What Is Global Localization and How to Build a Global Localization Strategy?
While the borders keep shrinking, global business keeps growing. And to thrive in this highly-competitive environment, businesses must adapt their products, services, and content to align with the preferences of their international audiences.
That’s where global localization comes in.
In this article, we will explore what global localization is, its key components, examples, and how to create a global localization strategy.
Read on to discover:
Pro tip: To implement a global localization strategy, use a professional localization platform – Centus. The platform offers translation automation, glossaries, translation memory, quality assurance tools, project management features, and everything else you need to ensure speedy completion and outstanding outcomes of your localization projects. Learn more.
Global localization is the process of adapting products, services, and content to align with the linguistic, cultural, functional, and regulatory needs of specific target markets. It goes beyond translation and involves a comprehensive modification of product or service experiences to resonate with audiences worldwide.
By recognizing the unique qualities of local markets, businesses can develop a localized experience that seems native to local users. This attention to detail is crucial to businesses seeking to develop their international presence. It allows them to interact with customers on a deeper level, build trust, and form long-term relationships across different cultures and regions.
To successfully develop a global localization strategy, focus on its critical components detailed below.
Web localization is the process of customizing websites to meet the language and cultural needs of target locations. This includes translating website text, modifying visuals and images, adjusting date and time formats, and adhering to local regulations.
Web localization attempts to provide visitors with an immersive and personalized experience, thereby allowing them to interact with the website in their native language and understand localized content.
Mobile app localization
Mobile app localization involves the translation of app interfaces, menus, notifications, and other textual features for different markets. Mobile app localization may also include adapting app features, layouts, and functionalities to reflect regional preferences.
Effective mobile app localization allows users to explore and interact with the app more easily, resulting in higher user satisfaction and adoption rates.
Content localization is the customization of various forms of content to connect with the intended audience in target regions. The types of content requiring localization are marketing materials, product descriptions, user manuals, customer support resources, legal agreements, and multimedia assets.
The localization process goes beyond mere content translation to include cultural references, idioms, symbols, and other elements that may influence the comprehension and acceptance of the text. By localizing their content, businesses amplify the impact of their messages and forge stronger relationships with their customers.t.
Software localization refers to customizing software applications to work flawlessly in different languages and cultural contexts. The process involves translating user interfaces, notifications, date and time formats, units of measurement, legal documentation, and customer support materials.
By investing in software localization, businesses can create an experience that feels native to end users, thereby boosting their satisfaction and software adoption rates.
Here are 3 real-life examples of companies that ace global localization:
McDonald's is an outstanding example of a company that has embraced global localization to serve a wide range of markets. While the core menu remains the same, McDonald's offerings are tailored to local tastes and cultural preferences.
For example, to cater to the country's huge vegetarian population, McDonald's India has launched vegetarian options such as the McAloo Tikki burger, which is made with a spiced potato patty. Teriyaki McBurgers are available in Japan, while McPicanha, a famous sandwich with traditional Brazilian tastes, is available in Brazil.
These localized menu items allow McDonald's to connect with customers in different regions, thereby improving their dining experience.
Netflix acknowledges the need for content localization to appeal to global audiences. The company makes significant investments in the creation of localized content, such as TV episodes and movies, in multiple languages.
For instance, Netflix has been growing its library of original programs in several countries, including Dark in Germany, Money Heist in Spain, and Kingdom in South Korea. These shows have helped Netflix to strengthen its footprint in international regions and attract a broad user base.
Airbnb leverages global localization to provide a personalized experience for hosts and guests all around the world. Specifically, the company provides multilingual webpages and apps, allowing users to navigate and interact with the platform in their native language.
Furthermore, Airbnb tailors its search algorithms to consider regional preferences and requirements. For instance, in Japan, Airbnb launched an "Omotenashi" feature that showcases rentals with a reputation for exceptional hospitality, which is highly appreciated in Japanese society.
These localization initiatives help Airbnb build trust, improve the user experience, and foster closer relationships between hosts and guests across different regions.
A global localization strategy is a plan used by organizations to adapt their products, services, and marketing to the unique demands, preferences, and cultural nuances of global markets. The development and implementation of such strategy requires a thorough grasp of the local culture, customs, language, and user behavior.
Here are the key things to know about an effective global localization strategy:
An effective global localization strategy ensures that a company's products and services are not just linguistically correct but also culturally suitable and appealing to the local market.
It goes beyond mere translation and involves the adaptation of the user experience, including design, content, functionality, and user interface.
Implementing a global localization strategy requires careful planning, research, and collaboration across all departments within a company.
Different factors, such as language, cultural differences, legal constraints, and technical considerations, must be considered to make the localized product suitable for the preferences of the target audience.
A good global localization strategy may include adapting visual components, symbols, colors, and imagery to align with local cultural norms and values.
It also involves the modification of the product's functionality to meet certain market or regulatory needs.
Consider the key benefits of developing and implementing a global localization strategy:
1. Aligning with target markets and cultures
Adapting your products, services, and content to the unique demands and preferences of different markets is crucial for global success.
A global localization strategy allows you to modify your products and services to each target market's cultural, linguistic, and regulatory requirements. This shows respect for local norms, builds trust with customers, and creates a closer relationship with your audience.
2. Maximizing user experience and customer satisfaction
A global localization strategy ensures that your product or service is user-friendly, intuitive, and successfully communicates its value proposition to your customers. By providing a seamless and personalized experience, you increase user satisfaction and engagement, which drives repeat business.
