Localization Strategy: Essential Considerations When Selecting Languages to Grow International Revenue


Localization Strategy: Essential Considerations When Selecting Languages to Grow International Revenue

When selecting the correct languages for localization, it’s important to consider that this isn’t just a one-off decision to win business. Choosing the correct language (or languages) is a calculated strategy that can significantly increase your international revenue and foster profitable growth. More than just a list of countries or regions, a localization strategy is about reaching your intended audience. This strategy links to measurable goals or KPIs, such as sales figures, revenue, website traffic, customer engagement, or customer support interactions. 

So, why is language choice such a critical element of localization strategy, what are some factors to consider in this process, and how can challenges be navigated? 

Why Language Choice Matters

Every company’s localization strategy is different and can change as business goals, customer base, brand, product line, and content evolve. One aspect all localization programs share is selecting a specific set of languages to serve an identified business goal, target audience, or legal requirement based on an in-depth analysis of expected results. 

As we know, localization extends beyond translation; it involves adapting products or content to fit each target market’s cultural, functional, and language expectations. The languages chosen for a localization strategy directly impact a company’s efforts to connect with potential customers in a new market. Languages are an investment in customer experience, relevance, and market share. Effective localization leads to an authentic connection, building trust with your audience and solidifying your brand’s presence in the global marketplace. Selecting the correct languages is a crucial factor in this success. 

Start by Collecting Stakeholder Input

When choosing languages for localization, your decision-making process should include many stakeholders. Collecting their input – and getting their buy-in – are critical to the success of your globalization team and your organization’s global strategy. Teams to collaborate with include:

  • Strategy: Meeting with your company’s strategy team is an excellent place to start. Together, you can review industry and economic data, establish language priorities for the business, and determine your company’s long-term fit with different overseas markets. Collecting input from the other teams listed here is even more critical if your company doesn’t have a strategy group.

  • Regional Sales: The regional sales team has unique insights into languages and product functionality because they work closely with resellers or customers in each market. Meet them to learn what could drive sales, what regional customers are asking for, and whether localizing products would increase sales.

  • Product management and engineering: The language selected will impact the work of these teams, especially when it comes to internationalization, local functionality preferences, and right-to-left languages like Arabic and Hebrew. Close collaboration will improve understanding of the requirements for each language, development workflows, and the potential impact on their work.

  • Customer support and customer success: Post-sale support and customer success are vital to retaining customers, so be sure to include feedback from these teams as part of your strategy. They can provide insight into whether localized support materials will reduce support calls and free reps up for other tasks and whether localized eLearning materials will help customers grow with your product and increase retention.

While they might not be directly involved in localization, several other teams may also be consulted when choosing new languages, including legal, IT, procurement, and local reseller partners and distributors. Collecting as much input as possible before selecting a new market or language will help ensure everything has been noticed and avoid surprises later.

Factors to Consider in Language Selection

Many elements are involved when choosing a language for localization. While some of these factors may be common across industries, products, and capacities, others will depend on the specifics of your organization, its business strategy, and the stakeholders involved. However, companies with limited experience in localization may focus more on aligning with market opportunities and risk missing important issues around culture and consumer preferences.

Items to research when creating your language strategy include:

  • Assessing market potential: A thorough market viability assessment includes closely examining a country’s Total Addressable Market (TAM). The TAM provides valuable insight into the budget, effort, and planning needed to enter or operate in that market. Beyond market size, other items to research include consumer behaviors, the competitive landscape, and logistical issues. One example might be identifying the most effective distribution channels and platforms for your intended market, which may require adapting your strategy based on what works best for your local audience.

  • Competitor languages: Learn how localization has impacted your competitor’s market share – is it making a difference for them? Localizing into the languages that your customers use daily helps build trust. If your competitor hasn’t localized, it could demonstrate to potential customers a lack of commitment to their market and present an opportunity for your company to gain market share.

  • Legal and regulatory requirements: Taking the time to extensively research laws related to language can make or break your product in local regions. For example, Canada’s Bill 96 requires companies with 25 or more employees to translate all content into both English and French, and the EU requires that product information be in the language of the country where a company operates. Understanding and complying with these laws will reduce non-compliance risk and steep penalties.

