Localization: Using Words to Reach a Wider Audience
Localization: Using Words to Reach a Wider Audience
  • Lee Tae-ran (ST Reporter)
  • 승인 2021.03.23 15:32
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Do you know the word ‘localizing’? We introduced definitions and specific examples of localization at home and abroad that we did not know. .......................Ed.

 As the global era arrives, contact with foreign cultures is increasing exponentially. Food, movies, and services were brought in from abroad and used in everyday life. However, products and marketing from foreign companies often do not fit into local sentiments or are simply not effective. Therefore, companies utilize ‘localization.’ Localization is defined as “the process of ensuring that a product or service in a particular market meets the needs of another particular market, considering the values and culture of the target country.” Sometimes, what is considered natural in one country or culture may not be the case with other countries. For example, different cultures may have different associations with colors. In English-speaking countries, yellow is primarily used as a symbol of joy. However, in Russia, the expression corresponding to the white house on the hill is ‘yellow house,’ and in China, the expression ‘yellow movie’ is used to describe erotic films. If this cultural difference is not considered when planning marketing strategies, it could be laughed at by the locals (e.g., Tiz, a men’s razor brand, failed to expand its market into Arabic-speaking countries because Tiz means ‘hip’ in Arabic). As a result, companies strive to find marketing strategies that ‘connect to’ their target buyers as much as possible when expanding to other cultures. In this article, ST would like to introduce some of the more interesting instances.


Localization of Animation

Daum Movies<br>
Daum Movies

 Konan, along with Jangmi, Semo, Mungchi, and Arumi, help solve criminal cases with the famous detective Yu Myeong-han. Shin Tae-yang bakes bread in a bakery named Pangtajia. Spongebob bothers Squidward with Ttungi and Darami. When you think of childhood animation, characters with Korean names usually appear and engage in Korean activities with a sprawling backdrop of Korea, or, more specifically, Seoul. However, most of these animations were actually brought in from Japan or the U.S. and heavily localized. Japanese animation was often more harshly localized for the purpose of excluding things Japanese. In severe cases, kimono became hanbok (Sugar Sugar Rune) and natto became black bean noodles (Atamamma). Several unexpected things happened in cases when localization took place at the same time as animation production. The most famous case came from Thunder Eleven, which was localized by Jaeneung Broadcasting. The protagonist team, which was originally a Japanese soccer team in the Japanese release, became a Korean team due to localization. However, as the story progressed, the Japanese team eventually met the actual Korean team in a match. Jaeneung Broadcasting, which already had a Korean team in its localization and therefore could not make a new Korean team appear in international competitions, decided to localize the Korean team to the North Korean team in the Korean version. The North Korean team’s captain, Aphrodi, ended up as a North Korean defector after being on the South Korean team and caused much confusion to the audience.


Samsung’s Stunning French Localization Strategy

Cheon Fong Liew
Cheon Fong Liew

 Localization is not just limited to translation of media, but it is also used for the localization of marketing strategies. This is called ‘cultural marketing,’ and one of the best-known examples is Samsung’s marketing strategy for France. Samsung Electronics, wanting to enter the French market for the first time in 2010, had a fantastic localization strategy which aided them into breaking into the market formerly dominated by Apple, Sony, and Nokia. The cultural marketing strategy they used took into account the interests of the French citizens. French people in general are fully aware of the value of art. Noting this, Samsung first donated Samsung Displays to various cultural spaces, such as the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Pompidou Centre, and the Palace of Versailles. Afterwards, they held a fine art exhibition at a place called Petit Palais, where art pieces were shown with Samsung Displays instead of the traditional method of showing the artwork itself. Samsung also developed a smartphone platform called ‘Bada.’ Bada is connected to the ‘Pages Jaunes’ app, which is often used by French people. It also comes with a native capacity to watch and listen to French movies and music. Furthermore, Samsung Electronics held an app development contest among French developers to secure 3,700 apps for French people only accessible through Bada. Thanks to this marketing strategy, Samsung’s corporate value in France has quickly risen and topped the list in electronics. Samsung Electronics also outperformed Japanese businesses that sell similar home appliances. Samsung has reached the hearts of the French public with this successful localization.


Choco Pie Localization Strategy


 You may have heard that Choco Pie is loved by Russians. In fact, Choco Pie is distributed in China and Vietnam, as well as in Russia, and is selling very well. Among the notable localization strategies is the Chinese character change for Choco Pies in China. In Korea, ‘Jeong (情)’ is a Chinese character associated with Choco Pie, but the same character is used to express affection between men and women in China. Therefore, Orion decided to use the Chinese character ‘仁’ instead. Chinese people associate this character with value in human relations. In addition, Orion’s name was also localized with the Chinese character ‘Haoriyo (good friend)’ to give a friendly impression to Chinese consumers. There was also the option to use Orion’s other name, ‘Oriental Confectionery,’ but was rejected because the word ‘Oriental’ in China reminds the Chinese of Japanese Imperialism before and during World War II. As globalization progresses, companies in various areas approach new markets by localizing them in diverse ways. It is fun to see how the products we encounter in our daily lives are localized, so it’s a good thing to look at everyday products with interest. 


Lee Tae-ran (ST Reporter) 

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