Localisation – adapting translations to specific markets


If a piece of software, an app or a website is to be released in a country where a different language is spoken, the copy and images have to be adapted for the new target audience. It is also important to take legal aspects and country-specific forms of address into account. Localisation involves translating text while simultaneously modifying pictures, currencies, quotations, links, idioms and phrasing to meet each country’s specific requirements.

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Localisation vs. translation: what’s the difference?

When publishing texts in other countries, it is usually not enough to simply translate the relevant words from the source language. Localisation describes the process of translating texts while also adapting all aspects of the text necessary to make it suitable for the target country.

The content, i.e. text and images, has to be adapted to the target audience. For instance, there are different rules and conventions for dates, currencies and units of measurement.

Legal aspects must also be considered during the translation process. The laws in different countries stipulate different requirements, which must then be implemented in the localised version of the software or app.

Language conventions in the target country also play an important role: In order to best reach your customers in the target country, you have to use forms of address that are typical for the target country.

To ensure the international success of your company, you must always keep your target group in mind so that they feel at home on your website or when browsing your online shop. You can achieve this with a successful localisation project.

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Have your website and online shop localised

If you want to attract customers from other countries to your website or your online shop, then having them professionally translated is imperative. If your website and your shop are also localised well, nothing will stand between you and success.

Localising a text involves adapting linguistic and cultural aspects of the content in line with the conventions in the target country. While the translation process is primarily concerned with accurately converting the content of the original text into the target language, when it comes to localisation, the content used in the target language can differ greatly from the original content. During the process of localisation, the expectations of people who speak different languages are explicitly included and special consideration is given to various cultural factors.

A website localisation should consider the following aspects:

  • Currencies and units of measurement
  • Formatting conventions for the date, time and telephone numbers
  • Local laws
  • Symbols and images
  • Font and background colour
  • References to famous people, pieces of work, places and events
  • Methods of payment
  • Website structure
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Image localisation

Images used for explanation or illustration purposes should be adapted to the relevant target language. In instructions for a computer program, for example, screenshots are used to demonstrate the different functions of the program to the user. Therefore, the instructions and the screenshots must both correspond to the language in which the reader is using the program.

It’s a similar story in the case of product packaging. Which images are usually depicted on this kind of packaging in the target culture? Are the contents of the packaging displayed? Or the target group? Or perhaps something else entirely is used to demonstrate the qualities of the product.

There are still some things to consider when it comes to images that are not used for explanatory purposes. For example, some motifs may be unusual or inappropriate in certain cultures – or, in the worst-case scenario, even forbidden. One example is the depiction of gestures that can have completely different meanings in different cultures.

In Romania, if someone taps their forehead, they are showing you they are really impressed with the idea you just suggested – in Germany, they are telling you they think you’re crazy!

Find out more about the exciting topic of image localisation


Case studies:
Translations for our customers

Typical customers for intercontact include high-profile, internationally active companies from the fashion, marketing, industry and e-commerce fields. We continue to enjoy a successful working relationship and many years of collaboration with the majority of our customers. We couldn’t be happier about this as it shows our work makes a difference and is highly valued in the market.

Do you want to influence markets with international communication? Then we look forward to hearing from you.

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We, the intercontact translation agency, are available to you in person, over the phone, via e-mail or in an online meeting and we are always happy to hear from you. We are here to discuss any questions you may have about having your copy and documents translated and will be glad to create a personalised quote for you.


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