Building Your Localization Strategy
In a world that has turned into a global village, do you think localizing is an option anymore? If your answer was yes, then you are so behind.
There are over 230 countries in the world, with 147 currencies, 14 time zones and 6,700 different languages. Do you think you could cater to all such a diverse market using just one language?
If English is your first language, people probably speak to you in your native language, even if it is not their mother tongue. It is not unexpected to assume that it is true for everyone, but it isn’t.
Lack of localization puts a lot of people at a linguistic disadvantage as well as having a social-cultural impact. For instance, if your academic website uses purple as the primary color, in Brazil it will be correlated with death.
What is all this fuss about e-learning?
Education has been very traditional for a good part of history. There is a room, there is a chair, there is a teacher, there is a student and of course, the physical presence is not even a question.
But then, the internet happened and everything, as we knew it, changed drastically. And now anyone with an internet connection can gain knowledge without moving physically.
Okay, so we get e-learning but what is with the localization part?
E-learning localization is the process through which a course is adapted to a certain market, its language and its culture. It includes customization of the graphics and colors as well, not just the translation.
E-Learning translation and e-learning localization need to go side by side in order to be effective. It includes not only localizing the contents of the course but also all the relevant material such as the academic website.
Failure to localize an academic website has a lot of demerits.
Demerits of Not Localizing e-learning
E-learning and localization are growing in popularity side by side. To not have these two merged would be a great shame. Here are some other things you will be missing out on if you keep resisting localization.
Do you know only about one-third of the entire population speaks English? And there are markets that work in their native languages only.
Localization helps you widen your reach into the global market. The whole point of e-learning is to spread knowledge in a way that is easier.
What good is that if its legs are cut off from under it by the language barrier?
Failure to Achieve Goals for the Whole Audience
An equal starting point is how you ensure that everyone gets an equal chance of learning.
When you design an e-learning course, you have a purpose in mind. This purpose is likely achieved when the knowledge in the course is propagated, understood, and implemented.
When you flow this information through the channel of only one language, everyone doesn’t get an equal chance of thorough understanding.
You may achieve your goal for a certain number of audience, but due to the diversity, a lot of them are left behind.
Lack of Retention Due to Lack of Relatability
English serves as a second language for many people but is still the second language. People may be able to understand what is being told to them in English, but with the whole mental translation process, it may be hard to retain.
When a process uses references from the culture of the market and makes the content somehow relatable, it is not only easy to understand but also easier to remember.
Localization helps you adapt your course to the best of your audience’s understanding, for instance inculcating the culture, names, traditions, etc.
Lack of Inclusive Culture
The world is changing into a more flexible and empowered culture. Rather than the knowledge be pushed to the masses, it is now being pulled by them. This makes learning and decision on the e-learning material voluntary.
It is very unlikely that the people, who speak languages other than English, will be inclined towards pulling a course that is not in their language. It will make them feel as if the course were made for someone else, and they won’t feel included.
This lack of inclusion can cost you the majority of your potential market. Instead of spreading the course around the world, you will end up alienating the market.
People who speak English as their second language often have trouble translating and understanding the content that is given to them.
When you are catering to a global audience, you are opening your doors for a very diverse market.
However, in order to be effective, you have to ensure that the message gets across to everyone.
When the audience is left on their own to help themselves and translate, there is a great chance that the original message gets distorted. This can lead to a problematic inconsistency in the original information.
- Insubordination of the Law
In some countries, where more than one language is used, it is the law to make everything available in all the respective languages.
When you design an academic website only in English, it can open you up to pretty serious legal action.
So localization has become a legal requirement in many countries. Neglecting it can cause you serious trouble with the law.
If you are thinking you would rather just make other websites in the languages to cater to the global audience, you can go ahead and give it a go.
What you will soon realize is that it is very expensive and you probably can’t afford the extra budget. Especially not if there is an easier more cost-effective way i.e. localization.
A website is a window into your business. If your academic website is not localized, it would not matter that your courses are. Because the audience will not know it.
If you want to cater to the global audience and not experience the demerits of sticking to one language then localize!