Translation localization

Translation localization service

Why does internationalization need localization? What is it, and what is it used for?

Signewords content translation localization

In the run-up to Christmas in 2003, a Toyota advertising campaign aimed at launching two new models on the Chinese market came close to causing an international conflict:

  • There was a reason: they didn’t use a proper content translation localization service.
  • The advertisement they printed in newspapers and magazines showed traditional Chinese lions saluting the Prado X SUV as it passed.
  • The image incited a wave of protests against what they interpreted as a terrible lack of respect towards a country that Japanese troops invaded in 1937.
  • To finish this incident, the top management of Toyota had to apologize for the “humiliating” advertisement publicity and remove it from the 30 media outlets where it would be published.

Caution when localizing translations

Marketing lectures usually refer to other infamous cases of slip-ups with a lack of translation localization, such as:

  • Braniff Airlines invited its passengers to “Fly in Leather” when they decided to translate Spanish with the literal “Volar en cuero, meaning “Fly naked.”
  • Or the Chevrolet model Chevy Nova, which they had to rename on the Hispanic market as Chevy Caribe.
  • And even more complicated was the case of Vicks, when launching its VapoRub product in Germany, as it failed to consider that they had to translate German and consequently pronounce the V as an F,

which turned the brand name into an insult that could be represented graphically with the middle finger

Multilingual websites translation and localization

In our post about the translation of multilingual sites, we discuss the importance of rigorous and flexible translations of your website’s international versions.

The adaptation of texts is part of localization work, which consists of an exhaustive analysis of the product and all that it entails from different perspectives:

  • linguistic
  • sociocultural
  • legal-political

The linguist or team that carries out this type of work not only needs to have a good command of the destination country’s language,

  • but they must also have extensive knowledge about its:
    • history
    • culture
    • politics

➤ And know it:

  • street slang
  • folklore

Signewords website localization

The association with:

  • a word
  • a name
  • a surname
  • a joke
  • an unpleasant case


  • determine the image of your campaign
  • prevent it from attaining its objectives

On the other hand, good advice about the choice of:

  • words
  • images
  • ideas

can help you win over the hearts of potential consumers.

Advertising campaigns

Signewords marketing localization

A professional localization service encompasses the analysis of the following:

  • The advertising campaign.
  • All the texts intended to circulate on the foreign market:
    • interface
    • catalogs
    • instructions
  • Search engine optimization and the selection of keywords.
  • In-depth checking of:
    • forms,
    • warning messages,
    • etc.

The specialists in charge of carrying out these tasks:

Signewords internacionalize companies

  • not only consider the particularities of each language or country
  • they also find the regional difference.

This analysis can be of great importance in areas as diverse as:

  • South America
  • China
  • India
  • Canada

Internationalization processes

In an internationalization process, you can never be careful enough, and any carelessness could result in losses or even lead to failure:

  • As the best Parker pen producers noted: “Won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.”
  • Unfortunately, their content translation localization service for the Mexican market let them down.
  • A pen that was never meant to leave the company in embarrassing situations caused severe problems with the poorly translated slogan in Spanish: “No goteará en tu bolsillo ni te embarazará.”
  • The translation reads, “Won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”

Be that as it may, culture today is global, and it’s a snap to adopt wrong clichés when localizing a translation.

Therefore, rather than figuring out how the target audience is according to the country where they settle, let’s dig up more details, such as:

  • age,
  • educational level,
  • interests,
  • if they have traveled,
  • or if they have lived in foreign countries,
  • among many other considerations.

Here’s a possible situation:

  1. An Australian English native writer aims at a native Urdu audience that responds to their same trait regarding age and cultural interests.
  2. We see that this way, they might share interests, listen to the same music, read the same books, and watch the same movies and tv shows. In definitive, they might have the same cultural references.
  3. Consequently, if this English native writer adapts the content to the Urdu audience, striving to identify supposed separate cultural references,

the well-meant adaptation produces a contradiction, as instead of bringing the content closer to the target audience, this counterproductive effort sets them apart!

If you want to avoid awkward situations like the previous, make sure you hire a skilled translation service that gives localization the importance it certainly has, as we do at SIGNEWORDS!