AI localization: The transformative role of Artificial Intelligence

AI and localization are two distinct fields that intersect to enhance global communication and connect businesses with diverse audiences worldwide.

Localization refers to the process of adapting content, products, or services to suit the linguistic, cultural, and functional requirements of a specific target market or audience. AI, on the other hand, involves the simulation of human intelligence in machines, enabling them to perform tasks that typically require human cognitive abilities.

The use of AI localization offers several benefits and efficiencies. In this article, we’ll discuss its capabilities but also its limitations.

How AI localization contributes to the industry

AI and localization represent a powerful combination that has transformed the way businesses connect with global audiences. Localization involves adapting content, products, or services to suit the linguistic, cultural, and functional requirements of a specific target market or audience.

According to Nimdzi, 9 out of 10 people say that they would disregard a product if it is not available in their native language. As such, localization is crucial for businesses that want to target a specific market or audience. AI can significantly speed up the process and improve consistency.

AI-driven machine translation technologies, like neural machine translation (NMT), have significantly improved translation accuracy and efficiency. These systems can process vast amounts of multilingual content quickly, allowing companies to translate their websites, product descriptions, manuals, and other materials into multiple languages with greater speed and consistency.

AI can assist in the extraction and analysis of content from various sources, such as social media, customer reviews, and forums, to gain insights into customer preferences and cultural nuances. This information can be valuable for creating targeted and culturally relevant localized content.

AI can analyze localization data to provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of localized content and marketing strategies in different regions. This information can guide businesses in making informed decisions for future localization efforts.

AI-powered QA tools are utilized to check the accuracy and quality of localized content. These tools can automatically identify potential issues such as mistranslations, inconsistencies, and adherence to style guides, helping to reduce human errors and ensure linguistic and cultural appropriateness.

AI systems can also assist in managing and maintaining terminology consistency across different translation projects. This helps maintain brand identity and ensures that technical terms are correctly translated and used consistently across languages.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques enable AI systems to better understand human language, allowing for more sophisticated translation and localization processes. It helps in handling complex sentence structures, idiomatic expressions, and context-specific meanings.

AI can also help with the Localization of User Interfaces (UI) and User Experience (UX). It can be used to adapt software applications and websites to suit the language and cultural preferences of the target audience. This includes not only translating text but also adjusting UI elements, graphics, and date formats to ensure a seamless user experience.

For businesses operating internationally, AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can provide customer support in multiple languages, enabling real-time communication with customers around the world.

Large businesses already leverage AI localization

Google’s machine translation service, Google Translate, is one of the most widely used AI-powered translation tools globally. Google leverages AI and neural machine translation to provide translations for text, websites, and other content in multiple languages. Specialized localization management platforms integrate such translation tools into their offering to streamline their use for business, making it easy to achieve a continuous localization workflow.

Microsoft incorporates AI and machine learning in its localization strategy for products like Microsoft Office and Windows. They utilize AI-powered translation services and language technologies to reach global users effectively.

Amazon is another example of a company that uses AI in its localization efforts to offer product information, customer support, and user interfaces in various languages across its international marketplaces.

Meta employs AI to enable multilingual communication on its social media platform. AI-driven language translation helps users understand and communicate with people from different language backgrounds.
Netflix uses AI-driven subtitling and dubbing to provide localized content in multiple languages for its global audience. AI helps streamline the subtitling process and ensures that viewers can enjoy content in their preferred language.

The limitations of AI in localization

While artificial intelligence has made significant advancements in the field of localization, it still has some limitations. These AI localization limitations usually impact the accuracy, efficiency, and cultural appropriateness of localized content.

AI may struggle to understand context-specific nuances, cultural references, and idiomatic expressions, leading to inaccuracies in translations or localized content. Language often relies on the surrounding context, which can be challenging for AI models to fully grasp.

AI may not be adept at recognizing and adapting content to suit the cultural sensitivities and preferences of different regions. Localization requires a deep understanding of cultural norms, which AI systems may not fully possess without extensive training and data. AI also lacks human emotions and creativity. This makes it difficult for AI systems to convey emotions effectively or create content that requires artistic or creative flair, such as marketing slogans or advertisements.

While AI has made progress in supporting numerous languages, some languages may have limited resources and training data available, leading to less accurate translations or localization in those languages. Furthermore, AI-generated translations may still require human post-editing to ensure quality, accuracy, and cultural appropriateness. This adds an additional step to the localization process.

AI models can also produce unexpected errors or biases, particularly if the training data contains biases or if the model encounters linguistic structures it has not been exposed to during training. AI models need to be continuously updated and refined to keep up with evolving languages, cultural changes, and new terminology.

Wrapping it up

Localization and AI join forces to create a dynamic duo, breaking language barriers and fostering global connections. AI can streamline processes, reduce costs, enhance translation quality, and enable businesses to reach global audiences more effectively.

Despite its current shortcoming, as this technology continues to advance, it is likely that the role of AI in localization will only grow, making localization more efficient, accurate, and culturally sensitive.