Website and App localizationThe Indian Context
With a population of one and a quarter billion people, India, the largest democracy is home to nearly 30 languages which are in daily use. Yet the Indian Constitution and Law do not define an official national language. Most languages of India belong to the Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman language families.
Considering the mobile penetration to the innermost pockets and villages of India, and the fact that only approximately 10-15%* Indians manage to barely understand or speak English in itself are eye openers about the dire need of localization and content creation in Indian languages.
According to statistics released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (2013), the number of total mobile phone connections was approximately 860 million. However, millions of Indians did not list English as their primary language of communication and thus were limited in mobile usage due to language borders.
The number of Indians owning mobile phones is more than the number of Indians owning a computer. In fine, localization is the key to new communities around the globe, especially in India.
Not just informative websites and government and company websites, but most importantly, the e-commerce website data needs localization. Though some companies have already started and are trying to make data available in major Indian languages, it is a humungous task! And companies are not aware of the complexities, rates, and processes involved in professional good quality localization. It’s the consumer who will need to drive this requirement though, as this twitter page clearly demonstrates: #ServeinMyLanguage
Among the various challenges faced in localizing content in Indian languages, the below can be listed as some of the most important!
1. Font issues – Lack of good quality, aesthetic and accurate fonts in Open Source format is a key concern. Most of the times DTP Software like Corel or Adobe Illustrator or Adobe FrameMaker do not work with Unicode and have problems with many TTF (True type) fonts too. Thanks to BIS’ mandate for all mobile phones to provide display in 22 Indian languages, reading Indian languages on electronic devices is getting closer to reality. However it needs to be noted that most of this technology has a basic flaw – one needs to know English to go to settings and choose the required language!! Thus it is the very purpose of providing multilingual support being defeated! Even though the phone language is local, most apps don’t support these languages and end up being in English!
2. Technical terminology: Technology related content in India uses English language most of the time. The technology never existed in India before, hence the absence of the apt terms in the Indian languages! Internet sources are also almost non-existent for terminological research and hence the translator either has to use English words in his/her local language or coin new terms which risk not being understood by the reader! Most of the times, popular ads provide perfect guidance on the transliterate/translate dilemma! Sometimes it becomes very difficult to understand the local word since many English words are regularly used in the local languages too! E.g. Table
3. Inadequacy of good quality translators and editors: this is especially true for rare languages like Assamese, Bodo, Dogri, etc. Most Indian universities do not offer graduate and post-graduate courses in Indian language translation. Therefore, anyone knowing the 2 languages can claim to be a “translator”. Translation between 2 Indian languages is a rarer scenario.. it is difficult to find good translators from Punjabi to Kannada, for example, and English has to be used as the intermediary language. In addition, Indian translators are either not aware of or cannot afford the CAT (Computer aided translation) tools, and thus translation agencies need to manage the translations in these tools on their own.
4. Localization - Quality language localization is much more than just translating the content of a mobile application or website to another language. It involves the idiosyncratic social and cultural, regional nuances and sensitivities that help the consumer feel safe and secure with using or buying the business product or service.
In a nation like India where regions, dialects, states and cultures are rich in number, localization is essential because every Indian individual has a different set of preferences depending on all above variants. Typically, after translation, localization involves the following steps, to mention a few:
· Adaptation of graphics to target markets
· Modification of content to suit the tastes and consumption habits of concerned markets
· Adaptation of design and layout to properly display translated text
· Conversion to local requirements (such as currencies, decimals and units of measurement)
· Usage of proper local formats for dates, addresses, and phone numbers
· Addressing local regulations and legal requirements
We address all such requirements of website localization. Some of the special features of website localization services from Language Services Bureau include:
· In-depth knowledge of the target language, culture, and the market due to which our website translation services generate a pleasant user experience and drive business results.
· Website translation services in any format as per client requirements.
· A specialized team of experts with up to date domain knowledge. (both in IT as well as in the subject matter of the website).
We have recently completed translation of the following websites into the languages as mentioned below.
http://www.speedydry.com/hindi-home.html - English to Hindi
http://www.jls-europe.de/- English into German, French, Spanish, Polish and Russian
We are proud and happy that our clients have seen an immediate jump in the number of inquiries from the target locales of these languages. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with us today at firstname.lastname@example.org
India ruling the App Market
India is one of the biggest players in the mobile app ecosystem. In terms of consumers and publishers, the country is among the leaders worldwide. We will deal with App localization in a separate blog in the upcoming months.
Written By Devaki Kunte