Localization Checklist - Part 3

How to Handle Cultural Aspects and Local Regulations in Localization

This is part of our localization checklist. You can use it as a quick reference for the main aspects of a localization project (part 3 of 4).

Check the other parts here:
Part 1 - Localizing Numbers, Addresses, Currency, Dates & Graphics
Part 2 - Choosing Language Variants
Part 4 - Language Nomenclature and Codification

Cultural Aspects

a) Brand appropriateness

Check if there is a meaning for the brand name in the target country. We have seen several instances of brand names that would have a profane meaning in certain target countries. If the client chooses to proceed with a bad-choice brand name in the target country, make sure to document in written such choice by the client

b) Register

Some cultures will prefer serious styles for business (e.g.: Hispanics in general) while others will be more concerned with effectiveness (e.g.: North Americans). Client should choose the appropriate style based on:

  • Target country
  • Audience
  • Knowledge area
  • Desired effect

c) Grammar / Spelling

  • Check the governing language authority for the target country
  • Most countries will have a language governing entity. In Spain, for instance, there is the Royal Spanish Academy. They choose what is right and what is wrong in the Spanish language.
  • For some countries like Brazil, multiple systems may coexist. The Brazil-Portugal Reform of the Portuguese language became effective in 2009, but some clients still want our writers to use the previous set of rules.

d) Personal Name

  • Name orders: check on first / last name order. Latin countries, for instance, will not use last name as often as the US or the UK
  • Titles

Titles should be properly used in the content. Some countries will use a title along the first name instead of the last one (e.g.: Mr. John instead of Mr. Smith).

  • Colors: meaning of colors will vary greatly among different countries. Black and red are two of the most difficult colors to use universally

c) Political issues

  • Assess which facts could be troublesome when writing the content
  • Common political issues include geographical disputes and disputed borders

d) Social issues

Social aspects that may be important during the content writing include:

  • Ethnicity
  • Clothing
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Conventions
  • Taboos
  • Religions
  • Superstition

Local Regulations

Clients and projects will need to meet different regulations. While some segments (e.g.: medical content) may be highly regulated, others (e.g.: giftware) may have fewer requirements.

  • Local privacy requirements
  • Additional required disclaimers (e.g.: California)
  • Specific labeling requirements
  • Encryption and data access by local authorities
  • Taxation
  • Government assigned documents
  • Battery Sizes
  • Voltage and current standards
  • Others

Download a PDF version of our Localization Checklist


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