What Localization for Business Really Means

Localization: It’s a term that gets tossed around a lot, sometimes as a synonym for translation. But translation and localization aren’t the same thing.

The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) says, “Localization is the process of adapting a product or content to a specific locale or market. Translation is only one of several elements of the localization process.”

In a business context, here’s what that means:
Localization includes translation, but it also works with everything else in your content that has meaning: Pictures, colors, prices. Because these points are more subliminal, localization connects with consumers on a deeper level, improving their likelihood to buy.

For example, imagine you’re comparing sunglasses on two different eCommerce sites. On the first, the graphics look “weird,” prices aren’t in a currency you recognize, and you can’t read the language. On the second, everything you see–images, words, amounts–make sense to you. Which would you buy from? The second one, right?

You’re not alone: Common Sense Advisory reports that 75% of consumers agree or strongly agree that when faced with the choice of buying two similar products, they are more likely to purchase the one that has product information in their own language.

Businesses with the most international success are those that adapt content for customer culture, language, and etiquette. That’s why they use localization to customize currency, date formatting, units of measurement, and other details that translation alone won’t catch.

The ultimate goal of localization is creating a user experience that successfully drives your marketing strategy and business goals by connecting with consumers on a deeper level. So if your audience wants to be spoken to in their native language, then your business better listen if you expect to beat out the competition.