Localization: Beyond Translation

Translation is at the core of producing content in a foreign language. Localization is taking that translation and integrating it into your product, whether it be a website, marketing collateral, instructions for use or a software or application interface. 

A successfully localized product will have the same polished appearance as it does in its source language. Localization involves a separate skill set including expertise in graphic design and desktop publishing, markup and stylesheet languages, and audiovisual applications. Testing is also required to ensure your product’s design is international-friendly and linguistically, aesthetically and functionally ready for market. 

Finally, a culturalization assessment is needed to ensure your localized content resonates with the end user and is free of blunders when targeting multicultural audiences.

Digital Localization

Software Localization

Localization is essential for your software to succeed in the global market. Foreign users will enjoy an enhanced UX and greater satisfaction from a customized application for their locale.

Software localization is a multifaceted process, involving internationalization, localizability assessment, translation and editing, multimedia localization, cultural customization, testing and debugging. It can be adapted to either waterfall or agile development.

For a global software strategy, your localization program should be implemented as early as possible when developing software for foreign users. The more in-sync a localization program is with your product cycle, the easier it is for simultaneous product releases and updates in multiple languages.

Website Localization

Website Localization

Website localization is vital to any business seeking to expand into international markets. Nearly 75% of all internet users are non-native English speakers and visitors stay for twice as long if the website is in their language.

Like software localization, website localization requires attention to both the functional and aesthetic. A foreign user needs to be able to easily navigate your site and enjoy a customized experience that resonates with them in their language. Special attention to images and colors is required to ensure cultural appropriateness.  

Modern CAT tools can parse HTML and XML files, ensuring code isn’t altered, and only the content is translated. Given the ubiquity of content management systems, plugins and APIs are available for enhanced translation and continuous multilingual publishing.

Multilingual DTP

Multilingual Desktop Publishing

Translation is only the first step to reproducing print or digital documents in a foreign language. Before going to market, Desktop Publishing is needed to ensure that they are correctly formatted and have a finished, professional look that engages the end user.

Global applications such as Adobe InDesign and Illustrator are essential for language-specific modifications due to their flexibility with character sets and text flow direction.

AudioVisual Localization


Subtitles, voiceover services, and video text require audiovisual localization. Dedicated voice talent should be done by native-speaking professionals to ensure your material is expressed naturally in your target market. 

To transcribe, translate and produce subtitles that are both visually appealing and localized for your target market, subtitle editing software is required to ensure that frames and text are synched in harmony.



Sometimes, only scanned documents are available with no digital version or videos don’t have accompanying scripts. Transcription is needed to produce a live, editable format. 

OCR (Optical character recognition) and NLP (Natural Language Processing) software can reduce the amount of time required to extract the text, and a human editor can post-edit the extracted text to ensure an accurate transcription.