  • Develop a global content strategy: A practical step to prepare for localization is to build a global content strategy, a framework for creating and maintaining content. It also addresses factors like governance, user journeys, workflows, and metrics and ensures essential content elements like documentation, marketing, website, and sales presentations are ready to be localized. Fundamental questions should be addressed: Can your website and product support a new language, especially if it requires additional character sets or reads in a different direction, like right-to-left? Does your marketing content use slang or jargon that could be misunderstood in other languages?  Addressing these before starting translation can help localization go smoothly and avoid costly delays.

Once you’ve researched, you may find that some markets have more potential. When this happens, it can make sense to tier your languages depending on the opportunity for each market. Tiering allows you to maximize those markets and languages with the most potential while continuing to nurture new or emerging markets. 

Challenges When Selecting Languages for Localization

Selecting a language for localization can be challenging since the impact of that decision can reverberate throughout your international business. When entering new markets, companies often face multiple hurdles that can include:

Resource prioritization:

Determining where to allocate budget and staff resources can be a delicate balance between cost and anticipated market return, especially for languages with limited economic indicators or for emerging markets. 

Regional teams are often eager to have localized materials for their market but can be frustrated due to a limited budget or lack of resources to support a language fully. In these cases, working closely with the local teams to understand their needs can be critical for success. Teams can identify their content priorities and ensure that your budget and the localized content are used to their fullest potential to help create engagement, provide information, and drive revenue. Local teams may also be willing to offer local insights or help review translations to ensure robust quality for their market.

Quality and consistency:

Global companies may also need help with quality and consistency across markets and languages. When a brand shares consistent, high-quality messages in the local language, potential customers feel it is committed to their market, can be trusted, and values its user experience. 

Creating detailed glossaries and style guides helps ensure that linguists and local teams use the same terminology and brand voice across languages. A translation memory, or TM, further supports consistency by re-using previously translated content and reducing translation costs.  Partnering with language service providers and professional linguists ensures you work with language experts specializing in your industry. 

Cultural nuance and relevance:

Successful localization is more than converting text from one language to another; it’s about respecting cultural differences and ensuring your message fits seamlessly into the local context.

Conducting in-depth market research for your target markets can help you understand local consumers’ preferences, needs, and pain points. Local linguists and cultural consultants can offer valuable insight into cultural references and what will resonate locally. Finally, being open to feedback and mistakes can help you learn and adjust your strategy as culture evolves and preferences change.

Key Points to Consider

When setting your sights on international expansion, the importance of strategically selecting languages cannot be overstated. It’s a decision that will drive your business, shape your entry into new markets, and forge relationships with your new customers. 

As you start building your localization strategy, here are a few takeaways to consider:

  • Strategic impact: Language selection is an essential element for successful international growth. Language will dictate how well a business communicates with and appeals to new markets, shaping the brand’s global journey. Identify where your products will likely have the most significant demand, especially markets with solid growth potential and a consumer base that matches your demographic.


  • Cultural compatibility: Localization that helps you sell in new international markets requires understanding the market’s culture. Evaluate whether your product and its marketing are culturally compatible with the locale or if adjustments are needed. The languages you select should facilitate communication and help you authentically connect with customers.


  • Legal and regulatory compliance: Correctly choosing a language entails in-depth market research and a strong understanding of laws and regulations influencing market engagement and compliance. Determine if there are any legal requirements when providing localized content in certain regions, particularly for product instructions, safety information, privacy statements, and legal disclaimers.


  • Partner for success: Experienced localization partners can significantly increase the success of your global expansion. Their daily work with professional linguists and languages across regions and cultures provides valuable business insight and expertise that can help you navigate the complexities of language selection.

How Vistatec Can Help

At Vistatec, we specialize in guiding businesses through this critical process, offering strategic language selection services beyond just translation. We understand that the languages you choose are fundamental to your global success, influencing your communication with new markets and defining your brand’s global identity.

Contact Us

Let language be the catalyst for your international expansion. To learn how Vistatec can tailor a localization strategy for your unique needs, visit www.vistatec.com or contact us today.