What is Authentic Localization?
Authentic Localization™ is a concept that provides a unique approach to cultural adaptation focusing on quality assurance throughout the process, driven by the desired outcome. The concept, developed by Global eLearning helps organizations streamline accurate translation and localization services. Often, though, the content is localized without consideration for the very complicated process of understanding the target audience, the intended message, and how the target audience will understand the message, within their culture.
Authentic Localization™ that crosses that great divide between meaning and culture. Authentic Localization™ takes “localization” one step further and approaches the process with the end in mind. This solution, crafted by Global eLearning, takes apart the original English to its component parts; get to the basics, the raw form. The process incorporates questions like: What is this message trying to convey? Is it using humor? What’s the gist and the nuance around it? Authentic Localization™ takes these factors into account, so that the original sentence in English may now have a multifaceted narrative. Authentic Localization™ is almost like creating new content—since we are addressing the “authentic” or “true” meaning of the source content and how it will adapt to the localized output. Authentic Localization™ creates a more nuanced source content—rather than just translating it.
For example, we have a short passage about Data Privacy, about keeping certain kinds of information “extra secure” such as credit card information. We might have an illustration of a lock and key or a safe to show “security”. If you do a google image search for “icons for security” and then one for Spanish “iconos para seguridad” you realize that security and safety are synonymous in Spanish.
While the original English context was plain—adding the audience of Spanish-speakers makes us ask a few more questions to get to a less ambiguous source topic. Maybe it’s equivalent to have data safety—as the concept or a related concept for other cultures such as Spanish speaking ones. Maybe it’s more important that there are protection and vigilance to show security as an active thing. Maybe show both, while this would be repetitious in English, it would be illustrative in Spanish.
His example just shows one miscellaneous aspect of cultural adaptation when it gets to the sticky nature of vocabulary and “what do you actually mean to say”? In most cultures, the answer to that question is slightly different than how it was originally said. In being aware of this slight difference, and adapting the message to the appropriate context gives you authenticity. It’s more about having stopped to ask the other language how they would best understand a particular topic and then fitting it to their needs. If you have 10 languages do you do it for all? Maybe, or you quickly find commonalities—say instead of US Football, it’s Football [soccer]. However, the fact is that one size does not fit all—eventually, there will have to be some degree of customization beyond just getting the language and accent marks correctly—there’s the cultural fit as well.
Global eLearning is proud to lead the way to innovate localization efforts through the Authentic Localization™ platform. Learn more by visiting Global eLearning or contact us for a collaborative review of your current localization program.