Ever wanted to peek into how location-based technology has become essential to modern life? Just glance at your cab driver, checking the map on his phone before every turn. However, it’s not always a smooth drive with the maps (no pun intended). Apart from connectivity and network issues, language is often the main challenge, especially for those who are more comfortable with the local language. For instance, if your destination is a location that, perhaps, has been lost in translation and cannot be found on the map, then you’re in a soup. With more than 4000 written languages in the world (yes!), why on earth should something as critical as a map be limited to a few languages?
As globalization has become the essence of the omnichannel business landscape, there are a plethora of businesses that are looking for language-localization to connect with consumers in their preferred language. At the heart of the operational process of maps-based service-providers like cab aggregators, logistics, hyperlocal businesses, etc., lies the compelling need for translation and transliteration of maps. This would not only pave the way for regional adoption of maps, but also ensure increased ROI for local businesses, and unrivaled customer experiences. However, there are a couple of immediate challenges that need to be addressed in terms of both technology and competency levels.
Challenges for localization of maps
- One of the primary constraints of producing maps in local languages is the quality of the translation. There are instances when names of certain places cannot be translated into the local language and having them retained in English can make more sense. Again, at times, the text in the native language must be excluded to make it more relevant. As such, translation to a different language needs to be carefully proofed and checked.
- While many web-based translation tools are widely available, it is important to use a trusted source like native speakers, preferably those with geographic knowledge. For this, you need a strong combination of technology and human competence.
- For maps being presented in multiple languages, the labels need to fall in the same place on each version of the map. This means the space for the label needs to accommodate the name with maximum letters, ensuring that each label does not overprint another. Also, if a name is changed, it has to be updated in several different languages.