The Importance of Image Localization
We’re releasing a series of articles titled “Content With Purpose“—12 articles focused on localization meant to help you connect with people from different countries and cultures and grow globally. The last article focused on how localization and user experience go hand in hand. This article will look at the importance of image localization.
Everyone knows the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This saying is true when it comes to global marketing. Images displayed on your website or apps are crucial elements that influence how consumers will perceive your brand. Selecting an appropriate image can play a big part in helping you connect with your audience. Conversely, choosing the wrong image can increase bounce rates and lower conversions.
That is why it’s important to localize your images. In this post, we’ll walk you through the importance of image localization.
Table of Contents
What is Image Localization?
Image localization (l10n) refers to the practice of customizing the images in your digital content for a new audience in a different location. People can better relate to images, illustrations, and visual content when they’re tailored to them.
Images and multimedia that visually convey emotions differ from country to country — representation matters. So when you are trying to sell to people from different countries with different cultures, it’s essential to use an image that resonates with them.
Since representation is specific to a given country or region and culture, businesses need to think outside themselves when creating images to represent their brand in a particular location. They need to conduct extensive research and look to local experts to create an image that can help them speak to the audience in the country where they want to operate.
Examples of Image Localization
Here are some excellent examples of image localization:
Image Localization on Nike.com
The renowned sneaker retailer, Nike, sells its sneakers in more than 160 countries. As such, Nike’s marketers developed a unique homepage for every country in which they operate. As is image localization, translation for website text is a vital part of their strategy.
The images Nike uses on its websites in different countries differ. For instance, if you look closely at Nike’s China website, you’ll notice that it focuses on snapshots of young Chinese basketball players. On the other hand, the American site focuses on bold imagery and renowned athletes. Both these sites do a great job of representing the Nike brand with unique image customizations that resonate with each target market.
Spotify’s Image Localization
Every day, millions of people globally open Spotify searching for something that suits them. Because of this, Spotify localizes its content so that people can easily find Sertanejo in Brazil, Bollywood in India, and Malay Pop in Malaysia.
While Spotify primarily deals with music, it also focuses on localizing its content to resonate with its audience across different corners of the world.
Music unites people across borders. There’s a beauty in not being able to speak the same language as someone else yet still enjoy the same music. Even so, how we listen and what we listen to varies from country to country. As such, Spotify ensures that what people across various nations see when they open Spotify differs in equal measure. It translates the musical experience into the appropriate language and culture using images.
While Spotify may use the same text background, layout, and treatment across different countries, they change all other elements of the images to make sure that every playlist cover is appropriate within the culture and country where it will appear. They use images that visually communicate emotions to which a specific audience can relate. As a result, everyone, no matter where they are, can see themselves on Spotify and feel a sense of belonging.
Image Localization Tips
Here are some image localization best practices you should remember as you start your localization journey:
- Research Your Target Market
First, you should remember that different images mean different things in different cultures and countries. For instance, in one culture, a thumbs-up emoji can mean something completely different in another culture. As such, it’s crucial to extensively research your target audience before selecting your images.
You’ll understand how to avoid making cultural mistakes and how to get your message through to various audiences using visual elements.
- Use Unique Messages for Each Target Audience
People respond to content from different cultures differently. An image deemed appropriate in one culture or country may be repulsive in another, mainly because images have different meanings in different cultures. In some countries, such as Brazil, using English content on a website reduces the chances of a prospect converting.
Adapting imagery to your target market indicates that you have made an effort to deliver your brand’s message with a native touch. Moreover, it makes it easier to gain the love and respect of your target audience.
Don’t Overlook Colors
Color is an essential element of web design and user experience. That said, colors are interpreted differently in different countries. You must be careful about choosing colors – the same color may be perceived differently in other countries.
For example, while red may be considered a festive color in China, in countries such as Japan, red is viewed as a symbol of aggressiveness and anger. Similarly, yellow is regarded as a lucky color in most western counties, but in France, it signifies jealousy.
- Use Culturally Appropriate Images
Morality and values differ from country to country. An image that may be considered to be moral in one country may be vulgar in another.
Using a culturally appropriate image for your target audience will save you time, money, and headaches. For instance, sharing a photo of your team drinking alcoholic beverages on your About Us page may be appropriate for most American audiences. However, sharing such a photo with an Arab audience that doesn’t consume alcohol would be inappropriate.
- Localize Text Images
Suppose any of your images have written text on them; remember to translate the text into your audience’s native language. Also, ensure that captions and alt texts are translated. Translating your alt text can be important for SEO ranking.
- Be Consistent
Even if you’re looking to localize every aspect of your business’s website, you shouldn’t forget to uphold your business’s identity. While localizing your business may mean creating a different website for every target market, it doesn’t mean that you make different versions of your website for other markets.
Establishing a good content localization strategy can ensure you strike the right balance between staying on-brand and customization. Tools such as glossaries and style guides can help keep your branding current and unique across all localized websites.
Ready to Begin Your Image Localization Journey?
The images you use can make or break your localized marketing efforts. Selecting the right image should be of prime importance to your localization strategy.
Here at Vistatec, we understand the importance of localization to successfully grow your business globally. We can help you localize the images on your website so that they resonate with your target audience. Contact us today for your upcoming localization project.
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