Language Localization: What Is It And Why Is It So Important?

Imagine you were a business owner or a video game developer looking to venture into the global market. How would you reach your customers? The first answer you’d think of would be to simply translate your content into multiple languages, and while that is not a wrong answer in itself, it’s not entirely right either. If you really want to connect with your audiences or potential customers, translation alone can’t do the job. 

 

Let us introduce you to language localization. It’s more than just translation; it’s about adapting your message, product, or game to better resonate and appeal to different audiences. Localization ensures that your offering is not just understandable but also relevant and engaging to the markets you are targeting.

 

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

What is Language Localization?

Let’s expand on what we said in the intro. Language localization is the process of adapting content in a way that resonates with different audiences, not just linguistically, but culturally.

 

Localization addresses cultural elements such as traditions, customs, taboos and also laws and regulations. Language localization goes beyond translation, upholding meaning and intent over word for word correspondence. Thanks to this approach, localization can better help you connect with the audiences you intend to reach, resonating with their cultural background. 

The Different Looks of Localization

Localization, being about much more than just language, can have different looks.

Software localization is the process of adapting software applications to the linguistic, cultural, and technical requirements of a specific target market. This includes translating user interfaces, messages, help documentation, and ensuring that the software is compatible with the local standards and practices, such as date formats and currency.

Similar to software, but specifically focuses on adapting websites for global audiences. This involves not only translating text but also modifying content layout, navigation, and visuals to appeal to specific audiences, and be culturally appropriate and compliant with local regulations.

Entails adapting video games for different regions. This includes translating text, dubbing audio, altering graphics or content to avoid cultural insensitivities, and sometimes changing gameplay mechanics to better suit the preferences of the target market.

 

Focuses on adapting marketing materials and strategies to fit the cultural, linguistic, and regulatory contexts of target markets. This includes translations, modifying images, and aligning messages with local consumer behavior. 

Why is Language Localization so Important?

Adopting localization strategies for your business, website or video game is shown to have a significant impact on global reach, visibility and public perception. First let’s look at the importance of language in consumer behavior, and we will later analyze in depth the benefits of language localization on your business, product, online shop or video game.

Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: How Language Localization Can Boost Your Sales

It has been produced extensive data regarding the positive impact of localization on sales and customer retention. The most prominent to date is probably the study conducted by CSA Research, called “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy”. The first survey was first conducted in 2006, and in 2020 they released the third edition. 

 

The study analyzed the answers of 8709 consumers, in 29 countries, and here’s what they found:

 

65% of consumers prefer web content in their own language even if the quality of the language is low. 

 

67% of consumers tolerate websites that use multiple languages on the same page. 

 

73% of consumers prefer products with user reviews in their language, even if the website or application is not fully translated. 

 

75% of consumers are more likely to buy a product from the same brand again if customer service is available in their language.

 

The survey highlights not only the importance of language in consumer behavior, but also the challenges posed by language barriers, the need to overcome those barriers for a better customer experience and the role of translation and localization providers for increased global reach.

 

The study ultimately shows the necessity for companies to adapt their products and services to meet the linguistic and cultural needs of their target markets. Ultimately, connection with your customers is key for any successful business, indispensable to gain new clients, and retain old ones.

Specific Benefits of Localization in Different Areas

As we mentioned before, localization has specific benefits on different types of businesses, from online shops, to video games.

 

As shown by the “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy” study, language localization can significantly improve sales numbers, help your business get more customers, and boost customer retention. It is a known fact, that purchasing a product is more about emotion than it is about necessity, the better a product can communicate with a potential customer, the more likely it is that the purchase will take place. Culture also plays a huge role in consumer behavior, highlighting the need not only for translation but also for cultural adaptation.

So, how can a product communicate with customers if it doesn’t speak their languages?

The Benefits of Video Game Localization

 

Right off the bat, the most well known benefits of video game localization are for players, but there are quite a few that benefit developers and publishers as well.

 

Improved player experience

Localization improves the gaming experience for players from different cultural backgrounds by providing them with content that feels familiar and relatable. This can include changes to characters, settings, and scenarios, of course in addition to language. Through this adaptation, players from different cultural backgrounds can experience the game as if it was made specifically for them.

Broader Market Reach

Localization helps publishers and developers expand their audience by making the game accessible to players in different regions. By widening their audience, developers and publishers effectively increase their chances of success, which leads us to the next point.

Increased Revenue

By tapping into international markets, developers and publishers can significantly boost their sales. Localized games are more likely to be successful in global markets as they cater to the specific tastes and preferences of local consumers.

Competitive Advantage

Offering a well-localized game can set a publisher apart from competitors who may not invest in such efforts. It shows commitment to the players’ needs and preferences in different regions, fostering brand loyalty and preference.

Conclusion

 

By thoughtfully addressing language localization, whether you are a business owner with an online page, a video game developer or publisher, you can significantly increase your reach, improving your chances of success, and potentially, sales. Thanks to the “Can’t read, Won’t buy” study, we were able to see the importance of language localization and language preference in consumer behavior. On top of that, we also saw the specific benefits of localization in different areas of business. 

 

So, Whether it’s launching a new app, expanding an e-commerce platform, or releasing a video game internationally, effective language localization is key to reaching wider audiences, building a loyal customer base, and achieving sustained success.

 

 

 

Don’t let language hold you back. Are you ready to speak your customer’s language today?

 

Don’t be shy, get in contact! 

 

What is language localization and how does it differ from translation?

Language localization involves adapting content to meet the cultural, linguistic, and technical requirements of a target market, going beyond mere translation to ensure the content is culturally relevant and resonant. It considers local customs, traditions, regulations, and user expectations.

Why is language localization important for global business?

Localization increases a product's appeal in different markets by ensuring cultural relevance, which enhances customer engagement and satisfaction. It can significantly impact global reach, consumer perception, and sales.

What are the specific benefits of localization in areas like e-commerce and video gaming?

In e-commerce, localization can boost sales and customer retention by enhancing the emotional connection between the product and the consumer. In video gaming, it improves player experience, expands market reach, increases revenue, and provides a competitive edge by tailoring games to meet regional tastes and cultural preferences.