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7 Localisation Mistakes You Need To Avoid

Posted on: May 22, 2023 by admin

What Is Localisation?

Localisation involves adapting text to a specific location and audience type. This requires a thorough understanding of the audience’s culture, values and in-depth knowledge of the regional language including idioms and grammar.

The Top 7 Localisation Mistakes

Text that has been localised can be very powerful and effective at communicating to a new audience. While poorly localised text can lead to confusion, misunderstanding and a poor experience. Here are 7 key mistakes to avoid when localising a text:

Relying On Machine Translation

Machine translation can be useful when used correctly, but it should never be solely relied on for localisation. One of the significant drawbacks of machine translation is that it cannot understand specific norms and language variations (e.g. slang, idioms and regional expressions) used by different groups.


Ignoring Cultural Context

Though two different audiences may speak the same language, this doesn’t mean they share the same cultural values and social norms. There can be a significant variation in cultural context between the speakers. For example, a French-speaking audience from France may have a different cultural context from a Lebanese French speaker. Ignoring cultural context in the location process can lead to text that is cultural offensive.


Incorrect Tone

Nailing the tone is essential to creating a properly localised text. If the tone of the original text is informal, the translator will need to have a deep understanding of the slang and idioms used by the target audience to replicate the tone. A translation that is correct but uses the wrong tone can convey a different meaning and result in poor localisation.


Ignoring Regional Differences

Language can vary depending on the country and region. It is important for a translator to be aware of the regional differences to ensure that the text can be understood by the audience. For example, the word ‘thong’ for Australian English speakers refers to a type of footwear while in American English, it refers to a type of underwear. Poor localisation can often lead to misunderstanding and confusion.


Lack of Proofreading

Proofreading is an important step in localisation. Ideally, a localised text should be proofread by another translator who is familiar with the source text and target audience. They should check whether the text is appropriate based on the target audience’s cultural values and social norms. They should check for the use of proper idioms and look for any language errors (e.g. spelling) or issues with the word choice and text format. Lack of proofreading can significantly affect the quality of the localised text.


Lack Of Localisation Testing

Localisation testing is the process of ensuring that your text makes sense within the cultural, linguistic and functional context of the target audience. For example, if you’re localising a website, this process will involve testing out the website to check things such as:

  • All page elements are translated
  • Texts and fonts are consistent across the different language versions
  • Formatting is correct
  • Dates, numbers and currency are localised


Proper localisation testing usually requires the collaboration of different experts to ensure all elements have been taken into consideration.


Localisation is an incredibly challenging process that requires an in-depth understanding of the language that is being used by the target audience. Translators who specialise in localisation combine their knowledge of culture and language to create texts that are deeply relatable. If you have a text that requires localisation, talk to the experts at Speak Your Language today.