Localization (l10n)

Localization (l10n) is the process of culturally adapting products or services to make them speak the same language as the potential customer in the target market. It is an important endeavor for any business seeking international growth by going global, but its impact often comes to light only when it is done badly.

Language or country-specific localization – what is the difference?

Localization ensures that a product or service aligns with a regional or language market in that it goes beyond mere translation. Factors, such as local or regional culture, social background, and accessibility for specific target audiences play a crucial role in its success. For this reason, localization may aim for different output results depending on the target market.

For example, it does not have to be confined to geographic markets. Businesses may localize for ethnic groups within their native country, especially as multilingual populations increase globally. Likewise, it can result in different localized versions addressing different regions in the same foreign-language market.

When it comes to big markets, localization for the languages mostly spoken in that market can help your success. It is important to note that different locales have different versions of the same language. For example, the Spanish spoken in Mexico differs from the Spanish in Argentina. Localization factors this in.

Localization does take the multi-cultural aspect of the globalized world into account. It is not so much bound by limitations that arise from specific countries. It is much more focused on accessibility and comprehensibility for the target audience in order to create trust with that potential consumer base while maintaining a positive reputation for the provider of a product or service.

Why is localization indispensable for global success?

In order to accurately localize a product, a preparatory step called internationalization (i18n) needs to take place first. This enables the product to accept different forms of data as well as different settings to match local customs. Date, time and currency formatting, reading direction, character limitations, or space expansion are only a few aspects to developing software that need to be taken into account for consumers to relate to it and use it conveniently.

From a linguistic perspective, localization might involve a higher degree of creativity and originality for the translated output, as it aims to evoke the same feeling and relatability in the audience. Localization results in a product or content that cannot be identified as something which originated in a different language. This means the user, lead, or customer will compare it to native offers, and find no difference in understanding, requesting, purchasing, and using your product or service.

In other words, localization is indispensable for global success. It helps businesses not only to connect with the respective marketplace and its players, but also ensures that your credibility, quality, and support will be well received by the target audience. If a potential buyer or user does not understand all the content that comes with your product offer, acceptance is less likely. If your online shop does not respect the local formatting and flow for purchasing online, it can be a signal that the product is of lesser quality or even illegitimate.

What benefits does localization have?

Localization is a critical function for global expansion. Foreign or regional markets with low conversion rates can be turned into more viable opportunities. Humans thrive on being able to understand and be understood. This plays a crucial role in the buying process. Localization will ensure that the use, navigation, comprehension, and purchasing of your product or service guarantee global reach with high conversion rates.

Localization should be an essential process within your product launch and distribution strategies and an important factor for an increase in revenue. The investment into localization pays back quickly and continuously. It helps you to build your global consumer base with a solid foundation right from the start.