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How to Localize for Your Target Audience


Globalization has made it easier to sell products and services internationally. It’s also made it harder to tailor your content to specific audiences with different customs, ways of life, and expectations. Luckily, there’s a solution.

By applying some localization strategy techniques when you translate your website or app’s content into another language, you can improve your global reach while still satisfying local users’ unique needs.

Translation vs. Localization

Localization is a broader term than translation. Translation refers to moving from one language to another, usually targeting customers in other markets. But localization is about understanding and adapting your content to be more relevant and easier to use for a particular culture or market. For example, a truly localized app will adjust its text and colors, layout, images, sounds, and videos based on user preferences in specific countries or regions.

Localizing Early Vs. Later in Development

Localizing early can also be more time-consuming because you’ll have to update all of your strings again if you make any changes. However, changing UI strings later in development is more complicated.

For example, imagine you change a button label from Cancel to Close late in development. You probably want all instances of that button on every page throughout your app translated accordingly—but how would that happen? It could get pretty messy or maybe impossible.

Keeping Translations Short and Clear

A general rule is that localization is best when there are as few words as possible. A long translation will either not fit into its layout or prompt users to scroll up and down, making it harder to scan the content. Besides, people read on screens very differently than when they read print; most don’t want to spend more time than necessary digesting content but aim instead at scanning texts and absorbing their main messages in a few seconds, if not less.

Localizing Marketing Content & Web Copy

Localizing marketing content is essential to reaching new audiences. Your international customers can expect that you take localization into account when talking about them and their region on social media. In today’s multicultural world, providing a localized experience is crucial if you want your brand to stand out from competitors or make a lasting impression on potential consumers.

Localized Onboarding Messages & Tutorials

Internationalizing websites isn’t enough—localizing them is often even more important. If you want non-English-speaking users (or just non-English-speaking US customers) to stay on your site and purchase, you need to make sure they can navigate it and understand it easily.

That means providing onboarding information that is in their language. But it also means getting rid of jargon, explaining things differently, and tailoring messages around different cultures and lifestyles.

Testing Your Localization

According to Contentful, “Maybe there are words or images that the local culture won’t understand or might even find offensive, or there might be text that doesn’t quite fit on the page.” A good localization tester can help you identify these issues before you launch. You should also include a language selector in your app, so users know they have options.

When you launch a site or web app, some users will be international and may not read your content in their language. If they can’t understand what you’re offering, they won’t stay on your site long enough to convert. You may even lose potential customers who would otherwise be willing to pay more if you were able to explain why localization is important to them.


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