What is Localization & Why is it required?

what is localization
What is localization?

Localization, in broadcasting terms, refers to the process of creating compliant and culturally relevant versions of video assets for international markets. A successfully localized content is one that resonates with the local culture. Localization adapts to a specific audience and helps expand the customer base. The language used while creating content for a media asset might be insignificant if it’s not understood by people who don’t speak your language. With business across the world going great lengths to effectively communicate with their target audience, the process of localization ensures that the content written reads as though it was written by a native speaker, thereby providing great growth opportunities for content providers in foreign markets.

Localization serves as a catalyst that removes linguistic and/or cultural barriers that comes in the way of international success. Many a time, localizing the product or the service alone might not yield the desired results, as it would require the other materials relevant to the product also to be localized. Localization helps build brand awareness. The more the product or service is localized, the more customers become aware leading to increased sales. Top companies have always ensured that their brands are localized to ensure that they gain a smoother entry into the local market and thereby become a global hit.

Understanding cultural differences is probably the toughest part of localization, and this is more evident in video localization. With more than 100 million people watching videos online, user engagement has proven to be highly effective; and hence, more than ever, businesses must adapt strategies to increase accessibility and visibility of their video content. Localization in the form of captioning, subtitling, dubbing etc., allows users worldwide access to a variety of content. Apart from cultural sensitivities, some of the other points that need to be considered when localizing videos would be ensure that the content creates an international appeal to capture a global audience, and ensuring that the content is approved by an expert in the local dialect.

The Disney film ‘Inside Out’ is a great example of video content localization that gave importance to cultural sensitivities. The original US version of that movie shows the movie’s main character Riley throwing tantrums at her parents’ idea of eating broccoli for dinner. This scene perhaps is quite relatable to the US kids, but in Japan, kids love broccoli so much, and Japan is one amongst the countries that eat healthy. So, when Pixar localized the movie for the Japanese market, they replaced the broccoli with green peppers. This was specially done to accommodate the cultural differences of the Japanese audience.

Another instance where cultural sensitivities were respected pertains to the movie ‘Exorcist’, which was remade in Turkish. But in an effort to honour and be in alignment with the Turkish culture, the crew ensured that Catholicism was replaced by Islam to allow the Turkish audience to better relate with the film’s settings.

Localization does not necessarily mean word to word translation, but rather an adaptation of content to the language and cultural preferences of the target area. This helps the product get a new version, reaches out a larger number of audiences, and boost brand prominence. Despite the few limitations it has, localization paves way for international success.