Is Localization An Underrated Growth Hack? The can't read won't buy research

July 31, 2022
OSF Exclusive

The other day, I came across a professor who I really looked up to on LinkedIn.

He is the Language Manager and Localization Consultant at Google now, so, when he learned that I work in a SaaS company, he immediately asked about our localization status.

I told him that we have a project going on for the Brazilian Portuguese Locale, and we have been seeing great results from the project.

The little conversation I had with my former teacher literally made me think about how great achievements we have been able to get thanks to our small localization project.

It opened my eyes.

I started thinking about what we had learned in his course.

Then I remembered one specific research:

Can’t Read Won’t Buy by CSA Research

This research shows how people interact with web pages in non-native languages.

In other words, the research reveals how important it is to localize your webpage for different locales.

Here are some of the findings from the 3rd edition of the research, which was conducted in 2020:

Let’s focus on the last one:

40% of people won’t make a purchase if the content is not in their native language

You might be thinking:

“Come on, it’s 2022 already and everyone speaks English nowadays. I will only launch in English and that should be enough.”


“This research was conducted for B2C but my company is B2B, my customers would rather communicate in English”

No! They wouldn’t.

I have proof that this research is relevant for B2B SaaS as well:

You HAVE to localize your product for different markets in order to achieve actual success.

I know I jumped right into the discussion. I should have explained something first:

What Even Is This “Localization”?

I studied Translation and Interpreting Studies as my major in college, and I have been in the marketing industry for a couple of years. So, you can believe me when I say that “Localization” is not just “Translating.”

Localization is the process of recreating a product by adapting the language, visuals, and other details to the target market language.

If it was only translating, then you would have problems communicating with different cultures.

And not only the linguistic features or figures of speech, it’s the format as well which needs to be recreated.

Here is a list of what you have to “recreate” rather than “translate”:

➡ Measuring Units (Kg/Lb)

➡ Number Formats

➡ Address Formats

➡ Time and Date Formats (Long And Short)

➡ Paper Sizes

➡ Fonts

➡ Default Font Selection

➡ Case Differences

➡ Taxes

➡ Character Sets

➡ Sorting

➡ Word Separation And Hyphenation

➡ Local Regulations

➡ Copyright Issues

➡ Data Protection

➡ Payment Methods

➡ Currency Conversion

What about B2B Software Localization?

And here are the things that are most important when it comes to Software/App localization:

  • ​​Marketing Strategy Localization
  • Localizing App Store and Google Play Pages
  • SEO Localization
  • Payment Method Localization
  • Onboarding Localization
  • Sales, Support, and Success Teams Arrangement.

Let’s Talk About The “How” of Software Localization

1️⃣ First of all, you should plan for globalization even before you build the tool.

Globalizing a product gives you flexibility in UX/UI element sizes and sides, since those things can differ from one language to another.

2️⃣ Second of all, you should know the difference between a language, and a locale.

Spanish is a language, Spanish (ESP) and Spanish (AR) are two different locales. Simply translating a text into a language won’t be sufficient, and you should consider cultural aspects and norms as well while localizing.

3️⃣ And last but not least, don’t be shy about money when it comes to localization.

If your competitors aren’t in a locale yet, you will gain an advantage and your ROI will possibly skyrocket. If your competitors are all in a certain locale, you will be left out in that locale, which will lower your chances of success.

So what do you do now?

You start learning about software localization right now!

Here is a good read to further learn the details of Software Localization.