3. Improving brand perception and credibility
A global localization strategy can have a considerable impact on the perception of your brand in international markets. Investing in localization demonstrates your dedication to serving the specific needs of your international customers.
This attention to detail and understanding of local nuances help to develop trust, credibility, and a strong brand image. Customers are more inclined to choose a brand that speaks their language and caters to cultural differences.
4. Unlocking new market opportunities
Implementing a global localization strategy positions your company to capitalize on new market opportunities. By localizing your products and services, you can reach a larger client base and increase your global footprint.
An effective global localization strategy also allows you to overcome language hurdles, comply with local regulations, and cater to a wide range of customer preferences. You can obtain a competitive advantage and establish yourself as a global leader in your niche by implementing an effective localization strategy.
If you are looking to expand your reach and serve international markets, follow these steps to build a global localization strategy:
Step 1 - Research target markets and languages
Carry out thorough research on your target markets before embarking on a localization task. Learn about your target market’s consumer behavior, cultural nuances, and language preferences. Determine the languages spoken in each market and the level of localization required for each language.
Step 2 - Identify localization goals and priorities
Define your localization goals clearly and prioritize them depending on the importance of each market. Consider factors like market size, growth prospects, and cultural fit. Determine whether you need to translate your website, mobile apps, content, or software, and create a priority list.
Step 3 - Adopt localization technologies and tools
Research the localization technologies and solutions that are available to help with the localization process. Translation management systems, multilingual content management systems, and localization platforms can greatly simplify the process.
Examine the functionality, scalability, and compatibility of these tools and adopt the ones that best meet your localization goals.
Step 4 - Establish a localization process
Create a well-defined localization workflow detailing all steps of the localization process, such as content generation, translation, quality assurance, and deployment. Define the roles and responsibilities of team members that will participate in the localization project.
Also, establish effective communication channels and feedback loops to ensure a smooth collaboration between translators, project managers, and other stakeholders.
Perform Global Localization with Centus
Implementing a global localization strategy can be a daunting task. To make it easier, use a professional localization suite – Centus.
Below are the key features of Centus that can be instrumental in performing global localization for your product or service:
Wide language support: Centus accommodates multiple languages, enabling you to localize your content for any target market.
Translation memory: Centus incorporates a translation memory system, storing previously translated content. This feature saves time and costs by reusing existing translations for future projects.
Quality assurance (QA) system: Centus includes a robust QA system for the precision and uniformity of your translations.
Project management tools: Centus offers comprehensive project management features to help you track the progress of your localization projects.
Reporting tools: Centus provides reporting tools to monitor the performance of your localization projects. You can track costs, schedules, and quality metrics to gain valuable insights into project outcomes.
Collaborative environment: Centus fosters collaboration among team members via file sharing, commenting, editing, and chat features.
Integration capabilities: Centus seamlessly integrates with a range of tools, including content management systems (CMS), Figma, and Jira. This integration simplifies content import/export and streamlines your localization workflow.
Scalability: Centus is designed to be scalable, allowing you to easily add users and projects as your localization needs grow.
Security: Centus prioritizes data security, ensuring that your valuable information remains safe and protected.
By leveraging Centus, you can streamline and enhance your localization processes, ensuring accurate and consistent translations while optimizing efficiency and collaboration. Learn more.
To Sum Up
Creating a detailed global localization strategy allows businesses to overcome multiple hurdles of international expansion. With the strategy at hand, companies can successfully modify their products and services to resonate with customers worldwide by properly analyzing new markets, having clear goals, using relevant technologies, and building efficient workflows.
Remember that localization is about delivering an immersive and culturally relevant experience for your global audience, not merely translating content. To create such experience and succeed in a highly-competitive global marketplace, use an extensive localization platform by Centus. Learn more.
What is localization in global marketing?
Localization in global marketing is the practice of tailoring marketing strategies and content to target markets' cultural and language preferences.
It involves translating and modifying communications while considering local nuances, customs, and restrictions to establish a solid relationship with the audience and maximize success in international markets.
Why is global localization important?
Global localization is important for organizations to align with local markets, maximize user experience, boost brand perception, and improve customer satisfaction. Businesses may succeed in foreign marketplaces and create strong ties with customers all around the world by adapting their products and content to local cultures.
What are globalization and global localization?
Globalization refers to the growing interdependence of economies, civilizations, and cultures around the world. Global localization involves tailoring products and services to specific markets' cultural and functional requirements.
It goes beyond translation to provide a unified user experience and enable organizations to succeed in new markets.
What are the characteristics of localization?
Here are some of the characteristics of localization:
Cultural sensitivity: Localization considers the cultural norms and expectations of the target market.
Completeness: Localization should be comprehensive and cover all aspects of the product or service. This includes the text, images, audio, and even the way the product is packaged.
Accuracy: Localization should be accurate and error-free. This is crucial because it can affect the user's experience and trust in the product or service.
Consistency: Localization should be consistent throughout the product or service. In other words, the same cultural norms and expectations should be applied to all aspects of the product or service.
Timeliness: Localization should be timely to ensure that the product or service is relevant to the target market.
How does globalization affect localization?
Globalization affects localization in 4 ways:
- Increases the demand for localized products and services
- Increases competition
- Promotes the creation of new technologies
- Shapes cultural norms