localization is more than translation

When expanding a business into new international markets, all business owners come across the term “localization”. But many are unaware of the depth of that term or the segments involved in the whole “localization” process.

Localization as a term can be defined as the process of adapting a product or service of a business for a specific region and country. This means adjusting the positioning, strategy, promotional or website texts, images, sounds, design elements, and all elements that define the product/service as an entity to the audience, to match the cultural norms and preferences of that country or market.

So as you can clearly see from the definition, that is way beyond “just translation” which it is usually confused with.

For a business planning to expand its reach to new international markets, it is essential to focus on the right localization efforts to ensure long-term success. And here as mentioned, localization is much more than translation – it involves consumer research, marketing strategy, an understanding of consumer traits and cultural aspects, local SEO and ads knowledge, finding the right local PR and media strategists, and sometimes even working with regional social media influencers.

Ignoring the importance of the term can lead to major problems down the road, such as unsuccessful business expansion strategies, loss of market share, or even complete withdrawal from the market. We’ve seen it happen time and time again. Businesses that don’t take the time to understand the nuances of their target market almost always fail.

Why does Localization matter?

To put it simply, localization is vital for businesses expanding into new international markets because it allows them to better understand and serve their target consumers.

It’s not enough to just “translate” your content and expect that people in other countries will automatically understand and connect with your brand. Localization goes much deeper than that. It’s about understanding the culture, customs, and mentality of people in other countries and then creating content that appeals to them on a personal level.

For example, let’s say you’re a U.S.-based fashion brand that wants to expand into Japan. simply translating your website into Japanese is not going to be enough. You need to do extensive research on Japanese fashion trends, what kind of clothing Japanese women are interested in, what colors and styles are popular, etc. Only then will you be able to create a localized version of your website that resonates with Japanese consumers.

It’s a comprehensive process that if done well can mean hundreds of millions in new revenue but if localization efforts are not tailored to specific regions, a business risk becoming another casualty of poorly executed international expansion.   

Let’s look at a few of the aspects and segments that localization encompasses:

It involves market research

Any business looking to expand internationally and focusing on localization must first invest in research of the target market. This might seem like an obvious step but you would be surprised how many companies try to enter new markets without fully understanding the cultural nuances and differences. Different regions have different customs, languages, and religions and what might work as a marketing strategy in one country could be completely inappropriate in another. Prior to investing any significant resources into an international expansion, be sure to have a solid understanding of the target region through intensive research.  

Building a local marketing strategy and messages

Once you have a strong understanding of your target market, you will also need to develop an effective marketing strategy for the region. This means taking into account cultural differences as well as specific trends and preferences in the region. For example, while Google SEO strategies might work well in the U.S., they may be completely ineffective in certain Asian countries like China, where Google is not as widely used and search engines like Baidu and even searches generated from their local search platforms like WeChat & Sina Weibo have a much bigger impact on search results.

As a part of ensuring a solid foundation for your international marketing strategy, it’s also important to start thinking about how you’re going to customize your message for each region or in a way decide on how you want your product/service to be perceived in your new markets. This is where most businesses get tripped up because they’ve invested all their resources into research but failed to consider how they will need to tweak their message for each different market they enter. The good news is that if you’ve done your research properly and have put in effort in understanding their cultural traits and trends, then this part should be relatively easy. Simply put yourself in the shoes of your target customer and think about what kind of messaging would resonate with them the most. 

After all, effective marketing is all about understanding your target audience and craftily delivering a message that speaks to them on both an emotional and rational level. So whether you’re planning on using above-the-line or below-the-line marketing efforts, make sure your message is clear and customized for each regional market. 

Content translation in the local language with a focus on cultural aspects

This is definitely one of the major important aspects of localization that businesses need to master. Content translation forms a major part of your localization strategy as it gives you an edge in connecting with your target audience on a more personalized level.

Content translation can involve all forms of textual materials that are involved in the promotional aspect of your product/service. This includes marketing and sales materials like advertising materials, brochures, flyers, packaging, website content and all other related materials that are going to be used for promoting your brand.

But as mentioned earlier, translation without proper research and local marketing strategy is a disaster in the making. Translating content is not simply translating word-for-word. This is because the cultural context and intent of certain words or phrases can vary greatly from one region to another. There are many such instances when businesses failed miserably in their international growth strategies due to translation blunders.

One way to ensure that you’re able to translate your content correctly is to work with a team of professional translation experts who have the linguistic skills as well as cultural knowledge of the target market. This can involve having them review your original content material and make sure that it’s culturally appropriate for the target market. It might also involve working with a copywriter or translator in developing new content specifically for the local market, which takes into account regional preferences as well as cultural nuances.

