IQeon Software Localization Manager – about cultural adaptation of a project

Hanna Senichava - IQeon

We continue to acquaint you with people who are developing and improving IQeon. We are glad to introduce Hanna Senichava, our Software Localization Manager!

Hanna studied at the Faculty of International Relations at Belarusian State University. There she took up Chinese language, fascinated by its complexity and learning process.

After graduating from a university in Belarus, she studied in China, attended various conferences, webinars and academic activities dedicated to the language and aspects of localization.

Hanna joined IQeon team in June 2020. Here, the specialist collects analytics and does market segmentation in the Chinese region, manages the localization of website and gaming platform into Chinese, and also translates the company's official announcements and articles for a foreign audience.

According to Hanna, localization and translation are very related, but at the same time they are not interchangeable concepts.

Localization of a product is not only about choosing the right words for translation. It takes into account the local context, that is, the use of linguistic expressions that will evoke a response from consumers in a particular market. When translating a product, it is necessary to consider the character of the people, their traditions, the uniqueness and peculiarities of the language. This will demonstrate a deep knowledge of the local culture and help to quickly gain the trust of the audience.

The specialist emphasizes that with the growing importance of culturalization, developers focused on the international market have to be very careful in matters of history, religion, and indeed all aspects of culture. If, for example, there is something in the game that may be ambiguously perceived by other people, then you need to try to smooth things over.

Moreover, during localization, it is necessary to take into account not only the textual component of the product, but also the visual content.

Today, some developers still consider localization to be something afterthought. However, a cultural mistake can cause irreparable harm to a company. And here we don’t speak about reputation. Disrespect for culturally significant things can push your product out of the local market.

To get high quality localization, you always need to start by analyzing a specific product in China. For example, you can find a successful Asian analogue of your product, carefully study all its specifics, and pay attention to the design. Based on this, you can start cultural adaptation of your project.

Hanna believes that creating the product for a Chinese audience from scratch is the best possible option, if the project has such an opportunity. But if not, then it is worth considering future localization at the very initial development stage.

Usually, when it’s time to localize a product, companies face common problems: mismatch in the length of the source and target languages, different date and time formats, and names’ spelling. All these difficulties can be avoided by thinking about language adaptation from gathering momentum. Better to do well right away.

The localization manager uses CAT tools in her work. AI programs have a translation memory that allows to accumulate data in the translation database and create thematic glossaries in various fields of knowledge, which means they can make a better translation. A specialist always needs to be in the loop: track trends in the Asian market, read the news in Chinese to understand what expressions and language structures are used today, what slang is popular.

Hanna also turns to GitLocalize, an open-source platform for continuous localization of GitHub projects, and reads expert opinions on Habr, forums and other websites.

Localization is pure creativity. It has a huge impact on the company or the project as a whole, but people who are not involved in the industry very often neglect it.

Moreover, the linguistic and cultural adaptation of products changes the consciousness of the specialist who is working on it. I like to plunge into the life of another folk – it broadens my horizons and gives a new perception of the world. Knowing a foreign language and other realities, you unconsciously become a different person. And that's awesome.

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