Unlocking global markets: the power of content localization

Unlocking global markets: the power of content localization

Written by Kenneth Sawyer, In Marketing, Published On
April 26, 2024

Entering a global market is a challenge that requires knowledge and important strategic decisions. The opportunity to enter international markets cannot merely be a shot in the dark. It needs to be guided precisely, especially for growth-oriented companies.

Like every business challenge, effectively reaching and engaging a diverse global audience requires more than simply translating content. This is where content localization comes into play.

Think carefully. When your content was produced for your page, it probably went through a market study, target audience study, competition study, etc. The same is true for the global market. This is why content localisation services are so important.

It’s about using a strategy that adapts your messages to meet specific target markets’ cultural, linguistic, and functional expectations. Your audience wants to feel valued, so it’s not just about the language; it’s about truly understanding.

You have already taken the first step to success on this mission: seeking information. Here, you will better understand this strategy and how it will help you conquer the global market.

What is content localization?

Content localization is the adaptation of content to another country or culture.

Although it partly translates existing content, this strategy also considers transforming content into a local reality, recognizing cultural and country-specific nuances.

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How important is content localization in global expansion?

If a company seeks to positively impact another country, it must use content localization when entering new international markets.

Localization considers:

  • Cultural nuances
  • Local customs
  • Consumer behaviours
  • Specific market trends

A successful marketing campaign in Brazil may only succeed in Turkey if you make considerate changes that adapt to local culture to reflect Turkish aesthetics and social norms.

An efficient content localization strategy can increase reach and resonance in a new market. Which results in what every entrepreneur wants:

Localizing content guarantees marketing investment, and efforts can be as efficient as they are in their own countries.

Understanding cultural nuance

Recognizing and respecting cultural differences is the backbone of content localization. Each market has its own cultural norms and consumer expectations that can dramatically influence the perception of your brand.

Content localization can include:

Spelling Variations

People from different regions or countries who speak the same language may spell words differently from each other.

Phrasing Considerations

Content may appear inappropriate or out of context for different audiences. For example, in Brazil, an advertisement with women in bikinis on the beach is accepted as usual, while in some Middle Eastern countries, it would never even be recorded.

Keyword Optimization

People from different nations use different search terms. Suppose search engine optimization (SEO) is integral to your content strategy. In that case, you will need to perform new keyword research and incorporate search terms that are prevalent and relevant in the local language of your target market.

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Time and Date Formats

Different countries prefer different formats for dates and times, such as:

  • A 12-hour or 24-hour time format

Measurement Systems

The choice between the imperial and metric systems—covering measurements of length, distance, weight, volume, and temperature—depends on the region. For instance, depending on your audience’s location, you might need to convert measurements from miles to kilometres.

Localized Hyperlinks

When translating content, it’s essential to include hyperlinks to source material in the target audience’s language. For example, if the original content links to a news article on recent industry developments, the localized version should link to a similar article in a reputable publication within the target language.

Cultural Relevance in Images

Images may need to be changed to better resonate with the new audience, perhaps featuring local scenes, landmarks, or culturally representative people.

Use of Emojis

Emojis should be used in a manner that aligns with the cultural interpretations in the target region. For example, while a smiley face might convey happiness in the US and UK, it could be perceived negatively in other cultures.

Adjusting for Text Direction

When localizing content for languages that are read right-to-left, such as Arabic or Hebrew, adjustments to the layout are necessary to ensure the content flows correctly.

The Way You Laugh Changes

“Hahaha“ is used in:

  • Canada
  • USA
  • England
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Romania
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Türkiye
  • Australia

In other cultures, laughter changes:

  • Mexico (Jajaja)
  • Brazil (kkk)
  • Japan (wwwwwwwwww)
  • And so it goes on…

These are crucial country changes that will impact your content localization strategy.

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Furthermore, marketing strategies that work well in one country may be less effective or even offensive in another due to cultural sensitivities.

Therefore, companies need to delve deeper into cultural research to avoid mistakes that could tarnish their brand image. They must understand that localization success depends as much on what you say as on how you say it.

Best practices for content localization

Now that you know the importance of this strategy, it’s time to get some tips on good practice.

  • Engage local experts: Work with local marketers and cultural consultants to ensure your content resonates with local audiences.
  • Test and learn: Continuously test your localized content with local focus groups to refine messaging and strategy.
  • Maintain brand consistency: Ensure your brand’s core message and identity remain consistent, even as you adapt your content for different markets.

Use the power of content localization in your favour. This strategy cannot be overstated for companies looking to unlock global markets. You can strengthen your international presence, effectively serve local audiences and significantly increase your global market share.

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