What is localization?

Localization – often written as ‘l10n’ (10 being the number of letters between ‘l’ and ‘n’ in the English word) – is the adaptation of content, a product or a service to meet the linguistic, cultural or functional needs of a different market. Usually, the more of these needs you adapt for, the more successful the content, product or service will be.

Aerial view of two laptops and a tablet

More about localization

‘Translation’ and ‘localization’ are sometimes used synonymously, but ‘localization’ is a much wider concept, including (for example) changing a left-hand-drive car to a right-hand-drive car for the UK, or replacing an American voiceover artist with an Australian one for an advert.
The aim of localization is usually to preserve the intent of a message or the purpose of a product or service in a variety of different contexts.
What are the use cases for localization?
Localization can be used to adapt:
  • Written or spoken language (through translation or transcreation)
  • Imagery (from colours and shapes to people, places and objects)
  • Product functionality
What are the key benefits of localization?
By recognizing the benefits of localization, businesses can tap into the immense potential of global markets and establish meaningful connections with diverse audiences, and benefit from:
  • Local competitiveness: Adapting your offerings to local cultures, languages and preferences can enhance your competitiveness in a new market. By showing an understanding of the local context, your content is more likely to resonate with consumers and make you stand out from competitors.
  • Customer engagement and brand loyalty: When customers perceive that your brand speaks their language and aligns with their cultural values, they’re more likely to engage with your content, products and services. This engagement can foster a stronger sense of loyalty and trust, leading to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.
  • Sales and business growth: Localization can have a direct impact on your sales and overall business growth. When your offerings feel familiar and relevant to local audiences, the likelihood of conversions and sales increases. Additionally, entering new markets through effective localization can open up avenues for expansion and new revenue streams.