This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Build a WCM architecture that supports business needs

Localization is the adaptation of a product or service to meet the needs of a particular language, culture or desired population's "look-and-feel."

A successfully localized service or product is one that appears to have been developed within the local culture. Examples of localization include changing changing z's to s's for British English. In addition to idiomatic language translation, such details as time zones, money, national holidays, local color sensitivities, product or service name translation, gender roles and geographic references must all be considered. Language translation, which is a large part of localization, can sometimes be facilitated with automatic language translation. However, additional work is usually needed to fine tune text for syntax and idiom.

Ideally, a product or service is developed so that localization is relatively easy to achieve. The anticipation of localization requirements is sometimes referred to as an internationalization effort. The process of first enabling a product to be localized and then localizing it for different national audiences is sometimes known as product globalization.

In some business contexts, the word localization may be shortened to L10n.  The "10" represents the ten letters between the word's first letter, "L," and its last letter, "n."

This was first published in October 2015

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