Bosnian and Kazakh on the Localization Map

Besides "traditional" target languages for translation and localization, there is an ever-changing set of "emerging" ones. In the region of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), for instance, the early 1990s brought the first wave of CEE languages for translation and localization, due to the political changes resulting in a rapid introduction of new products to the new market economies. Polish, Russian, Czech, Hungarian, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian have since then been considered standard target languages by most producers. In the early stages, though, each language will present fresh challenges to translators and localizers.

Two languages that recently made it onto the localization map - and are set to stay there - are Bosnian of southeastern Europe and Kazakh of Central Asia. There are different drivers for the growth of these languages, and each exists in a different context, but they certainly share some issues associated with their rapid development. This article aims to bring some insights into what is happening with these languages and what caused them to catch the attention of many marketers worldwide.

The end-client perspective

In general, there are three basic reasons why companies decide to launch localized products onto a new market. There is an immediate demand from the user community and customers; the decision is part of a long-term strategy of market preparation; or there are political reasons. And these three reasons can be combined. Arguably, the more the politics influence the decision, the more difficult it is to build a working translation solution for a given language.

Political drivers of localization efforts may originate from local governments playing the nationalist card, typically supporting translation/localization as a tool of distinction from other languages. Or, for the newly born or recently reborn nations, language plays a very important role in building national identity. Seemingly linguistic disputes may in fact substitute political topics. Another reason could be simply the interest to maintain the language as a living one. Languages such as Welsh or Gaelic, whose development is heavily supported by governmental bodies, are well-known examples.


To continue reading, please download the full PDF version of this article, published in MultiLingual Computing magazine #94.

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