Localisation – what it is, why it’s important and how ecls can help

Have you ever launched a marketing campaign in another part of the world only to find it fall flat or not have the desired impact? Chances are your product or service wasn’t localised for the target audience.


Localisation involves adapting content for the cultural and linguistic expectations of a specific target market and, when done right, it balances international brand consistency with local nuance and authenticity to build trust and help target audiences see themselves reflected in your offering. It goes without saying that the impact of this can be huge for your reputation, building relationships and the ultimate global success of your brand.


Read on for more about what localisation is, why it’s important and how we might be able to help thanks to our years of experience – from localising film and TV series titles and software strings, to cultural consultation and global e-commerce projects.


So what exactly is localisation?


Localisation can be broadly defined as “the process of making a product or service more suitable for a particular country, area, etc.” (Cambridge English Dictionary). In other words, localisation is a global marketing strategy that involves adapting content – anything from software to pharmaceutical labelling – for the cultural and linguistic expectations, standards and preferences of a specific target market. In the context of the language industry, localisation therefore often includes translation or adaptation to a different language variant (for example US English rather than UK English) but also goes beyond this to include anything that will help a text, product or service resonate with a target audience and fulfil local requirements.


What does localisation involve?


As well as linguistic aspects such as tone of voice, formality, idioms, slang, jargon, brand names, cultural references, slogans and tag lines, localisation also covers other modes of communication, such as:


  • Symbols
  • Colours and imagery
  • Music or other sounds
  • Typesetting and formatting issues
  • Social norms and etiquette
  • Currency
  • Measurements
  • Date and time formats
  • Number formats
  • Legal requirements, and more.


The aim of localisation is to create content that appears as if it was originally a product of the target culture, removing any potential friction that might arise from mismatches between the target audience’s needs, expectations and preferences and the features of the text, product or service.


Why is localisation important?


When expanding into a new market, localisation can help your brand establish a positive reputation and build relationships with potential customers. Equally, if your brand already operates internationally, tailoring your strategy for each locale ensures you get it right with all your market segments, where an overly broad-brush approach would risk alienating some markets, harming your reputation, or even incurring financial or legal penalties if local laws and regulations are not adhered to.


Successful localisation balances international brand consistency with local nuance and authenticity to build trust and help target audiences see themselves reflected in your offering, ultimately leading to a higher conversion rate. As the Harvard Business Review reports, in a survey of 2430 web consumers, 72.4% said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language, while 56.2% said that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important to them than price. In addition, the “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy – B2C” report on a survey of 8000 consumers across 29 countries reveals that 40% would not purchase a product or service that is not available in their language. As these statistics show, translation and localisation are key to removing linguistic and cultural barriers that stop potential customers from engaging with your brand.


How ecls can help


Our team has many years of experience in supporting businesses with their international marketing efforts. Some examples of the services we offer include:


Localising film titles and TV series titles – our regular clients include a major streaming platform who we support by localising the titles of films and TV series for English-speaking audiences (see the full case study here:


Software strings for various English-speaking markets – another ongoing client in the HR sector relies on us to localise their software strings to ensure that they are suitable for the UK and Australian markets.


Cultural consultation – we recently completed a cultural consultation project to help our client, a UK-based creative marketing agency, determine whether their ideas for new slogans as part of a global marketing campaign would be well received in specific target markets, including Mexico, Dubai, Singapore and Germany. Our localisation specialists are available to carry out in-depth analysis and research to determine any possible connotations of slogans in target markets, identify how easily they are likely to be understood, and explain the anticipated impact, assessing whether they would be better received in the target locales if they were translated into the target language.


Global e-commerce – another recent project saw us localising around 150,000 words of German catalogue entries for a global e-commerce platform for US English just in time for Christmas. As well as translating the text, we localised prices, units of measurement and any other culture-specific information to ensure that the shopping experience would be as smooth as possible for the target market.


If you are wondering whether a localisation strategy might be a good fit for your business, our experienced team is here to help. We offer a range of localisation services backed up by linguistic and cultural expertise and can advise on the best approach depending on your requirements, objectives and budget. Get in touch with us – our team would be delighted to help.

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A (re)introduction to our team at ecls translations

Our team is made up of translators, proofreaders and project managers who specialise in technical and marketing translation. If you’ve recently watched any foreign language series or films on the world’s largest on-demand streaming service, there’s a high chance our team has had something to do with localising the content for you. With translators who specialise in everything from robotics user manuals and automotive product descriptions to creative websites, AdWords and press releases, we have a huge range of expertise between us and ensure we are constantly updating our knowledge to stay on the cutting edge of the fields we work in.


Hear from our team in a recent interview about their role in the industry, how this has evolved over the years, the impact our clients enjoy as a result of working with us and top tips for those looking for a reliable translation service provider.


Can you talk us through your role as a linguist PM at ecls? What does your typical day look like?


Becca: My role as a linguist at ecls is incredibly varied because I translate, proofread and manage projects. I’ll usually have a few translation and proofreading projects on the go, and the rest of the day is spent responding to enquiries, preparing quotes, scheduling new projects and finding the best team for the job, communicating with our customers and suppliers, and ensuring that projects are delivered on time. I also do some content writing and other sales and marketing tasks. No two days are alike, which is part of what I love about working at ecls!


Have you found your role has changed over the years as the industry evolves and if so, in what way(s)?


