“To Localize or Not to Localize” – That is the Question!

Localization is a marketing technique that can attract new clients with culturally diverse backgrounds to your products generating more revenue and a better brand awareness. On the other hand, localization can also improve your company’s internal operations by creating better manuals that can facilitate a better communication with your foreign workers and partners.

In simple terms, localization is a process where a product such as software, website or a brochure is translated and culturally adopted to a specifi­c ethnic group, country, region in order to breach the gap between the differences in distinct markets.

Localization goes beyond a mere translation process and requires a careful analysis and understanding of the target audience. Sometimes, translation into a foreign language is not even a part of a localization process. For example, adapting your English Brochure into the English language that would be suitable in Philippines might involve several proofreading stages and cultural adaptation, but no actual translation.


Why Should I Localize?

To answer the same questions, an independent research team has interviewed several companies from different parts of the world to ask them why do they localize their products? And here are some of their answers:

  • To be ahead in the global competition
  • To increase international marketing
  • To create a better customer relationship
  • To acquire a foreign company or a product


The bottom line is that most companies agree that the cost of localization is very small compared to the big international revenue and bene­fits it can potentially generate.

From a different perspective, buyers overwhelmingly chose a localized product over a foreign language one. Here is some interesting statistics and trends that put in perspective buyers’ needs for localized products:

  • Customers with low English proficiency are 5 times less likely to purchase software that is not available in their native language.
  • Regarding online sales, the research has shown that clients are 3 times more likely to buy the same product of the website that has been localized into their own language.
  • Businesses that need to purchase enterprise software for a company in a non-English speaking country are 4 times more likely to purchase the localized software.
  • Companies that train their workers in their native language demonstrate an increase in work productivity (40-60% of increase).


Who Needs localization?

Localization is a very theoretical process in a sense that it involves a transition of ideas within

particular linguistic dimensions. This lack of concrete localization rules and strategies, together with the unknowingness of where to start is often why a lot of companies are hesitant to localize

their products.


To help you out, here is a list of top 8 Countries that want to see their language on your product the most?

1. China

2. France

3. Brazil

4. Germany

5. Japan

6. Russia

7. Spain

8. Sweden


If you are selling or planning to sell to clients located in these countries, a localization would be a strongly recommended strategy that will help you stay on top on your game especially if your business belongs to the top 6 six industries that localize the most.

1. Electronics

2. Energy

3. Computer Software and Hardware

4. Transportation

5. Diversified Services

6. Consumer Products


Who Said that Localization Works?

Quantifying the success of a localization program can be a cumbersome task and that is why a lot

of companies do not busy themselves with it. Oftentimes, localization revenue gets lost within the overall international sales as a result of an encompassing marketing strategy. However, the companies that do chose to measure their localization benefits show that more than 50% of their revenue comes from foreign sales.

Interestingly enough, a lot of localizers intuitively feel that localization is just an inevitable part of a global business and that its values are clear enough without any quantified results. Instead, the marketing strategists decide to play it safe and think of the things they could lose if they chose not to localize: international clients, revenue, brand awareness, efficient customer service and many others.


So if you decided to localize and want to know how to do it properly, here is a list of quick tips:

  • Find a suitable Language Services Provider! You need to work with someone who understands your goals and needs and who can offer a range of services such as linguistic proofreading, cultural adaptation in the languages that you need. If you do not have one, ABC Language Solution will gladly offer you a free consultation during which we can answer your questions and devise a best localization strategy that suits your business.
  • A smart way to localize is to work with a smaller localization company that can outsource their work to translators located in the country for which products and documentation, or services are being localized.To achieve best results, it is crucial to be able to control the translation process and to provide as much direction as possible to your Language Provider such as style guides, glossaries, and terminology management.


To measure your localization results, you can start with the following:

  • Set your business goals that you want to achieve through localization such as: increase profitability of international operations, increase revenue, enlarge client base in existing markets.
  • Set measurable parameters before starting the localization process such as: numbers for revenue, market shares or product development.
  • Use customer evaluation forms to understand how localization affects their attitude towards your product or service. The bottom line is that Localization costs pennies compare to the revenue it can potentially generate!