Once in a while, global businesses will come across rare languages that customers in other markets need translated. These languages can make the translation and localization process a little tricky. They take more effort to translate than standard, readily available languages, simply due to difficulties sourcing the linguists able to translate them.
Many of these languages are spoken by very few people, let alone English-speaking, computer literate people with aptitude for translation. Some are also located in remote areas with little to no internet connection or telecommunication infrastructure, which are essential to the exchange of translation files. These and numerous other cultural factors impact linguist availability, but on top of that, some languages are just challenging to translate—if, for example, they have dozens of dialects or lack modern linguistic rules and terminologies.
That being said, while longtail localization poses difficulties, it is possible. It’s just a case of knowing where to look for resources capable of overcoming the language barrier. Here’s what you need to know:
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As global competition heats up, branching out to untouched markets is a smart business decision that leads to first-mover advantages. It’s estimated that there are about 7,000 different languages spoken around the world today, some with fewer than ten linguists. Naturally, it takes a lot more effort to source translations for these rare and difficult languages—known as longtail languages—than it does for more mainstream ones.
India is now the world’s fastest-growing economy. In fact, it is projected that by 2020 close to 750 million Indians will own a smartphone.
An identifying characteristic of India’s newly emerging consumer class is its linguistic diversity. Access to computers and mobile phones was recently limited to the well-educated, English-speaking minority. Now, smartphone ownership cuts large swaths across India’s diverse populace.
With 22 major languages, written in 13 different scripts and over 720 dialects, how do you reach and resonate with the world’s most linguistically challenging market?
Enter: longtail language capabilities
Global companies looking to reach markets outside of main cities require a localization partner intimately familiar with the territory—one with access to the linguistic talent that is key to delivering your message consistently across regional languages.
Linguists need in-depth knowledge of the products they are tasked with localizing. A service provider with direct access to internal linguists can let them test-drive apps and products on actual smartphones. Hands-on product experience provides linguists with much needed context, allowing them to produce more fluent, accurate, and natural-sounding local language translations. This is also where a translation style guide comes in handy.
“Lionbridge has helped us with local insight on what users are doing, which devices they’re using, which platforms they’re using, and the experiences they prioritize, so that we can figure out how to bring some value to the table beyond our hardware.” Peter Gaucher, ExecutiveDirector, Ecosystem &Content Services, Lenovo
In order to succeed in these markets, you’ll need a partner with deep roots in the country and culture in your corner, along with a large pool of in-country localization experts. When it comes to longtail languages, choosing the right localization partner and strategy will have a remarkable impact on your business’ growth potential. To learn next steps, including how to choose the right localization partner, download our free whitepaper.