My 1st Experience with Localization

UK Localized Monopoly gameAt the risk of dating myself, I will share with our readers my first experience with localization.

In the early 70s, I received the Monopoly board game from a relative that had bought it in London. The game’s board was the British version and it included English-only instructions.

As a young child, I learned French and Arabic in school. I did not start learning English till I was 10. The game hence stayed unused for many weeks.

One day, my cousin who was educated at an Anglican school visited me, read the instructions and taught me how to play it. Before he left, he penciled on the chance cards in Arabic the pertinent info that I needed to be able to later play the game with my family and friends.

The board sported the British real-estate cards like Park Lane, Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square. Having not traveled nor lived in England yet, much of the names were unfamiliar to me. But I did not mind that so much since at least I could play the game.

A couple of years later, a new version was introduced specifically for my local country and language. The real-estate properties were places that I visited in person and knew very well. The currency that was used was no longer the British Pound, but the local currency! Also a full and accurate translation of the chance cards helped me get into the nuance of the game to better understand the risks and rewards of owning real-estate!

In short, the localized version heightened my playing experience to levels I had never experienced before with the simple translation that my cousin gratuitously performed. Within few weeks, every kid I knew owned one!

Parker Brothers (now Hasbro) understood the power of localization, and since then, released the game in hundreds of versions customized not only by country, but often by major cities. There were even custom versions made for major corporations.

That was my 1st experience with localization. Having understood its value at a young age, it was much easier for me to found GlobalVision years later, and make a career out of assisting others understand the power and value of localization.

What was your 1st experience with localization?
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