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Translation and localization are all about improving people’s lives. That may sound like a sweeping statement, but when you get down to the crux of the matter, localization is about tailoring your content, whether it’s a mobile app, technical manual or soundtrack to the end user. AccuWeather, the world’s leading provider of weather information, has a mission that’s very much like ours: to serve the end user with the best possible experience.

If you’re anything like me, you probably take the fact that you can get live weather information via your mobile or laptop whenever you want it for granted. But for those living in far-flung corners of the globe, access to this vital data hasn’t always been as easy as opening an app. AccuWeather wanted to make it just as easy for someone in San Jose to access accurate weather reports as it is for someone in Sacramento. And that’s where we came in.

AccuWeather’s requirements were twofold: they needed to localize their offering and gain an in-depth understanding of their users’ preferences and needs.

To do this, our translators and developers worked alongside their project managers to customize and localize their digital assets. This entailed the translation and localization of source code, copy and interfaces to ensure that they were built accurately across different markets, consisting of over 100 languages and dialects. Also known as hyper-localization, our goal was to help AccuWeather tailor real-time weather data to the user’s device, location, language and dialect.

Cultural preferences and the unique needs of users dictated how we approached the translation and localization of raw data.

It’s not just the weather that differs by region, but the way we describe it too. In order for AccuWeather to provide every single user with detailed forecasts, it was crucial that all copy was crystal-clear, and UX-friendly. Achieving this required an in-depth understanding of the unique ways a culture uses language to understand the weather, while bearing in mind that the wording of this had to easily display on any screen – mobile or PC. For example, English speaking users easily understand the phrase “chance for a flurry”. Translate this into Polish, and you get “Prawdopodobieństwo lekkich opadów śniegu” – a massive 40 characters compared to 17, rendering the phrase too long for mobile display and convenient consumption.

Another factor that required careful consideration when localizing AccuWeather’s digital assets is that fact that there’s not always an equivalent term or phrase for its English counterpart.

This is where cultural context plays a massive role in the translation and localization process. For example, when it comes to an affinity for describing snow, the Eskimo languages Inuit and Yupik (as well as their various dialects) have it down to a fine art; they have over a dozen terms to describe snow. Some mean powdery snow, some mean wet snow, and others mean heavy snow. It’s these tiny but oh-so-important details that can complicate translation and localization efforts for many a business if they’re not addressed with in-depth and extensive knowledge of the cultural context at hand.

Transforming weather data into actionable information requires a myriad of considerations and importantly, the combination of skills and expertise.

AccuWeather specialize in weather, while we specialize in localization. By partnering with them, we were able to combine our relative areas of expertise and achieve their goal of providing accurate weather information on demand to all. This ongoing collaboration will see even more innovation to come, as we continue to work together to personalize the weather in the most effective and impactful way possible.

Read more about our partnership with AccuWeather by downloading our case study here.

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