If you want to build a global business, or even just tap into a couple of external markets, localisation is crucial. Localised content will make you more credible and provide a superior experience for your audience, meaning they are far more likely to engage with you and, ultimately, buy from you. Localisation is the process of adapting your brand to meet the cultural, linguistic, and technical expectations of the market.
It’s not a good idea to make assumptions about what is and isn’t required or acceptable in markets you’re not familiar with. Even the world’s biggest brands have made terrible blunders introducing products or services into other countries.
Localisation, or L10n
The first thing to understand is that localisation isn’t translation. Translating content for the 75% of the world that doesn’t speak English is obviously a good idea, but translation is just one part of a localisation strategy. It’s important to consider product, placement, price, and promotion in the context of the local market, and adjust your marketing accordingly.
A localisation strategy will address certain technical issues on your website, such as showing prices in the local currency, using the right sizing or measuring system, picking the best payment gateways, as well as taking a fresh look at symbols, icons and colours, etc. It should consider how local customers use the internet, on which devices, and how best to reach them.
Imagery is important too, as cultural perception will impact on things like ethnicity, clothing, jewellery, gender ratio, actions, ideas, and even the expressions of the people photographed. Having local knowledge of potential legal issues and subtle style factors can make or break an internationalisation plan.
Language is, of course, a major part of this localisation process. With the wordplay and subtleties that marketing content often contains, it’s important to get across the full meaning of your texts in the target language. Using transcreation, rather than translation, will allow you to convey your message without leaving people confused by a cultural reference or lack of context. That could be transcreation into another form of English, too.
Our Approach To L10n
We specialise in localisation for the UK and Irish markets, however we can manage a website localisation project for other markets too. We help clients identify the markets that should be targeted, then what kind of localisation strategy will achieve the desired results. We can find and manage local agencies to roll out your strategy in the different markets and report on ROI.
If you just want consultancy in this area, we can produce reports that look at your existing creatives and flag areas such as meaning, culture, representation, and general coherence and context in the local market (UK and Ireland).
Our Localisation Services
Support choosing new markets and how to localise for them.
Transcreation: tweaking texts into Irish English.
Transcreation: tweaking texts into British English.
Currencies, times, dates, sizes, measurements, etc.
Optimise content for localised search.
Selecting and integrating tools to support localisation.
Appraisal of campaigns and creatives for the UK & Irish markets.
Professional French to English translation and transcreation.
Why Use A Localisation Service?
In the 60s, Electrolux launched a hoover in the US with the slogan “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux”. What sounded like a reasonable boast here in Europe was interpreted in a very different way by American consumers, and yet both phrases are in English! Let’s not even get into examples such as Pepsi in China, whose translated slogan accidentally claimed to “bring your ancestors back from the dead!”
Language is one good reason to localise, but consider all the other little things that could put someone off your brand or leave them too confused to purchase. What if they can’t understand how your sizing works, or there’s no clear way to calculate shipping. Maybe they love everything about your website but when it comes to paying, they can’t find the payment option that they always use (for example, in Indonesia, most online transactions are paid for by bank transfer). The devil is in the details, and that’s what localisation is all about.