| translation vs. localisation || May 11, 2006 |
Process: I agree with Alain. His description of localisation is exactly what happens in practical terms, when what you get is, e.g., an excel document to translate, with the main company's recommendation being "Also, please try to keep the translations to as few words as possible. Since these translations are intended to be menu items on (...) , there is limited space allocated for these titles." In my case, I have worked on car websites, videogames and mobile phones, both as checker and as translator. In both cases I was particularly urged to "keep things short", simply because buttons and windows don't allow for space and also because some languages (such as Italian) tend to have longer words than others (such as English). In many cases (especially from English) this is felt as a violence by the translator in the sense that , in strict ethical terms, it simply does not work and one ends up using the English term or forcing the source language. This, of course, does not happen in other translation fields where, unlike the localisation process, there are no such constraints. In term of process, then, translation within localisation is even more strictly bound by structural factors such as softwares than other translation types are.
Definition: from a theoretical point of view there are thousands of definitions on localisation. Among these I found the LISA's particularly clear (The Localization Industry Standards Association). What I now understand is that globalisation and localisation are processes of product designing and distribution. The main difference between translation and localisation is simply that localisation is part of a distribution process. Take a videogame: it's conceived not just to be read (as a book) but to work world-wide, te be USED and not just read. Books>readers, videogames or softwares>users --although one might still argue that a website is meant to be read!. A localised product is like a machine that must work with all possible languages and in all cultural contexts. Engineers and specialists who are on a product meant to be sold world-wide have to bear in mind that this has to be, from the very beginning "localisable". The more easily localisable the product, the more successful its "global" distribution. Translation is one stage of this complex process. Of course these are just personal thoughts, so much can be still said.
I am happy to share with you my complete bibliography, meanwhile I can suggest you a couple of entries that I found particularly enlightening:
Cova, Bernard, Véronique Cova (2001) “Tribal Marketing: the Tribalization of Society and its Impact on the Conduct of Marketing” in Visionary Marketing, . Prepublished version for the European Journal of Marketing. Online document at URL http://perso.wanadoo.fr/visionarymarketing/files/cova-tribe-2001.pdf [12/10/04].
Friedman, Jonathan (1995) “Global system, globalization and the parameters of modernity”, in: Mike Featherstone, Scott Lash & Roland Robertson (eds.), 69-90.
Fry, Deborah (2003) The Localization Industry Primer. Féchy: SMP Marketing and the Localization Industry Standard Association.
Pym, Anthony (2004) The Moving Text. Localization, Translation, and Distribution. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Savourel, Yves (2001) XML. Internationalization and Localization. Indianapolis: Sams
Snell-Hornby, Mary (2000) “Communicating in the Global Village: On Language, Translation and Cultural Identity”, in Christina Shäffner (ed.) Translation in the Global Village (11-28) Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Sprung, C. Robert (2000) Translating into Success. Cutting-Edge Strategies for Going Multilingual in a Global Age American Translators Association, Scholarly Monograph Series. Vol XI. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
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