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  • Writer's pictureJaney Wong

Navigating the Complexities of UX Localization and Inclusivity


Welcome to our latest blog post where we explore the intricate world of user experience (UX) localization and inclusivity. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Aglaia Pavlerou, the Localization Manager at DICE, on The Multilingual Content Podcast


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With over 14 years in the localization industry, Aglaia brings a wealth of knowledge from her background in translation, linguistics, and project management across various industries like travel and advertising.


She currently manages product localization from the client perspective to ensure positive resonance across different cultural contexts.


With her robust experience spanning all facets of localization, from terminology alignment to stakeholder communications, we knew she would provide valuable perspective.


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In this post, we’ll summarize key insights from our conversation with her, offering valuable lessons for ensuring consistent, inclusive, and effective localization strategies.


 

Let’s dive in!


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The Localization Process: Building Consistency Across Cultures


Localization maturity is a gradual journey, not an overnight achievement. Aglaia outlines a “hierarchy of needs” approach when initiating localization in a company:


Stage 1: Translation and Basic Localization

The first priority is ensuring the product is fully translated and fundamentally localized based on linguistic and cultural nuances. This forms the base.


Stage 2: Refinement Through Feedback

Next begins the refinement stage. As translators and stakeholders test localized versions, feedback is gathered to identify terminology or UX issues. Solutions are collaboratively implemented to align localization output.


Stage 3: Continual Improvement Cycles

The final stage recognizes that localization necessitates consistent enhancement over time. Companies must implement ongoing feedback loops, engaging both internal and external sources, to catch residual issues and continue advancing localization efforts.

This staged strategy prevents localization quality from stagnating—the work is never “complete.” There are always opportunities for refinement.


"You need to ensure first that the whole product is translated and localized. Then, you start looking into some basic references you can use to reach that point. It's a very long process that you don't get right straight away, but it's something that you go back and improve." - Aglaia Pavlerou, Localization Manager at DICE.


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Bridging Cultural Nuances in UX Localization


An ongoing tension in UX localization lies in balancing linguistic inclusivity with design practicalities within different cultural paradigms.


Aglaia provided examples of translating gender-inclusive English into languages with rigid gender constructs, like French or German. She highlights the continual balancing act between ensuring inclusive terminology while aligning with expected UX norms in a given market.


Certain languages strictly prescribe male/female variants for descriptors like “users” or “members.” So directly translating inclusive English terminology can disrupt expected UX flows.


The solution lies in working closely with linguistic experts and cultural advisors to adapt inclusive guidelines appropriately for each market, modifying terminology or design elements where necessary.


"Inclusivity is a topic that I'm very interested in. It's difficult to translate inclusive options into other markets, especially with gender languages where you have to be more specific. You always have to compromise to be inclusive."- Aglaia Pavlerou, Localization Manager at DICE.


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Powering Localization Through Collaboration


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Effective localization relies intrinsically on collaboration, communication, and transparency between all parties. Here are the key themes Aglaia emphasized:


Managing Working Relationships and Expectations


Managing expectations and nurturing positive working relationships is pivotal. 


Translators work closely with product managers, developers, marketing teams, and users themselves. Aligning priorities across these groups can prove challenging. Explanation, active listening, and structured coordination are key.


“The collaboration between a content designer, UX writer, and localization specialists is crucial. They support each other and place significant importance on the content.” - Stefania Russo, Head of UX Content at Glovo.


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Shared Knowledge Channels


Platforms like Slack enable real-time problem-solving and knowledge sharing—invaluable with complex localization puzzles. Regular meetings or check-ins also help tackle issues collaboratively. Ultimately cross-functional harmony and alignment make or break localization success.


Adaptivity Based on Language Environment


Certain languages strictly prescribe male/female variants for descriptors like “users” or “members.” So directly translating inclusive English terminology can disrupt expected UX flows.



tow people designing the interface of a software

The solution lies in working closely with linguistic experts and cultural advisors to adapt inclusive guidelines appropriately for each market, modifying terminology or design elements where necessary.


Continuous refinement is essential, as terminology considered inclusive in English might not resonate the same way in other linguistic contexts.


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"You have to have those feedback sessions and feedback loops to ensure that all the assumptions and informed decisions you've made during localization are the right ones for your audience."  - Aglaia Pavlerou, Localization Manager at DICE.


Prioritizing User Experience Across Markets


Sometimes ensuring seamless user experiences across markets requires unconventional localization solutions. Aglaia emphasizes that ultimately, UX consistency and resonance take priority, even if that means:


  • Re-translating previously approved content.

  • Tweaking visual elements to suit local contexts better.

  • Challenging previous assumptions about localization approaches.


While occasionally disruptive, these UX-focused measures help ensure maximum positive impact across markets.


Localization leaders must continually align teams around this overarching goal of crafting locally intuitive, culturally aligned experiences. This collaborative vision pays dividends through increased product resonance globally.


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The Dynamic Evolution of Localization


In our discussion with Aglaia, she reflected on the continually evolving landscape of localization. As the world grows increasingly connected, so too do languages and cultural sensibilities bleed across borders. These trends prompt localization to continually adapt.


This intersection with other fields also brings new dimensions to the work. Whether linguality, psychology, ethnography, or technical communication—localization perpetually intersects with emerging domains.


Ultimately this ever-changing landscape keeps professionals on their toes but also enriches the work immensely. Localization enhances user experiences worldwide and thus plays an invaluable role in global digital strategies.


As a contributor to this multidisciplinary industry, Undertow firmly believes an open, collaborative, and user-focused approach will drive localization to even greater horizons. 


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Your Trusted Partner for Seamless UX Localization


At Undertow, we understand the intricacies of UX localization and inclusivity and can be your trusted partner in navigating these complexities. Our straightforward, problem-solving approach ensures clarity without industry jargon. 


As a boutique agency, we offer a personal touch and transparent communication, aligning our goals with yours. With our expertise in both software localization and digital marketing, we creatively solve challenges to deliver seamless, culturally aligned experiences for your global audience. 


Get in touch with Undertow today to elevate your localization efforts and achieve global success.


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