Localisation and website design

Stephen James Crabbe, Victoria Sharvill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most readers of Communicator will have heard of localisation and the localisation industry. This is not surprising when we consider that the localisation industry has been in existence since the 1970s and has evolved from being a small, specialised sector of the language business into the fourth fastest-growing industry in the United States (Jiménez-Crespo 2013). Yet, it would probably be difficult to reach a consensus among readers as to what constitutes either localisation or the localisation industry. For example, some readers might believe that localisation is akin to translation, others that it goes beyond translation and is akin to cultural adaption, while others that it is akin to internationalisation.
Similarly, the localisation industry includes multiple segments (e.g. website localisation, software localisation, video game localisation and multimedia localisation) that are all closely interrelated yet discrete. The largest segment is currently website localisation, although it is worth noting that the ongoing growth in the popularity of smart phones and tablets may affect this in the future. While it is difficult to get precise figures for the increase in volume of business for localising smart phones and tablets themselves, the mobile app industry is widely predicted to see a 14% growth rate for 2012-2017 in paid-for downloads alone, much higher than, for example, the video game and software industries which are predicted at 8.1% and 4.8% growth rates respectively (Columbus 2013; Stamford 2014; Warman 2014).
This article will thus discuss and attempt to define localisation, looking in particular at website localisation and the importance of cultural preferences in website design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-31
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2015


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