When we blogged about colors, we knew we touched upon a critical topic in localization and cultural awareness. What do colors mean in different contexts? Do connotations change from culture to culture (hint: they do)? As a logical continuation, we prepared this article as a checklist of color and cultural peculiarities you should consider during localization.

Things you should consider during localization

Localization is more than just a translation. It is a meticulous process that requires both perfect adaptation to the new region and keeping the original business tone of voice, ideas, values, etc. When localizing products, services, or content for a different culture, it's crucial to consider various cultural peculiarities to ensure your offering resonates with the target audience and avoids potential misunderstandings or offenses.

Language of colors

The meaning of colors plays a vital role, and sometimes, you will be required to change some elements or the entire color palette. The common trap is a white - symbol of purity and simplicity in Western countries and mourning and death in a big part of Asia.

Language of the region (dialect)

Literary language is not always the best fit for translation. Using the dialects is especially important for creative industries like game localization. Such a technique allows to provide the atmosphere of the digital product and immerse the user in the context. Remember the Hagrid from Harry Potter? He speaks with a strong West Country accent. During localization for other languages, it was crucial to convey the features of speech as it is a part of the character. For example, the Ukrainian translation uses the dialect from the western part of the country (cute coincidence), so Hagrid speaks a non-literature language.

If you want to learn more, we suggest reading about famous product localization in our blog.

dialects

Cultural sensitivity

Ensure you are not using disrespectful or offensive content in localized product versions.

  • Religion. In predominantly religious countries, being sensitive to their rules is essential. For example, Muslim countries often have strict rules about the content - in Saudi Arabia, you can't show affection in public, your characters should have appropriate clothes, etc. Some of these regulations could be unclear, so hiring a local expert to check and approve your product is best.
  • Taboos. Not all things are open to discussion and demonstration— for instance, the tattoo in Japan. Of course, nowadays, they are more or less acceptable, but there are still people with more traditional views.
  • Gestures. Recheck all the illustrations with gestures to be sure they fit the cultural context. For example, the friendly "thumbs up" in some Middle Eastern and Asian countries has the same meaning as a middle finger in Western culture.
  • Holidays. Each region has its own essential cultural holidays. Even the New Year, the 1st of January, is not standard for all the world.
  • Pop culture understanding. You can collect important information by staying up-to-date with local pop culture references. Pop culture references and trends reflect a society's values, interests, and concerns. By staying in tune with it and using some connections, you demonstrate cultural relevance and understand and respect the culture you're engaging with.

Figures localization.

This is a broad, separate topic, so you can read about how to localize figures and what to pay attention to in our blog. Here, we just want to remind you about this important part of the localization process.

Communication

Formal and informal speech is a fundamental aspect of language that varies from culture to culture. It involves using different levels of formality and politeness when communicating with others. When localizing content, whether it's written, spoken, or digital, understanding the nuances of formal and informal speech in the target culture is crucial for effective communication.

We suggest reading our blog's "The importance of formal vs. informal speech " article to dive deeper into this topic.

Conclusion

Localization is a much broader topic than a translation and requires a complete understanding of the local cultural context and preferences. At Lingohub, we provide various tools that will help to keep the context understanding on the same level for the entire team:

  • Style guide - to save the tone of voice
  • Glossary - to maintain consistency throughout the whole project
  • Context images - to share more visual information with translators
  • Descriptions - to provide additional data

To get more information about Lingohub - schedule a quick demo call with our team or try it yourself with a 14-day free trial.

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