why localization?: or... "you mean those people don't speak english?"

Download Why Localization?: Or... "You Mean Those People Don't Speak English?"

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Presented at DocTrain East 2007 Conference by Maxwell Hoffmann, ENLASLO -- Although the many reasons to localize content should seem self-evident, many North American firms continue to maintain websites and product documentation in English-only. Many high-tech products initially penetrated markets where English was widely spoken by staff using expensive resources. In the 1990s, internet access and high bandwidth was typically available in some countries only with a workforce that had reasonable English language skills. The world has changed: as local overseas economies strengthen and internet connectivity becomes more available, non-English speakers have already become the majority on the internet. Web purchases are becoming common in populations segments that did not have internet access 8 or 9 years ago. Because most North Americans don’t have a compelling reason to learn a second language, it is easy to ignore the proliferation of non-English speakers in key buying positions worldwide. But there is far more to it than that. Overseas customers who can speak English as a second language are far more comfortable purchasing products and services for which they fully understand documentation and warranty information. Even if you have already “seen the light” regarding the compelling need to localize, chances are you have a challenge selling your upper management on this concept. This session will cover critical data points that support your campaign to move your company into non-English markets. The session will also explode some of the many myths that executives pick up in airline magazines, including the fantasy that a “black box” machine translation solution will allow you to penetrate markets in China. The possibilities for expressing your message effectively in any language are nearly limitless. The key is finding the critical requirements of your targeted locale, as well as the country. The presenter will cover the most common pitfalls that newcomers stumble over, from trying to eliminate critical preparation to letting a company employee do the translation “in their spare time.” Although there can be significant set up costs involved in localization, the return on investment is considerable and easily measurable. Actual metrics will be shared to show how you will recoup your investment when you localize. This is one presentation that you cannot afford to miss.


