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What is localization?

Localization is the concept of adapting content or products to a specific market or locale. The aim of this process is to give something a localized look and feel of having been specifically created for a particular culture, language, or geographic location. Put simply, localization ensures that the local target market audience will recognize and even expect what’s being offered to them.

What is the process of localization?

There are many elements involved in the process of localization. The main, most obvious factor relates to translation of the product’s description, accompanying text and/or content. However, localization is larger than just an accurate, word-for-word translation; both the translation and tone being presented need to capture each culture’s unique history, trends, tastes, and customs to effectively reach and resonate with that target market.

Otherwise, your localization efforts could fail. We all remember the cautionary tale of when Chevrolet tried to introduce its Chevy Nova in Latin America. Consumers were turned off because “no va” in Spanish means “no go.”

So, in addition to translating written texts or names, other important elements that your localization process should focus on may include:

  • Modifying the content and graphics in all marketing, training and product materials to suit the respective tastes, buying and user habits of each target market

  • Adapting design and layout of materials and websites to display translated, altered text

  • Converting to local units of measure and currencies

  • Using the local formats for dates, time, addresses, and phone numbers

  • Using local dialects and preferred English spelling (British English? American English? etc.)

  • Addressing local legal requirements and regulations, especially in tech industries

One of the most essential steps in localization is creating a geographically specific website. To do so, you can utilize Wix’s multilingual website tools which can help you build and grow your site for any given region.


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Why is localization important?

For any business that is trying to enter a global market, localization is key in helping them reach and attract a global audience. The process helps customize products and/or services and their accompanying product information by modifying them into a more familiar and accessible language and tone. Doing so will help your business establish credibility, which can lead to long-term sales and growth.

While localization is important for all industries, there may be certain industry domains where it is more prominent than others. For example, in today’s tech-driven era, localization has become increasingly central to global business strategies of tech and software related companies. For example, software localization is needed to address unique tech and linguistic challenges when adapting software to different markets and languages.

Benefits of localization

Effectively using localization to expand your company’s reach to global audiences has additional benefits as a marketing strategy. These may include:

01. Widens your brand awareness. Successfully localizing your products or services in foreign markets will expand your brand awareness. Localization of your branding and marketing campaigns will help build trust among new audiences, which is a necessary step to convert potential leads into loyal customers.

02. Safeguards your reputation. In today’s digitally interconnected era, when consumer demand and feedback is instantaneous and inescapable, and cultural awareness for diversity is at the forefront of global movements, it’s vital to avoid accidentally offending any particular group or culture. Localization will ensure that your brand understands and respects social norms and rules of each new market it enters. Getting the tone and marketing right every time will safeguard your reputation.

03. Boosts customer satisfaction. Localization helps you attract new customers and keep them. If you make efforts to get to know and meet customers’ unique needs in each new market, they will feel like what they receive from you has been customized just for them. This will boost their satisfaction and engagement.

Challenges of localization

Challenges associated with localization include managing multiple languages and cultures, ensuring brand consistency and quality across localized content, addressing legal and compliance issues and dealing with the complexities of different markets.

Localization FAQ

What's the difference between translation and localization?

Translation is a subset of localization. Translation focuses on converting content from one language to another, localization encompasses a broader range of modifications, including adapting content to cultural norms, local regulations and market expectations.

What does internationalism mean in the context of localization?

How does a need for localization affect website design?


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Related Term

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