Have you ever watched a show from a foreign country without subtitles? Besides not understanding the language, you may also notice that you can’t figure out what the plot is about because you’re not familiar with the culture of this region. 

Affiliate marketing is a type of storytelling, so it’s crucial to ensure that the message is conveyed in a way that the audience understands. It doesn’t matter how good a product is, if you can’t deliver your marketing message to the audience, your chances of success won’t be very high.

For this reason, affiliates need to translate and, more importantly, localize their content depending on the GEOs they are targeting. 

In this piece, we’ll go over the difference between content translation and localization. We’ll also discuss the benefits of localizing your content and give you tips to make sure that your ads resonate with your audience.


Explaining the Difference Between Translation and Localization

Before going any further, let’s go over the difference between translation and localization. 

In this context, translation is the act of rewriting your ads in a different language so that the target audience understands its content. For example, if you have ads in English but want to run campaigns in Latin America, you will need to translate the content into Spanish. Needless to say, this practice focuses only on language.

Localization is the process of adjusting your ads when targeting a new region. The goal of content localization is to get past the cultural barrier and make sure that the entire content of your ad aligns with the moral values and interests of viewers. For example, if you run summer sale ads in a very religious region, you may need to edit the images to ensure that they are not offensive.

To put it in perspective, translation is just a part of the localization process, albeit a necessary one. So, to get the best results, you need to localize your entire campaign and verify that the ads you have will produce the right reaction in your audience.


Why Should You Focus on Localization?

There are many reasons you should localize your content, but these can be summarized as producing more engaging campaigns, reducing risks, catering to your audiences, and producing higher-quality conversions. 

More engaging campaigns tend to generate a higher number of conversions, which translates to higher profits. 

There are many mistakes that can derail your entire campaign, so you need to minimize these risks by using the correct translation. Localization can help you avoid these issues and make a good impression on your audience.

For example, using a word in your ads, when this term is actually a curse word in the location you’re targeting. Think about the Mazda Laputa, which translated to “Mazda the whore” in Spanish. 

Did you know that 95% of online shoppers only purchase goods from platforms that are presented in a language they speak? Localization can help ensure that your audience is engaged and ready to make a purchase, regardless of where they are located.

Lastly, the best way to generate quality conversions is to ensure that your audience members understand what they are signing up for. Translating and localizing your content can help you reduce churn and false conversions, which usually have a positive impact on the profitability of your campaigns.


Determining What Content to Localize

Although you may think that localization only applies to cases where you target areas with a different language, this isn’t always the case.

For example, you should localize content when you’re switching between Great Britain and the United States. Likewise, you should do the same when switching from Spain to Latin America, France to French Canada, South Africa to Australia, and similar countries that share the same language but a completely different culture.

Remember, localization isn’t only about language, but creating content that connects at a cultural level. This means adjusting elements like:

  • Imperial and metric measurements
  • Currency units
  • Paper size (centimeters versus inches)
  • Date formatting
  • Text length and design
  • Slang and colloquialisms being used
  • Holidays and religious celebrations

Localizing Images

While images can’t be translated, they can certainly be localized! You should always aim to use people that look like they come from the regions you are targeting.

For example, if you target Thailand, include Asian people and symbols that are typical of Thai culture. And, as we mentioned before, you should also consider what is socially acceptable in the area you’re targeting to ensure that you don’t offer potential audience members.


How to Localize Your Content

There are many different ways to translate and localize your content, so the best fit depends on your specific budget and requirements.

Some of the alternatives include:


Software

Perhaps the fastest and most budget-friendly alternative, this option relies on the use of Google Translate and other software that’s usually available at no cost.

These can provide a good translation in terms of getting the message across, but they don’t usually sound natural nor fluid. This is the best choice for affiliates that have very limited resources and can’t opt for any other alternative.

🈯 Services: Google Translate, PROMT, Reverso, Translate

Forums

If you’re not translating massive pieces, you can always turn to forums to get help from friendly users who are willing to translate your text and help for free. This can be a great solution for budget affiliates, but forums can take time and they don’t always produce the best results.

💬 Forums: Word Reference, Proz, Mlingua

Freelancers

Freelancers are a superb choice, but they usually start at $5 for half a page and up, depending on who you work with. It’s relatively low cost and you can usually find native students who provide great work, but these aren’t always reliable in terms of consistency and due dates.

👩‍💻 Freelancers: Upwork, Fiverr, Guru, Freelancer

Agencies

As you can imagine, agencies are the most professional but also the most expensive solution. Our suggestion is to always work with an agency if you have the resources because they provide unmatched results.

👔 Agencies are welcome to add their offers in comments to this post 🙂


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Author

While working as a writer and marketing consultant for the past 9 years, Tom has also developed a passion for the world of affiliate marketing. With first-hand experience and a solid background in online marketing, he has a deep understanding of the different ad formats, offers, and other elements that affect the performance of an affiliate campaign. Tom also loves backpacking around tropical countries, listening to the boom-bap sound of old school hip-hop, and playing amateur rugby with his local team.