The Impact of Localization on User Experience


Our world is diverse and multilingual. Although English is the most commonly used language in business, it is not used everywhere on the internet. English-language internet users account for only roughly 26% of all internet users.

CSA Research, a content and language services organization, published “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy” in 2020, detailing people’s sentiments regarding utilizing products in their native language against other languages.

The CSA polled 8,709 customers in 29 countries, and the results were eye-opening, albeit perhaps not as shocking to someone in the content industry:

  • 65% of people prefer content in their language, even if it is of poor quality.
  • Mixed language websites are tolerated by 67% of users.
  • 73% prefer products that have information in their native language.
  • 40% will not make purchases from websites in other languages.

Given these findings, it is clear how critical competent translation and localization are for boosting international revenue—and for usability in general. Users strongly prefer reading and communicating in their language. To properly engage with customers from all over the world, you must evaluate the influence of localization on user experience. And here, professional localization services can come in to help.

What Exactly is Localization?

Localization refers to adapting products, services, or content to a particular country or region. Localization is more than just translating material into multiple languages; it is also about considering a user’s cultural context and how that may affect their experience with a product.

Here’s an example from actual life: Did you realize that each country has its keyboard? Because of language and cultural differences, not only is the arrangement of the letters varied, but so is the positioning of the functioning buttons. 

What Effect Does Localization Have on User Experience?

The value of localization in terms of user experience cannot be emphasized. It can make or break the success of a product or service in a foreign market. Here are some of the reasons why localization is so important for user experience:

  • Cultural Sensitivity: Each culture has its own set of values, traditions, and practices. A design or content element that works well in one culture may not work well in another. Colors, symbols, or images, for example, that have a positive connotation in one culture may have negative connotations in another. Localization ensures that products or services adhere to cultural norms, resulting in a more positive user experience.
  • Customer Support: It is critical to provide localized customer support. Users should be able to contact support in their native language, and support workers should be familiar with local conventions and norms. Customer service that is responsive and effective can transform a negative encounter into a favorable one.
  • Language Barriers: Language is the most visible part of localization. If a user cannot grasp the content or instructions supplied, their experience can suffer greatly. Proper translation is essential for people to be able to navigate a website, use an app, or read product labels. A smooth transition from the user’s native language to the product’s language improves usability and engagement. Collaboration with professional translation localization services is highly recommended at this stage.
  • Local Regulations and Compliance: Legal requirements for products and services differ by country, such as privacy policies, data protection, and safety regulations. Adhering to local legislation assures not only legal compliance but also user trust. Violations of local legislation might result in legal concerns, which can harm a company’s brand and customer experience.
  • Designing User Interfaces and User Experiences: Localization isn’t just about the written word. It also includes the creation of user interfaces. Layouts, buttons, and menus should be tailored to the target audience’s preferences and habits. Right-to-left languages, such as Arabic or Hebrew, will necessitate a different layout than left-to-right languages. The simplicity of navigation and the intuitiveness of the user interface can have a significant impact on the user experience.
  • Speed and Performance: A user’s physical location might affect the loading speed of a website or app. Localized content delivery networks (CDNs) can improve loading speeds for users in various areas, hence improving their experience. Faster loading times improve user happiness dramatically.
  • Currency and Payment Methods: E-commerce enterprises, in particular, must pay great attention to currency and payment method localization. Users must be able to see prices in their own currencies and use payment methods that are familiar to them. Failure to deliver this may result in cart abandonment and dissatisfied customers.
  • Iteration and User Feedback: The impact of localization on user experience is an ongoing process. It is critical to collect user feedback and make incremental adjustments based on the tastes and demands of a certain region. This exhibits a dedication to the local audience and demonstrates that their user experience is important.

Successful Localization Examples

Localization tailors the experience to the audience’s location. But what exactly does that mean? Some product features must be adjusted depending on the country it is being launched, while others will remain unchanged.

This method is becoming more common for product teams as products and services grow globally.

In Movies

Inside Out, a film created by Pixar is an excellent illustration of globalization in action. Riley, the primary character of the film, is a young girl who is learning to manage her emotions. Her father spends much time daydreaming about sports. To make the scene more accessible to international viewers, his imagined sport was altered from American hockey to soccer (football). In total, 28 visuals were localized for specific markets throughout 45 different images.

In Fintech

How does localization affect products in other industries? Consider the following distinctions that occur just in the fintech industry:

  • Routines and timetables for banking
  • Currency notations and processing
  • Apps and tools for payment processing in each country
  • Locally available products and services
  • Accounting and bookkeeping rules and variations
  • Legal requirements for business reporting and transactions
  • Institutions and physical spaces
  • ATMs and other cash-handling machines are examples of machine variations.

These distinctions add up to a major demand for post-translation software change. The localization process reminds us that launching products in new global marketplaces requires more than just words.

In E-commerce

ASOS, a British online apparel shop, is an excellent example of an effectively localized e-commerce platform. They support 19 currencies, accept ten different payment methods, and allow consumers to customize their experience by language and area. These selections control the language, the display of various product offers, and the payment methods.

Finally, the significance of localization on user experience cannot be overstated. When done well, localization improves usability, fosters trust, and ultimately increases user pleasure. Ignoring the significance of localization can result in a disconnected and unpleasant user experience, impeding a company’s potential to expand into global markets and interact with varied audiences. 

You can engage with a global audience and position your service for success in the international market by selecting the proper localization service and investing in a well-executed localization strategy. Businesses must embrace localization as an intrinsic component of their user experience strategy to flourish in today’s linked world.

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