6 Types of localization: From websites to marketing

types of localization

Have you ever wondered why big brands have different websites, slogans, and even menus depending on the location? The answer lies in localization. But this is a broad term that encompasses different types of localization, each with its own set of considerations. In this article, we will unveil the various forms this process can take.

Website localization

Website localization is the process of adapting a website to a specific locale or market. This involves not only translating the content into the language of the target audience but also considering various cultural, linguistic, and technical aspects to make the website feel native to that particular audience.

Some of the things that require adaptation include:

  • Language. This involves translating the content into the language(s) spoken by the target audience; and not not only textual content but also elements like buttons, menus, forms, error messages, etc.
  • Cultural adaptation. This may involve using culturally relevant imagery, symbols, colors, and idiomatic expressions that are familiar to the audience.
  • Date, time, and currency formats. Different countries have different conventions for representing dates, times, and currencies, so businesses need to ensure they are aligned with the preferences of their target audience.
  • SEO and keywords. This involves conducting keyword research in the local language and optimizing the website’s content, meta tags, and URLs accordingly to improve its visibility in local search engine results.
  • Website layout and design. Sometimes, the layout and design of a website may need to be adjusted to accommodate differences in text length, reading direction (e.g., left-to-right vs. right-to-left), and screen resolutions in different locales.
  • Legal and regulatory compliance. Websites often need to comply with various legal and regulatory requirements specific to different regions, such as privacy laws, data protection regulations, accessibility standards, and more.

Read more: Website localization: How to reach a global audience

Software localization

Similarly, software localization is the process of adapting software products to specific languages, regions, and cultures. Software products span a wide range of categories and industries, each serving different purposes and catering to various user needs. Common types include:

  • Operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux distributions (e.g., Ubuntu, Fedora), iOS, and Android.
  • Productivity software helps users create, edit, organize, and manage various types of digital content such as the Microsoft Office Suite, Google Workspace, and Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems that integrate and manage core business processes such as accounting, human resources, inventory management, supply chain, and customer relationship management (CRM).
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that helps businesses manage interactions with current and potential customers, track leads, streamline sales processes, and improve customer service.
  • CMS platforms that enable users to create, manage, and publish digital content on websites and other online platforms without requiring extensive technical knowledge.
  • Gaming software, such as console games, PC games, mobile games, and online multiplayer games.

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So, what elements require localization? Businesses should consider the following:

  • Language. Menus, buttons, error messages, and all user-facing text needs to be translated accurately for the target language.
  • Cultural adaptation. Humor, metaphors, and references may need adjustments to avoid misunderstandings in different cultures.
  • Date & time formats. Date and time formats should be displayed according to local conventions.
  • Currency and measurement (e.g., metric vs imperial).
  • User Interface (UI) adjustments. Text length variations in different languages might require UI layout changes to ensure everything fits comfortably.
  • Software functionality. For instance, a calendar app might need to be adjusted to display local holidays.

Read more: Software localization: A comprehensive guide

Multimedia localization

Multimedia localization takes the concept of adapting content to new audiences and applies it to all sorts of media formats, not just websites or software. It’s about ensuring your message resonates across languages and cultures in videos, games, presentations, e-learning modules, and more.

Here’s what multimedia localization involves:

  • Translation and adaptation. Scripts, audio narration, and on-screen text are translated while considering cultural nuances and humor.
  • Voice-over and dubbing. This means replacing the original audio track with a translated version, either synced for lip movement (dubbing) or narrated over the original audio (voice-over).
  • Subtitling and closed captioning.
  • Cultural references. Jokes, metaphors, and imagery may be adapted to ensure they are understood and well-received in the target culture.
  • Technical considerations (such as text size and placement in subtitles).

User Experience (UX) localization

User Experience localization is the art of adapting the user experience (UX) of a product or service to resonate with users from different countries and cultures. It encompasses various aspects of design, interaction, and usability, such as:

  • Language and content. It involves translating all textual content, including interface elements, navigation labels, buttons, menus, error messages, and help documentation.
  • Visual design. Design elements include things like layout, typography, iconography, and imagery.
  • Navigation and information architecture. This may involve restructuring menus, categorizing content differently, or prioritizing certain features based on cultural relevance or usage patterns.
  • User interaction and behavior. Gestures, animations, user interface elements, and interaction flows need to be adapted to accommodate cultural norms and expectations.
  • Accessibility and inclusivity. This aspect should be prioritized to ensure that the product is usable by all users, including those with disabilities and diverse needs.

Read more: UX localization: How to get started

Marketing localization

Marketing localization involves adapting marketing strategies, campaigns, messages, and content to effectively resonate with target audiences in different languages, regions, and cultures. The goal of tailoring marketing efforts to specific local audiences is to maximize the business’ engagement, relevance, and impact.

Some of the elements that require adaptation for each target market include:

  • Marketing copy. Slogans, taglines, ad copy, website content, and social media posts often require adaptation.
  • Value proposition. Product benefits that are most relevant to the target audience’s needs and priorities should be highlighted.
  • Call to action (CTA). Businesses should go for clear, concise, and culturally appropriate CTAs.
  • Images and videos. The visuals should be familiar and appealing to the target audience.
  • Design layout and color schemes. Businesses should consider color symbolism, character lengths, and reading directions.
  • Marketing channels. Some popular social media platforms, websites, or advertising channels are more popular in a market than in others, which is why thorough research is imperative.
  • Dates and times.
  • Currency and pricing.

Read more: Marketing localization: The key to international success

Product information localization

Product information localization is the process of adapting all the information about your product to resonate with a specific international market and works hand-in-hand with other localization efforts. It should align with your website localization (translated website content) and UX localization (cultural adaptations within the product itself).

Here’s a breakdown of what product information localization entails:

  • Language and content. Descriptions and features, instructions and manuals, safety warnings and labels, as well as marketing materials, all require adaptation.
  • Visual and non-textual information. Images, graphics, design elements, colors, as well as dates and times are also things businesses need to be mindful of.
  • Currency and pricing: Prices should be displayed in the local currency and formatted according to local conventions.
  • Compliance with local regulations. Naturally, product information should adhere to labelling and safety standards specific to the target market.

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POEditor integrates with various tools you may already use. One example would be Figma, which means you can localize your Figma designs directly within our platform, ensuring a consistent look and feel across languages. You can also integrate with your CMS for a smooth flow of localized content directly to your website.

The result? Content that feels native, culturally relevant, and speaks directly to your international audience.

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