Why Image Localization is Important

by | Jan 22, 2020

Everyone knows the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words. And, especially when it comes to image localization and global marketing, it is true! Images displayed on your app or website are powerful elements that influence how users will regard your brand. In today’s age of digital marketing, imagery plays a role that is so important it should never be ignored. Images that don’t mesh with your overall branding policy, images that are of poor quality, or, most significantly, non-localized images, directly affect your bounce and conversion rates

Don’t Just Concentrate on Your Written Content

As a global marketer, you may have already recognized the crucial importance of localizing your written content. Indeed, if you have images with written text, you most likely have at least translated the text into the native language. Following on from that, you need to make sure that your image texts are also localized. However, have you paid any attention to image localization? Here are five tips to help you with localizing your images.

Do Research on Your Target Market

The first thing to keep in mind is that one culture’s thumbs up can mean the exact opposite in another culture. This is why it’s vital to thoroughly research your target audience before choosing your imagery. You will learn not only how to avoid cultural mistakes, but also how to best use visual representation to get your message across.

Localize Your Images to Your Target Market

Because images carry different meanings for different cultures, it’s a big mistake to target different countries with the exact same imagery. It stands to reason that your images on your localized website should be ones that are not offensive to your visitors and that fit into the local culture. Adapting images to your target market shows that you have made an effort to deliver your brand message with a native touch.

As a General Rule, Use Neutral Imagery

An artistic depiction of a nude that is considered to be devoid of any erotic meaning can be appreciated in Western European countries. However, using such an image on your website that you have translated into Arabic will be akin to shooting yourself in the foot. Similarly, a photo of your team chilling over beers on your About Us page won’t go over well in some cultures. Using neutral imagery right from the start will save you a lot of time, money, and headaches.

Don’t Overlook Your Colors

Research shows that the colors of popular apps in China are a lot brighter than in Europe or the US. Therefore, if you aim to succeed in the Chinese market, it’s a good idea to raise your color saturation levels. At the same time, you need to be careful regarding which colors to pick. Red is considered as festive and joyful in China, but in Japan, red is regarded as aggressive and symbolizing anger. Yellow is considered to be lucky in most Western countries, but in France, it expresses jealousy. If you want to take a safe route, go for neutral colors like blue or grey.

Be Consistent

Even if you aim to localize every aspect of your website, you shouldn’t forget your company’s unique identity. Creating different versions of your website for different markets shouldn’t mean that each localized version carries a different brand message. Your consistent message should include style and design. The best approach is to decide on your brand message beforehand and keep it in the foreground when working on your localization projects.

Final Thoughts

Visual imagery has the power to make or break the success of your localized marketing efforts. It’s not always easy to pick the right images, choosing appropriate images should be an essential part of your localization process. At Localize, we understand that the role of images on your website is to bridge cultures, not set them apart. Check out our Image Localization feature see how we can help you localize your images for greater marketing success.