Localization as a strategic variable in global businesses

In the globalized world, the offer of products and services is so large in so many channels that standing out and being relevant becomes a matter of survival. To achieve this, it is important to know how to communicate with audiences effectively and localization plays a fundamental role.

What is localization?

The concept of localization sounds familiar within the international business world, but is not always addressed in its full scope and importance. The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) defines it as “the process of adapting a product, service or content (text, video, or image) to a specific place or market. ”

Localization includes translation as one of its elements, but also involves other strategic decisions such as changes in the length of the text, local idioms, cultural references, units of measurement, date formats and page sizes, among others.

The main goal of this process is:

●   To respect the culture, grammar and style of different communities, such as the format for reading numbers, currencies and dates, and the linguistic register.

●   To modify content and products to adapt them to the tastes and consumption habits in different cultural contexts.

●   To convert content and products in order to align them with different local requirements and regulations.

Localization is of utmost importance when thinking of yourself as a globalized company because it allows a product or content to be adapted to the characteristics of the language and culture of the audiences, giving the appearance of having been created by and for a certain market. It is not only about getting the audience to understand, but also about making them feel identified with the content.

Localization in the world of business

Localization is a bridge to new markets. If you are thinking of exporting your products and services, it is necessary to consider a good localization strategy that accompanies the commercial strategy to ensure that the arrival of new audiences occurs without unforeseen setbacks.

Each country is different and breaking into a new market can present legal barriers, logistical obstacles, and also cultural and linguistic challenges. While localization does not solve all problems, it prevents communication errors that can be detrimental to the reputation of the brand, such as the use of inappropriate language for certain cultures or problems of understanding due to a poor quality translation.

Localization also acts as a competitive advantage. Facing native companies is challenging. Local companies can win the trust of an audience much more easily than an outside actor, because they know the culture, language and customs of the place. Localizing content allows foreign companies to communicate with consumers in any country and region in their local language, increasing the trust and loyalty towards the brand, which affirms the value of localization as an advantage over the competition.

Localizing content is also a demonstration of commitment to potential clients, since when adapting a product or service to a particular segment, their needs are directly taken into account. A consumer who feels understood faces a purchase journey with much less friction and completes his operations in a more agile way.

Why is it important to consider localization from the beginning in your business processes?

Let’s imagine an enterprise that provides software solutions for its local market and from the beginning it had the objective of exporting its products to different countries, but it develops its projects in a single language. At some point, this company sees the opportunity to expand its borders by being hired by a foreign client but they are faced with the urgency of having to translate all of their products in a very short time, with the consequent delays in delivery, possible errors and even running the risk of losing the commercial opportunity.

On the other hand, if localization is incorporated during product development, the global market launch is faster, more efficient, with optimal quality and avoiding additional costs and implementation deadlines. The key to a successful result is in the strategy: you have to align the project with global and long-term business vision, plan an efficient and sustainable execution, and have language experts as allies throughout the process.

Language experts as ideal partners

Localization is a complex process that requires a precise balancing of creative, financial, technical and technological efforts.

If you have your sights set on global expansion, integrating localization into all stages of your business strategy will help you overcome cultural barriers and facilitate entry into new markets. But recognizing the importance of localization is the first step.

The next step is to plan the implementation and find the right talent and technology to do it. That is why language experts can become your “ace up your sleeve”, since they know the market and can estimate time and costs to locate different products and services based on a combination of standard calculations and know-how.

Outsourcing this service to specialists saves time and money. Hiring specialized assistance means having a partner who knows your needs and resources and applies different strategies adapted to each industry, type of product or service, schedule and budget.

In addition, the use of specific technological tools allows speeding up delivery times, maintaining consistent quality over time and between projects. Translation platforms can be integrated with content management systems (CMS), e-commerce platforms, and other web development solutions to automate workflows. In this way, it can be translated at the same time that clients’ products are developed.

Final thoughts

Globalization accelerates the plans of companies to include international reach among their objectives. However, the potential of localization solutions to achieve this is often unknown. Incorporating languages into your strategy from the start avoids unforeseen setbacks and additional costs.

For this, it is advisable to partner with language experts, who in addition to proposing solutions in terms of efficiency, have the talent and specific technology to become ideal allies and to add advantages that the competition may not be having (yet) in sight.

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