ensure that your business, your product, and your information is viewed in the most favourable way, from the outset.

 

Localization, internationalization and globalization

There are some critical differences between localization, internationalization, and globalization; differences which any company should know. At its basis, localization testing is a highly specific tool, focusing in on a geographical locale and the associated cultural signs and signifiers which accompany that region. Internationalization testing is the underpinning process of looking at how a platform or product will work and will ensure that localization is possible. While globalization is the cyclical process that both of these go through, together.

Platform issues and coding are considerations in the internationalization process, rather than the localization process. The designated operating system used will be of extreme importance to any app development, determining the process and the route forward.

So, let’s look further into localization testing and why it is relevant.

 

What is localization testing?

Localization testing is a testing technique which thoroughly checks and tests a particular product, like an app or web page, to see how it will run in a specific locale. It will test language, interface, screen layout, keyboard and script options- everything you need to offer information to your customer. This process looks at the information you already have and ensures that its format meets the cultural, visual, social, and linguistic needs of the customer in the required locale.

Various factors form the basis of localization including, but not limited to:

  • The format of date and time (including numeric)
  • Consideration of currency in tandem with locale and language
  • Keyboard layout
  • Data collation, sorting, and alignment
  • Culturally specific colour schemes, icons, and symbols (very few are ‘universal’)
  • Written text, images, and graphics which may create ambiguity, be misinterpreted, or viewed as ‘sensitive’
  • Specific legal requirements for any of the above or other content, related to a locale
  • Any combination of the above which, culturally, may cause misinterpretation

Why is it important?

When looking at considerations for global interaction, sales, or any engagement, it is necessary to have in-depth knowledge of the customer, and their regional needs. Taking time to check the user interface (UI) for a specific product, and making it relevant to your target audience will significantly enhance their user experience (UX). It is not as simple a process as just translating words or characters from one language or script to another. Recognizing, acknowledging, respecting and conforming to the ideas of the locale you want to access rather than expecting them to fit into your cultural norms is essential for global business.

This method ensures the minimization of misinterpretations and misunderstandings from the outset. More than just ensuring that the linguistic information is appropriate, having a localization testing strategy in place will consider typography, image usage, and information accessibility--screen layout, functionality, and script being vital considerations.

 

How does it help businesses scale - and save money?

Going through a process of internationalization and localization will ensure that your hard work has the capacity to move into whichever locale seems financially lucrative, with limited fuss and no extra expense. Building this scalability into apps, platforms, and programs at the development stage will ensure that you don’t have to create additional code to accommodate your ideas or new markets at a later stage when it is harder, and more expensive, to make these aspects seamless. The financial bottom line dictates that when the UX and UI, or the developer and the linguistic and cultural specialist, work together, there is so much more scope of opportunity.

As you can see, localization is an essential tool for opening up engagement between businesses and consumers. The necessity to consider this level of detail is critical when we understand the impact of our individual, local expectations, wants, dreams, and needs on our various buying, engaging, thoughts and behaviours. Information sharing is about so much more than merely a written or spoken language.

 

How can Andovar help?

To fully engage with your clients, we at Andovar understand and can support you in this endeavour. To get your work or your product rolled out to as diverse a group as possible, let us give you the benefit of our years of localization, as well as linguistic, expertise. Contact Andovar to discuss your requirements and ensure you are on track for appropriate localization in the global marketplace.

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