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Technology improvements in the past years allow people around the world to access new content. Within the entertainment industry, localization is critical to reaching this new global audience. It consists of adapting content to suit a different culture. This might include using different images, measurement systems, time zones, currency, formatting, and more. Audiences can connect with localized content better because it includes details that are familiar to them. This increases their trust in companies. It also allows consumers to more easily interact with a product, which can quickly boost revenue. 

Localization is a growing global market trend. All kinds of industries can benefit from adapting content to better connect with a target culture, including medical, hospitality, legal, and business industries. This localization wave especially impacts the entertainment industry as social media promotes more movies, books, and music. In fact, localization is key to making sure these forms of entertainment succeed in different locations. This article will look at a few examples of effective localization within the media. 

Localization in Movies:

Pixar’s animated movie Inside Out debuted globally in 2015 and quickly rose to fame. In one particular scene, the young female protagonist whines and complains about a serving of broccoli for dinner. However, in the Japanese release of the film, a slice of green pepper replaces each piece of broccoli. Localization teams realized that the Japanese people do not have the same distaste towards broccoli as the original target audience did. In fact, they might have been confused over the protagonist’s disgust. In Japan, broccoli vegetable is commonly eaten and enjoyed by children and adults alike.

Fortunately, the localization team was able to find a culturally appropriate replacement. Green peppers are generally hated among Japanese children. By replacing the broccoli with green peppers, the localization specialists ensured that viewers would be able to understand the character’s reaction. It also allowed them to slide in a small regional joke that delighted the Japanese audience. 

Another example of good localization tactics in movies can be found during the movie Lincoln, released in 2012. The film follows the final months of US President Abraham Lincoln’s life, focusing on his role during the American Civil War. Localization specialists wisely realized that viewers unfamiliar with American history might lack the context necessary to understand the film. They produced additional content meant to contextualize the story. These short scenes included explanations of major events and public figures surrounding the film. In this way, they could allow non-American audience members a chance to emotionally engage with the film instead of feeling distracted by a lack of knowledge.  

Localization in Books:

One of the most famous examples of localization in books can be found between the British and United States versions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone. During the book’s initial publication, editors worried that, despite being in the same language, the American audience wouldn’t understand the British terminology used. They made changes to make the book more accessible to the U.S.. Some examples include changing “jumper” to “sweater”, “mum” to “mom”, and “trainers” to “sneakers”. The title change is also an example of localization. The editors of the book were concerned that “philosopher” wouldn’t carry “magical” connotations to the American audience, since it is an uncommon word in American English. To show potential readers that Harry Potter involved fantastical elements, it changed to “sorcerer” instead.

This localization also included spelling changes. The United States favors spellings such as “color”, “center”, and “analyze”, while the United Kingdom spells those same words as “colour”, “centre”, and “analyse”. While it is possible for Americans to discern the meaning of these British words in context, localizing the text into more familiar terms made the book more relatable to the American audience. 

Localization in Formatting

Sometimes the internal content of a piece of media is not all that needs localization help. Localization in the entertainment industry can also appear as adjusting formatting and appearances of products.

For example, in the movie title logo for the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the letter ‘S’ in the word ‘Beasts’ is fashioned to look like a dragon-like creature. However, the translated version of the title didn’t always contain an ‘S’. Localization specialists worked with each language to create a similar design. They formed the dragon creature out of the letter ‘C’, ‘B’, and even fashioned one out of Japanese kanji. This attention to detail made the movie’s promotional material and subsequent global release seem more uniform and professional. It also sent a message of equal importance to each culture that received the beautiful translated version of the logo. 

In another case, localization specialists paying close attention to marketing content helped to prevent certain disaster. The movie poster for Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness showcases Dr. Strange with his hands raised into position to cast magic spells. While discussing localization for the Italian market, the team realized that one of the hand symbols made by Dr. Strange was an extremely offensive gesture in Italy. Thankfully, they were able to alter the image in Italian posters to edit out the offensive symbol and produce a poster that was appropriate for this new audience. 


With localization, companies can ensure that audiences in different places can all receive the same experience, even if they are halfway around the world from each other. This can be especially important in the entertainment industry where companies are trying to evoke emotional responses from their viewers. Localization specialists are the key to ensuring that your target audience enjoys your content to its fullest potential. 

Wondering if your current project could benefit from localization? At Metafraze, we help companies develop positive relationships with their target audience through quality translation and localization.  Contact us today or visit our website for more advice, tips, and information!

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