What is localization? Translation vs localization

If you own a business, communication is key to profit. When your customer base resides in your own country, marketing is a lot easier and intuitive. At the end of the day, aligning with a certain culture help you communicate and sell to locales. But 75% of global population doesn’t speak English. You may have heard about localization then.

Localization is adapting your content for local audiences. More specifically you may want to adapt to different cultures and markets the content you originally created for your primary market.

What will local audiences will think about your business communication? Actually the purpose of localization is to center your message on a specific culture. The whole content, including images, currencies, cultural elements and links, should fit a specific culture and locale.

Translation vs localization

Simply put, translation process consists in converting a text from one language to another while localizing means adapting a content to a specific culture and locale. Obviously localization requires a bigger effort in making the meaning suitable for a different audience.

What is localization: translation blunders

The same sentence, translated into chinese or french, can have a different meaning, or a different impact.

When translation goes wrong, it can sound awkward or even embarassing

A case in point: American Airlines slogan ‘Fly in leather’ (to promote their luxurious leather seats in first class) translated to ‘Fly naked’ in South Africa…. Not quite the message the company had been trying to get across!

You definitely want to avoid these translation blunders. And that’s where l10n, (the acronym for localization), comes in.

How to avoid losing sales and damaging your brand

When you understand how tragic it could be for your business to fail localization, you might wonder what’s the best approach to avoid these potential drawbacks. 

It’s important to hire not just translators but localization specialists

If you’re scaling to grow your revenues, you might want to hire a localization expert for Italy. It will be an investment that pays itself.

Impact on sales

A properly localized product description makes your product more accessible, appealing and desirable for local customers. Therefore localization can unlock sale potential, a higher conversion rate, a better image for your brand abroad, and much more.

In Italy, most customers are willing to interact with webpages in their native language. So if you are looking to grow your audience here, localization is key.

How to localize web content: tips and best practices

Translation blunders may be quite rare. But offering familiar content to users is crucial to make sales. Anything should look relevant from written copy to images, videos, links. Even currencies and payment methods available. 

What is localization: everyone is welcome

Let’s say that a chinese citizen is familiar with a certain design for online shops. If your style looks very different, he might have trouble understanding what’s going on, and might leave your page before buying anything! That’s why the pros localize everything they can, in order to reap the benefits later. 

In general, each sort of content, being legal content, technical content, brand content, ecc. will need a different kind of localization.

How to localize your website?

This is where to start:

  • Hire local language specialists
  • Create an international website
  • Consider using a Translation Management System
  • Create a style guide for your translators
  • Remember to provide context to your team
  • Have your content translated and localized (written copy, images, links, videos, etc.)
  • Localize elements such as currency, decimals, punctuation and date formats
  • Adjust layouts for different languages (i.e. some might need more space)

Some more localization tips:

  • Tap into local language experts to create your localization team. No one knows a local culture better than locals.
  • Focus on your local identity and offer a custom experience for any region.
  • Connect with customers and become part of the local community.
Go one step further than translation and localize your content!

We are a team of translators, marketers, copyrighters and SEO specialist located in Italy. Are you looking to have your website/blog/campaign localized and centered for the italian audience? We’re ready to help.