Culture Meets Language When Localization Is Used

Culture is synonymous with localization. Therefore, translation and localization differ in terms of language use. Translations communicates the meaning of a source language by changing it to a target language. On the other hand, localization adapts language usage to the culture of a targeted language. Consequently, language localization adapts translated meanings to the readers.

Culture Meets Language

Adaptations in Culture

The goal of localization is to present language in a way that makes the reader think it is directed to him or her. Compared to translation, localization involves more steps. These steps require an adaption to the culture, one that considers the following:

  • Idioms
  • Dialects
  • Traditions
  • Local beliefs
  • Religion

Localization – How It Supports Content Use

Actually, translation is one of the processes that make up localization. As a result, localization must be used in translation work, especially in the video game marketplace. Besides translation, localization supports the following activities:

  • Using graphics that target specific video game users
  • Modifying content to conform to the tastes of target consumers
  • Conforming the translated content to a video’s format
  • Converting the elements of content to a local area, such as currency or measurements
  • Adapting local formats for information, such as dates, addresses, and contact numbers
  • Conforming the translation to the local legislation and regulations

The Pioneers of Localization

The process of language localization began in the later part of the 1970s. At that time, translators began offering more intensive language services. These LSPs, or language service providers, were noted, as they did not confine their work to translation. Translators, who were LSPs, were also subject matter experts. Therefore, they also provided proofreading, and later on, publishing and design. These early LSP providers were the pioneers of localization today.


Because of an increased need for both translation and localization, internationalization developed. With the emergence of software, translators found it necessary to make sure translations could be produced with greater ease. The advantages of internationalization, with respect to technology, include the following:

  • Once source code is used for all language versions of a product
  • An easier software adaptation to various locations
  • Reduced expenses for localization
  • Quality improvement

Research shows that localization leads to the production of successful videos. Only price follows in this respect. The ability to communicate clearly and precisely in various languages plays a critical part in the reception of a video.

Many people use translation and localization interchangeability, not aware that distinctions exist between the two. Even if a video is translated by a highly trained translator, it will still miss certain nuances. These nuances are needed if a developer wants his video game to sell.

Bridging the Language and Culture Gap

On a tactical level, localization bridges the language grip as well as refines the content to meet a market’s expectations, functionally and culturally. For example, functional content may represent such data as contact details, time, and date. It may also include references for measurements, weights, and geographical landmarks or terrains.

With respect to culture, localization accounts for shapes, sizes, colors, graphics, and special societal codes and values. These values extend to beliefs, myths, etiquette, humor, relationships, and power.

An Impact on Tone and Voice

When localization is used, it affects the tone and voice of the content as well as its general flow. For example, some words vary in length when translated. As a result, the orientation of a video can be affected. Therefore, careful research is needed to ensure that a video product conforms to the landscape, linguistically and culturally.

In summation, the variance between translation and localization involves a knowledge of a specific location. As a result, translation will remain a large part of the process of localization. However, localization entails more work on the part of the translator. Not only is the content for a video translated, the language must fit the practices, customs, and beliefs of the players. You need to include localization if you want to ensure a video is purchased and used.

Image Credit

Creator: David Grandmougin