5 Pitfalls of Localization You Should Avoid as a Marketer

5 Pitfalls of Localization You Should Avoid as a Marketer

We are all impacted by marketing actions on a daily basis. Whether it is that giant fast-food enterprise, the shampoo sales leader, or the local butcher shop –  it is impossible to get away from it. Yet, marketing is not just that. As consumers, we only see the tip of the iceberg, but there are a lot of data, studies, techniques, practices and knowledge behind the actions that impact us.

Nowadays, almost every segment of our lives has been globalized – which means the peculiarities of language are an increasing part of our realities. In this sense, when considering how to market a product or service, the quality of translation becomes crucial if to make it resonate with potential customers around the globe.

However, it is not enough to simply transcribe words from one language to another. Instead, marketers should take into account cultural aspects, regional and historical expressions, as well as think of what provides the best possible experience for a reader native to that language – in other words, develop a localisation marketing strategy.

But what does localized mean?

Localization Meaning

If you are new to the world of marketing you may be asking yourself, “What is localization?”

The term “localization” has been around the language industry for almost three decades now. Still, even though we often see it being used interchangeably with “translation”, there is a fine line between them, where localization requires a much more in-depth study of the impacts of the content at hand.

In the field of marketing, product localisation means developing all content related to that given product or service (including translations) according to the needs and “cultural expectations” of a target audience from a different part of the world.

Why You Need a Localization Strategy

Translation is a specialized area that goes well beyond literal transcriptions to another language; it takes perception and technique (a.k.a. localization). Since mistakes in translation can lead to serious consequences (like offended consumers, low sales, or complete failure to consolidate into a market segment effectively) cultural aspects and expressions of language must be taken into account for any strategy to work.

Great translations are those that we do not realize have been translated. Thus, when planning a marketing action it is recommended to choose professional and experienced translators and localizers to deal with important documents, websites, ads and other marketing and sales materials.

Useful information: Read our pick of the best Portuguese translation companies and their professional tips.

5 Pitfalls of Localization in Marketing

  1. Localization Goes Beyond Verbal Communication

When localizing the content of your website, for instance, you must bear in mind that it is not only the words that will represent your brand and convey your message. Everything is at play: logos, layout, colors – they all define how a potential customer on the other side of the world will perceive your product or service. Thus, don’t get stuck only in words – pay attention to all elements.

  1. Overlooking the Sociocultural Aspect of Localization

If you think that good localization is just a matter of knowing a few expressions of a language, think again. In many countries, even the same language will mutate depending on the region’s particular sociocultural and historical features. The same expression in a city may not resonate (or even offend) with another city a few hundred kilometers away.

  1. Relying On Automatic Translation Platforms

Despite the fact that localization technology is improving, automatic platforms are still not able to properly localize your content, even if they may get one or two expressions right – that is not enough. Regardless of what your budget may be, do not try to produce materials yourself, or rely on the automatic translation of a software or website for the development of content that will be released to an international audience.

  1. Treating Localization As a Byproduct of Your Business

Another pitfall of localization in marketing is treating it as a one-off deal, where localizers are simply brought in to complete a given task, as opposed to having them as part of the team. Since localization is all about transmitting your message as clear as possible to the target audience, having someone who only understands the receiver (target audience) is not enough; they must be utterly familiar with the messenger (the brand) too.

  1. Overlooking the Importance of Localization Itself

Indeed, most managers and CEOs are busy people and when your schedule is overflowing there is often the need to prioritize tasks. Since the outcomes of a good localization strategy are not as visible and palpable as other procedures of a marketing strategy, its seeming lack of importance tends to slide it down the list or have its budget decreased. However, it is key to truly understand the concept of localization and the role it plays in the dissemination of your business – after all, the devil is in the details.