Local SEO and local advertising strategies

Building a proper strategy for local SEO and tuning your brand’s advertising for the regional markets form another major aspect of localization and though it might involve a part of translation, but it is not something that can be handled but just translators. You need experts with local market knowledge, the cultural aspects along with marketing experience in the region, in short, you need specialists to take care of these segments of your localization strategy.

Local SEO efforts ensure that your translated website content is also in-tune with the search intent of your local target audience. This means that keywords, meta tags, and other on-page SEO factors need to be set up properly for your regional target market keywords.

As a result, you need a team with lots of local knowledge who can truly ‘think locally’, rather than trying to apply the same standard approaches across multiple markets. Local SEO experts can provide invaluable insights on how to best tailor your brand’s content for its specific audience and search intent. Furthermore, they can use these insights to create engaging SEO-focused content that resonates with people in the locale – bridging the gap between global brands and regional customers. These two components together form an effective local SEO strategy that is essential for any organization looking to succeed overseas.   ​​​​​​

Similarly, when it comes to advertising for regional markets, one size does not fit all – variations in language, preferences, graphics, tone, and even the local interpretation of colors, must be taken into account when crafting campaigns for different audiences.

For example, while the use of the color black in advertisements in some regions might be perceived as classy and regale but in a few countries, it might be associated with death and hence have a negative impact on the market for the brand.

All these factors combined require an expert understanding of marketing trends in order to succeed. While there are numerous challenges associated with marketing and advertising to local markets, investing in professionals with local knowledge and experiences is critical for long-term success in localization projects. By hiring experts who specialize in crafting localized messaging, your brand will benefit from increased exposure and relevance in regional markets.

Ultimately building strategies tailored specifically towards local SEO & tuning your brand’s advertising campaign is crucial when it comes to localization initiatives – optimizing from both a linguistic standpoint as well as from a cultural perspective will help unlock deeper levels of engagement & growth opportunities across all regions. Avoiding costly errors & continuing to create powerful messages that resonate with every audience! 

Collaborate with local influencers

Another aspect that is often overlooked by companies looking to enter new markets is a collaboration with local social media influencers.

Social media influencers form an important part of most businesses’ expansion strategy, not just due to their reach but also to their local connection with their audience.

Therefore, partnering with local influencers can help brands to better understand regional preferences and improve their localization strategy. Furthermore, collaborating with social media influencers can allow brands to build rapport with local consumers quickly – creating a more positive experience for everyone involved.

For example, if you are planning on launching a new product or service in an unfamiliar market, collaborating with local influencers can help you to better understand consumer demand and tailor your offerings accordingly. Additionally, by cultivating relationships with social media influencers in your target markets, you can also provide them with valuable insights into trends and preferences – helping them to be more effective at influencing their audience.

Overall, establishing collaborations with local influencers is key to winning over new markets and establishing trust among local consumers. By partnering with social media influencers who are trusted by your target audiences, you can drive higher levels of engagement and increase the likelihood of long-term success in those regions. So if you are looking to expand into new markets, consider working with local experts to create more targeted

These individuals have deep knowledge of what works when it comes to engaging their audiences, so partnering with them can be a great way to improve your localization efforts and maximize the impact of your marketing strategy in a new region.

Localization involves local media strategies too

When you are planning to enhance your brand awareness in your target markets it is very important to have a perfect local media strategy too. After all press and media publications are still quite active in influencing even this social media generation too.

Therefore, it is essential to collaborate with local media publications (online & print) that are well-connected to the target audience of your brand. This can help you to reach out and connect with your target markets on a deeper level, increasing the likelihood of long-term success in those regions.

At the same time, it is important to remember that every region has different preferences when it comes to media publications they follow or engage with more. Therefore, it is important to conduct thorough research and analyze your target markets closely before deciding on the right local media publications and press, to partner with.

In order to create a truly effective localization strategy, it is crucial to consider these local differences and tailor your approach accordingly.

Localization is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution in order for businesses to succeed in tapping into new markets. It has to be remembered that “localization” as a term though might be at times used synonymously with “translation” but as a business owner, you need to understand the vastness of the word and its implications on your global expansion strategies.

By ensuring that they have a solid localization strategy for their target markets encompassing most of the segments mentioned here, businesses can avoid many common pitfalls associated with international expansion. Although localization can be difficult, it’s ultimately rewarding for those who are able to successfully navigate through all its nuances!

To help you out, we at Loxperts are building the ultimate platform to bring together business leaders like you with native localization experts from around the world. Don’t forget to check our skilled freelancers and their localization services.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign In


Reset Password

Please enter your username or email address, you will receive a link to create a new password via email.