The Importance of QUALITY in Localisation
The word quality is defined by the dictionary in English, Italian, Portuguese, French and Spanish as:
- The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind
- A distinctive attribute or characteristic
However, Spanish speakers, no matter if they are from Spain or Latin America, use two different words to refer to ‘quality’: a) as an attribute for people and b) as a characteristic of a thing.
The Spanish dictionary defines the two words similarly:
3. Calidad (Quality): Property or set of inherent properties of a person or thing that allows appreciate (should this be a verb?) with respect to others of its kind.
4. Cualidad (Quality): Each of the circumstances or natural or acquired characteristics taht distinguish people or things
Grammatically in Spanish it is correct to use both words to refer to people or things and this applies also for English, Italian, Portuguese and French. But despite the fact the Spanish dictionary defines the two words similarly Spanish speakers use the word ‘calidad’ to refer to things and ‘cualidad’ to refer to people.
For the rest of the languages mentioned above the word Qualidade (Portuguese), Qualità (Italian), Qualité (French) and Quality (English) are used to refer to people and things both in writing and the spoken word.
One of our clients has asked us to research the demand for the keyword [cualidad de servicio] (quality of service) in the Spanish online market.
The amount of searches for this keyword was less than 10 local (Spain) searches a month. But for the keyword [calidad de servicio] this spiralled up to 210 local searches a month.
Although it is grammatically correct to use both words for the keyword, cultural language variations in the way the Hispanophone world write and speak can create an impact in your SEO or PPC campaign.
It is good practice that you do not optimise for a given market – you optimise it for the users in that given market. You do not optimise for a language but for how that language is spoken in a particular country, not generally speaking. The example above is but a small demonstration of how much cultural understanding (localisation) and not only language understanding (translation) is detrimental to the success of any SEO or PPC campaign in any given market.
By: Maria González and Rafael Ribeiro