  • Why Localization? Or You mean Those People Dont Speak English? DOCTRAIN EAST 07 Maxwell Hoffmann Manager Consulting & Training ENLASO www.translate.com
  • About the Presenter
    • Graphic Artist -> Typesetter -> DTP -> Localization
    • Worked for variety of publishing solution vendors:
      • Expert on doc format and data migration
    • Former FrameMaker product marketing mgr
    • 10 years in Localized publishing, production, and consulting
      • Conversant with issues unique to multilingual production
    • Trained over 1,000 people in past 25 years on variety of publishing solutions
      • Worked primarily with content creators and tech writers
  • Presentation Overview
    • Global market pressures to Localize from overseas
      • Events of past 20 years changed worldwide markets forever
    • Domestic market pressures to Localize
      • Growing Hispanic market impossible to ignore
      • Multinational supply chains affect English only
    • Spotlight on Domestic Hispanic Market
    • Challenges to localization
    • How to prep your content for more economic localized projects
  • Some Definitions
    • Locale: Combination of language, cultural preferences, character set, and other information that describes a particular target market or audience.
    • Globalization (G11N): Implementation of a global strategy that ensures the product or deliverable meets the needs of each locale, from early product development through localization.
    • Internationalization (I18N): Process of creating (or re-engineering) a product or deliverable to support difference locales. Usually a pre-requisite for successful localization.
    • Localization (L10N): Process of adapting a product for a particular locale. Usually comes after internationalization, creating a deliverable that has the look and feel of being created for the specific locale.
    • Interpretation: Converting real-time spoken content in a source language into spoken content in a target language, either simultaneously or sequentially.
    • Translation: Process of translating, editing and proofing textual content from a source language to a target language.
  • More Definitions
    • Spanish: An Iberian romance language spoken by over 350 million people worldwide. The official language of more than 20 countries (and official/unofficial recognition in one state in the US New Mexico). Includes 9 other closely related languages.
    • Hispanic refers to a derivation from Spain, its people and culture.
    • Indo-European Languages: Includes most languages of Europe and the Indic languages of India. These include the Germanic, Scandinavian, Romance, Baltic, Slavic, Iranian, Hindi, and Urdu languages.
    • Asian and Pacific Island languages: Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnam, Hmong, Khmer, Lao, Thai, Tagalog.
    • Other languages: Includes Uralic (Hungarian), Semitic (Arabic & Hebrew), African, and native North American languages along with indigenous languages of Central and South America.
  • Globalization is shrinking the world You are Here
  • We arent where we used to be
    • In September of this year, the Canadian dollar passed the US in value for the first time in 31 years!
  • The world has changed
    • Ten years ago the U.S. stood at the epicenter of the web universe, English dominated the airwaves, and the dollar stood supreme. Today the U.S. is sixteenth worldwide in the percentage of its residents with broadband access to the internet and falling way behind in connection speed, China is coming on strong, and the dollar threatens to be supplanted by the Euro as the worlds favorite currency.
    Source: On the Web, Some Countries Matter More than Others Quantifying the Market Opportunity for Globalizing the Web Customer Experience -- By Donald A. DePalma, Benjamin B. Sargent, and R. Michael Powers
  • Customers prefer buying from WWW sites in their own languages
    • Nearly 3 out of 4 participants surveyed by Common Sense Advisory agreed that they were more likely to buy from sites in their own languages than in English.
    • Global consumers will pay more for products with information in their language.
    • Nearly 3 out of 4 participants surveyed agreed they are more likely to buy products if after sale support is in their own language.
    Source: Can't Read, Won't Buy: Why Language Matters on Global Websites By Donald DePalma, Benjamin Sargent and Renato Benianatto Common Sense Advisory, Sept 2006
  • Globalization: a confluence of events
    • End of the Cold War
      • Capitalism reaches Eastern Europe
      • Chinese economy thaws to the West
    • European Union (economy and language requirements.)
    • GATT and WTO (General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs and World Trade Org.)
    • NAFTA (Canada/USA/Mexico trade) and immigration
      • Spanish on your doorstep
    • Growth of Internet and dot.com boom
    • Y2K and growth of India/off-shoring
  • Globalization: end of the Cold War
    • Autumn 1989
      • Fall of Berlin Wall
      • Tiananmen Square stand off, Beijing
      • End of Soviet Union by 1991
    • End of the Cold War
      • Huge new market opens that was out of sight, out of mind for 77 years
      • China liberalizes economic policies, becomes world power economy over night
  • Former Soviet Republics become viable markets
    • Now becoming common languages for Localization/Translation
    • Significant Soviet Satellite Languages:
    • Hungarian
    • Polish
    • Czech
  • Mobility of Manufacturing and Services
    • General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (typically abbreviated GATT )
      • Uruguay Round from 1986 to 1994, extended the agreement fully to new areas such as intellectual property, services, capital, and agriculture.
      • Out of this round the WTO (World Trade Org) was born.
      • Manufacturing (and Services) have moved offshore; more documentation not in English
  • Internet commerce eliminates boundaries
    • English speakers now a minority on WWW
    • Developing countries using cell phones for internet more
    • Rental kiosks making Internet shopping available to villages in India
    • Shoppers with limited English twice as likely to buy when WWW site is their own language
    • Hispanic (Latin America Spanish) is fastest emerging market domestically
  • The world has changed, but we havent
    • Virtually all USA managers grew up during the Cold War
    • Internet commerce is recent ; global impact not obvious to everyone
    • We (USA) live (almost) in entirely in an English-only environment
    • We (USA) have a fairly homogenous popular culture
    • Translation and Localization is still an afterthought for many domestic enterprises
  • Change in the last 7 years
    • In 2000, the three biggest countries by GDP were the U.S., Japan, and Germany.
    • The next four were France , Italy, the U.K., and China.
    • Seven years later China made it to the fourth slot.
    Source: On the Web, Some Countries Matter More than Others by Common Sense Advisory
  • Balance of Language/Financial Power is shifting
    • Top 10 economies in 2007
    Source: On the Web, Some Countries Matter More than Others by Common Sense Advisory
  • Balance of Language/Financial Power is shifting - cont
    • Probable top 10 economies in 2050
  • What if you wanted to expand the reach of your web site?
  • Quiz: Which languages give you 76% of On-Line Access Population?
    • Question: name the 10 languages, in correct order:
      • English
      • French
      • Italian
      • German
      • Spanish
      • Japanese
      • Chinese-Simplified


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