Why it's so important to localize your visuals: man holding a photograph with a digital gallery in the background.

Many professionals can often forget to localize visuals. It’s not enough to just effectively translate and localize your text. It’s important to understand that images can have different meanings in different cultures and that they need to also be localized.

Humans are hardwired to be visual creatures. Our world is made up of seeing and recognizing things. Our brains use images to process the world around us and as cornerstones of our memories. We are more capable of absorbing information that is presented visually than information that is written down in the form of text? Here are some interesting statistics:

  • The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text.
  • 90 percent of all information transmitted to the brain is visual.
  • Content containing an image is likely to receive 94 percent more views than content consisting of just text.
  • 67 percent of consumers state that the quality of a product’s photograph exerts a big influence on their buying decision.
  • Websites with an embedded video rank higher in Google search results.

Therefore, it might seem that adding visuals to your website or app is a no brainer. However, when marketing to foreign consumers it’s not sufficient to do an excellent job of translating and localizing your text and then just popping in the same image you’ve been using in your home country. Images need to be carefully localized too. Here are four reasons why visuals need to be chosen wisely.

Images Can Carry Different Meanings

You’re taking a risk if you use the identical image in different countries or regions. This is because the same image may have different meanings in different cultures. For example, countries have different views of animals, even imaginary ones. A dragon in England is generally regarded as something scary, a fire breathing monster that a knight has to slay in order to rescue a princess. However, in China a dragon is a symbol of good luck and worthy of being celebrated in various festivities.

For Native Americans, the image of a pig will signify fertility and abundance as the appearance of a pig means rain is on the way. However, among Muslim communities the pig is viewed as an unclean and filthy animal. Cows are considered sacred to Hindus, which is why McDonald’s wouldn’t have had much success in India with images of hamburgers made with beef.

People Watch Videos with the Sound Off

Globally, video traffic is forecast to be 82 percent of all internet traffic by 2022. Therefore, it is obvious that videos are one of the most effective ways to engage users. However, 85 percent of all videos on Facebook are watched mutely. One reason for this is that many people access sites while at work, and they don’t want to give themselves away by turning on the audio. This is not the only reason why all videos should have subtitles. Subtitles have also been proven to boost comprehension.

Heavy Images Increase Loading Time

High-resolution images will slow downloading time. Google found that 53 percent of mobile users give up on a webpage if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. However, this situation can be improved by the use of lighter images. Also, if you inundate a page with multiple visuals, loading speed will be even slower.

Users’ Attention Spans are Short

There is no doubt that the internet has revolutionized the way we consume data. We are constantly bombarded with information, so it’s no wonder that there has been a significant reduction in the attention span of the average person. What this means to you as a marketer is that you have just a short amount of time to convince a user to buy your product or service. So, your videos should be under one minute in length and should not be too complicated. The ideal video should be short, crisp, and engaging.

Localize Your Visuals

Always consider the cultural practices and sensitivities of people when choosing images and creating videos. And, don’t forget to localize your subtitles. When you need the best translation and localization services, choose Localize. We can help ensure that all of your content is localized to appeal to your local audience. Contact us today for more information.