Laura: Yes and no. In some ways it has changed, especially regarding new technologies (machine translation and AI). A lot of clients are interested in these new services and for me it is important to always stay up to date so that I can recommend the best service for my clients’ specific project. In other ways, my role has not changed, as the majority of clients still value personal communication and prefer to work with the same trusted translators for their projects.


What’s been the impact for clients who have chosen to work with our team?


Emma: Our clients come to us for lots of different reasons: they’re launching a global brand campaign and need help understanding how their suggested slogans might be received around the world so that the most effective strategy can be chosen; they need support communicating change to their internal teams along with providing training manuals in their teams’ native language to get buy-in and quickly implement new technology; they’re looking to expand their operations and open up new markets abroad and understand how important it is to communicate with clients in their own language. We were even recently asked to help contact a local company in Singapore for a conference and, as we had a local team member on the ground, we were able to respond to the urgent request in time for our client.


One of our clients recently described working with us as follows:


“The impact of working with ECLS has been transformative for our organization. Their simple and straightforward workflow has significantly enhanced our operations, resulting in improved efficiency and productivity. Their attention to detail and commitment to delivering high-quality results have undoubtedly elevated our performance and allowed us to meet our KPIs consistently.”


We take the time to understand our clients’ needs, working collaboratively and adaptably. We also keep things smooth and efficient, which, along with our team’s expertise, saves our clients both time and cost in the long run. Clients who have chosen to work with us have benefitted from our local connections and the trust that this builds, have seen increased customer retention, an enhanced reputation overseas and boosted global sales.


How did you get into translation?


Becca: I was lucky enough to grow up with parents who were very interested in languages and travelling, so I got to visit lots of places in Europe as a child, an experience that inspired my love of language learning. After first picking up German and Latin at school, I went on to study Modern and Medieval Languages at university, where I also learned Italian from scratch and spent time working and studying in Germany and Italy. Translation classes were one of my favourite aspects of my time at university, and after I graduated I spent a couple of years working as a project manager and proofreader in the non-profit medical publishing sector before deciding to return to university for an MA in Translation and Interpreting Studies. I then worked as an in-house translator before joining ecls translations as a project coordinator, translator and proofreader in 2021.


What have been the highlights of your work here? What do you find most interesting/challenging?


Naomi: Working as a translator can sometimes be a lonely experience but working with ecls means being part of a team of friendly, experienced language professionals. We have regular online team meetings and occasional in-person meetups and communicate on a daily basis via various channels, including Slack and Outlook. I enjoy being part of a team in which my work, ideas and suggestions are valued and constantly benefit from my colleagues’ experience and expertise.


The most interesting aspect of my work is the opportunity to become familiar with new clients and topics and to consolidate existing skills – from proofreading and transcreation to adaptation and subtitle editing.


The challenges of this work include meeting tight deadlines while maintaining high levels of quality, using new software and translation tools, and getting to grips with new clients’ requirements and expectations.


How about advice for people looking for a translation service provider?


Laura: When you are looking for a translation service provider, I would recommend looking for a small to medium-sized agency where personal contact with the project managers is possible. This way you can establish a valuable and long-term relationship and know your translation projects are in experienced hands. My second piece of advice is asking about the company’s process and ensuring that the chosen agency only works with the so-called “native speaker principle”, meaning translators only translate into their mother tongue, among other professional requirements.


Why do you think clients keep coming back to ecls?


Naomi: ecls delivers a high-quality service that offers clients excellent value for money and meets their needs effectively. Clients come back to us because we take the time to understand their needs and expectations right from the start, ensuring we deliver excellent translations on time, every time. Our friendly, approachable project managers communicate clearly and effectively to resolve any issues quickly and satisfactorily, while our team of experienced linguists ensures consistency and creates added value. Reliability leads to trust. And trust leads to repeat business.


If you have any language requirements or need some general translation/localisation advice, our team would love to hear from you! Contact us on:


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ecls translations shortlisted for Northern Powerhouse Export Award 2023

In May 2023, we were delighted to have been shortlisted for the Northern Powerhouse Export Awards in association with the Department for Business and Trade, with sponsors including the Greater Manchester Chamber, UK and the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, with campaign partner Alibaba Group.


As part of the process, we were assessed on:


🤝 How we support companies in the technology, manufacturing and marketing sectors to diversify, to gain access to new resources and technologies, and to attract new customers around the world for increased sales and profits.


✈ The export journey we’ve enjoyed so far and the countries we currently export to, which include Germany, Switzerland, the USA, Belgium and France.


💡 Our innovative approaches to export, including technological innovations and new offerings to provide our clients with a more efficient, cost-effective service.


🏆 The impact our clients have enjoyed over the past 12 months as a result of our high-quality, efficient translation service. This has included a better understanding of their clients’ needs to optimise their offering to customers abroad, increased customer retention, boosted global sales and enhanced reputation overseas.


🌎 How our export practices help to achieve the global NetZero Agenda, protecting the environment, tackling climate change, championing equality opportunities with a commitment to upholding rules-based trade.


We’re grateful to all of our clients who have chosen us to help them achieve their export ambitions in what is a very competitive environment, and we’re really excited to continue supporting businesses in the UK and overseas with their export goals.


The awards ceremony takes place on Wednesday 28th June 2023 at Middlesbrough Town Hall and we’re excited to be attending and to meet other exporters from the region.