ORCKID's client list stretches right around the world, and we are regularly producing content in many of the 38 different languages we support. We have been doing this for over 30 years.

With that kind of experience, our clients know that we can help with any localisation issues. We have developed a fool-proof process for putting together non-English products. Using simple but effective tags in the localisation script, we can clearly signpost where text needs to be localised and what it will be used for.

It is the key to the multi-lingual platforms we have created for retail, which allow shoppers to switch between different languages at will.

Going local

Our process really came in handy on an eLearning project destined for roll-out in China. While under deadline pressure, the translation agent had interpreted both the voiceover script and on-screen text into simplified Chinese. It should instead have used Mandarin, China’s most widely-spoken dialect, when working on the voice dialogue.

We reverted to our localisation system and re-submitted the Chinese script for corrected localisation, with our signposting further emphasised. Finally, we submitted the script to representatives in China for approval.

Our rivals often skip this local approval step, but we believe it is essential to building a product that truly speaks to its users. There are so many nuances, and tiny changes made every few weeks to a complex modern tongue, that anyone who has been away from a country for a decade or more is unlikely to sound authentic.

Sayings, meanings and slogans change all the time, and even trademarks aren’t universal. Other issues are more nuanced. While talking about a fully “immersive” 3D experience sounds natural to us, it may not work in China, where immersion would apply to being submerged under water.

Translation vs localisation

That’s why we make a distinction between translation and localisation. The former is simply transposing words, but the latter is focused on meaning, and conveying our client’s message in the most appropriate manner for their audience. We want to make sure that the end product really speaks to the target market.

Where Chinese, Japanese or Arabic are concerned, we also need to consider how the content is laid out on screen. When working with European languages, it’s fairly easy to see where sentences sit and how paragraphs align, but that’s not the case with non-Latin scripts where paragraphs must be sensibly laid out.

We make sure these variations can be accommodated in our designs. If we are working on a multi-language product, there will inevitably be further considerations, since more space might be needed for a Latin script, and we don’t want the result to look gappy or unbalanced.

Decades of experience

The Chinese project was finally delivered successfully. The client was happy, and so were we.

Our skills lie in not being afraid of foreign languages. We have been localising since 1987, and can anticipate – and avoid – any potential issue. This makes us uniquely flexible, and should a client ask us to add a 39th language to our repertoire it would be barely more concerning than working directly with English.