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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