Localization & Globalization Can Cause a Loss in Translation

Photos of Raul Colon Web Developer Puerto Rico

In many occasions you have various companies dealing with issues because they set up their website as a global effort without taking into consideration how different even one language can be for many individuals.

I Thought I Gave you a Compliment?

When I was in the U.S. Army I remember visiting Honduras and El Salvador and experiencing how many of my words where used differently. I remember someone calling one of my team members a “Cabron” which in Honduras means that he is funny but in Puerto Rico it means that your wife is cheating on you. A big difference in what only one word meant in one place when switching to another.

Be Careful with What Others Understand

In El Salvador I remember an international incident aligned with one of my Team Members a 6’4″ Staff Sergeant calling one of the 5’1″ Military Policeman from el Salvador a Gallito . In Puerto Rico when you want to say someone is a stud you might use the word Gallito to say that you put all bets on him. In El Salvador for some reason the way my Staff Sergeant was using the word meant a female body part. I guess the fact that our team member was 6’4″ and the other guy 5’1″ also added to the misunderstanding the Military policeman thinking he was also making fun of him because he was short.

Thankfully in the two previous situations we were there to make sure that we could clear up the misunderstanding and all parties grew in vocabulary knowledge and understanding each other’s culture.

Different Online

We all have a websites to take care of, customers to support and recruit new business 24/7. The problem is that when you set up a website based on language you need to make sure that whoever has access to it can understand what you mean.

I see it every time with websites translated in Spanish where an on-line Translator was used. I have captured applications that were translated and clearly don’t allow me to take any further action given the confusion they cause with the wording they used.

You can Fix It faster Offline

Misunderstandings offline are fairly common but at least you have an opportunity to clear them up. On-line your possible customer or visitor left your website because he clearly did not understand what you wanted him to do.

We are constantly revising our content and improving it. Although we are a small business, we know it is critical to create content that is understandable by many. This opens up the opportunity of us offering services not only locally but globally. Trying to keep our content  as understandable as possible to as many as possible without having it lose our identity is no easy task.

We will start a series of posts on the importance of creating content in various languages an the adequate steps to take to make that happen.

Do you have any experiences you wish to share where you read something online and it mislead you or might have even insulted you?

 by rwkvisual