Think global, speak local – how professional localisation services can expand your brand

We’ve all giggled at products such as Plopp choc bars, Barf soap, and Pee cola. The internet is full of anecdotes about hair curlers described as ‘manure sticks’ in Germany, a search engine whose name means ‘illness’ in China, or a popular gin mixer labelled as ‘toilet water’ in Italy.

One of the challenges of globalisation is language. Not everything translates easily across borders. A catchy marketing slogan in the UK could be unintelligible, or even offensive, in another country. At best, your message will fail to have an impact; at worst, it could cost time and money to repair the damage to your brand or your company’s reputation.

What is the meaning of localisation?

Localisation is a critical step in avoiding linguistic pitfalls like these. It is the process of transforming your original content into translations that connect meaningfully and accurately with multilingual audiences. It’s much more than avoiding obvious gaffes, though. It’s about understanding local preferences, customs, ethics, and tastes. Even within a country or language group, these may vary from region to region, or even between urban and rural populations. It also recognises style, humour, wordplay, fluency, cultural references, contemporary usage, and all the other elements that make language so much more than just meaning. And for any business that’s serious about building its global client base, localisation is an essential part of the process: a CSA Research survey of 29 countries in Europe, Asia, and North and South America found that, if a company chooses not to localise the buying experience, they risk losing 40% or more of the total potential market! What’s more, when given the choice between two similar products, 76% of consumers prefer to buy the localised product with information in their native language.

Why does my business need localisation?

Digital technology has dramatically changed the way we communicate. Today’s businessperson thinks nothing of having a face-to-face meeting in real time with colleagues in the four corners of the globe. Yet many companies – especially those in the complacent English-speaking world – are still operating with outdated ideas of how to forge and retain multilingual connections. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to communicating with emerging markets, with 45% of global GDP growth in the next decade projected to come from countries including China, India, and Brazil. Your company’s willingness to engage with new partners on their own terms could make the difference between sealing or not sealing the deal. A professional approach from the start will ensure the best chance of success for your international expansion plans. Commercial translation and localisation services like those at Global Lingo can call on the expertise of in-country translators who are working with local businesses on a daily basis and have deep, first-hand knowledge of the customer base their clients are trying to reach.

What is website localisation?

Your website is your shop window to the world. It’s very often your first point of contact with potential new clients – so it’s vital to make a good first impression that captures their attention and keeps it. Today’s e-shoppers are savvy, selective, and fickle – they’ll soon move on if your website or app doesn’t keep one step ahead of the competition. Website localisation ensures you’re speaking to them in the language they understand, using images that are relevant to their lives, and creating meaningful online experiences that will encourage return visits. App localisation services are also designed to check functionality across different devices and optimise scrolling speed and responsiveness, preventing user frustration in today’s time-sensitive world.

How do you localise a website?

Website localisation is a complex process that calls for specialist software and human expertise. The freshly translated content must work not only on a cultural level, but also on a technical one. Design elements such as character counts, paragraph lengths, and typographical formatting have to fit with the original page templates and be compatible with the CMS. Images or logos may need to be changed for cultural or practical reasons, including copyright permissions. Product descriptions or terms and conditions might have to be revised to comply with local rules and regulations. Online ordering/payment mechanisms will differ from country to country – as well as privacy settings and security protocols. All of this will need to be repeated for each language and location. Finally, functionality needs to be checked to ensure the relevant links work correctly and the translated site is as attractive and user-friendly as the original.

What is the link between translation and localisation services?

In simple terms, localisation takes translated content to the next level. While translation conveys meaning by finding equivalent words and phrases, localisation provides native credibility. The aim is to give clients the same level of confidence they would have when trading with a local business and make them unaware they are reading a translation. This is especially important in marketing communications, which use words in very deliberate ways to persuade clients to purchase. Localisation also plays a vital part in below-the-line content such as SEO terms and keywords, where a combination of native experience and specialist knowledge ensures your product or service achieves targeted search ratings across all geographies.

Is localisation important?

Translation software is improving all the time. It has gone a long way to remove many of the barriers that used to be a deterrent to companies considering international expansion. It’s a really useful tool for sending an email to a colleague or understanding the main points of a report. But building meaningful and lasting connections with your global partners and clients requires a more nuanced approach to communication. So yes – localisation is important, especially when you entrust your multilingual content to localisation professionals who can offer valuable advice and guide you every step of the way. You can be confident that your company and your brand will be made to feel at home – wherever in the world you lay your hat.

For more information about our translation and localisation services, get in touch with the team at, or via the button below.

Looking for translation services?

Our global translation services help companies distribute content to other audiences across the world. Whether this is information in documents, web content, product or marketing campaigns, or audio-visual media, our team of experienced, industry-qualified translators offers an exceptional level of service.

Did you know?

Global Lingo has one of the largest pool of linguists in the industry. Everyone is a native speaker in the language they are translating into, and we can translate into and from 150+ languages. So, whatever your project, whatever the language, Global Lingo can help.

Speak to a consultant

If you’re not sure what service you need or you’d like to discuss the kinds of Translation you require then we can get one of our team to give you a call. Simply complete the form below and we will get back to you.