Although rock- and pop-stars don’t seem to be the most logical teachers in the field of localization, they are actually masters in it. International superstars know how to inspire local audiences. And their way to do it can also be adapted to software localization. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a closer look at a typical rock concert to see how it is localized.

1. Show that you know where you are

No matter what a cliche it is, every performer always remembers to mention the place/city/country where the concert is played. And every time the audience is jumping and screaming for joy because their idol knows the place (at least by name). The localization effort is small but the effect is huge.
Localization Takeaway: People like to feel that something is made just for them. Every detail showing that the software is designed for someone else adds some negative feelings. So make sure that measures, dates, currencies etc. are the right ones for your audience. Don’t say “Hello London!!!” in Chicago!

2. Speak the same language with your audience

After showing that they know where they are performing in, the next step for rock- or pop-stars is to say a phrase in the language their audience knows best. This way the audience sees that their idol is ready to make something special for that specific concert. The effort will be noticed.
Localization Takeaway: The idea behind all localization efforts is that for most people, it is easier to use a software with their own language. And, what is maybe even more important, feelings are strongly tied to a language. Localization of the software language is a step towards more emotionally involved audience.

3. Add some cultural features

Rock concerts are not only about audio but also about visuality. The experience is more intense if the message is delivered through more than one sense. Thus most hard core localization guru rock-stars buy and wear some clothes or accessories or other items made by a local brand during the show.
Localization Takeaway: Depending on the software type, there are usually more or less things which can be culturally localized. Good and relatively easily localizabile things are such as colours, flags, names and symbols. Product placement, which is already popular in video games, is one of the most advanced way to do this. Check your software through culturally tuned glasses to see the localization possibilities, or to find the (too) strong cultural features which can be neutralized.

4. Use local staff

Best concerts are organized by local people. They know how things are handled and which practises are the best. Ticket sales, marketing, promotions, security, permits, venue, rules, the law.. There are million things to think about, and local partners ease the job significantly.
Localization Takeaway: If you aren’t a Spaniard or an American or a Finn or any other nationality, you cannot think like one. The best software localization quality is achieved with co-operation. Find the best local resources for your project.

And all the time the core thing is the same in every concert in every country. They play the same hits and songs, perform the same choreography and use the same outfits. Likewise the main functionalities of a software are the same in every country. Only the “package” is localized. However content is still the king, and a pretty package can fool only little.

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