Diversity, equity, and inclusion in localisation – getting the tone right for your company values and culture

Most companies now have diversity, equity and inclusion firmly on their radar, and for good reason. A greater number of backgrounds and cultures means more experiences, wider perspectives and different innovation and problem-solving opportunities. Prospective employees feel the same way. According to a LinkedIn survey, 76% of employees and job seekers said diversity was important to them when considering job offers. But to what extent are language use and a safe and equal work environment interlinked? Localisation – the process of adapting content for a specific country, culture, or region – can be an effective tool in your diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. Want to know how? Read on for some insights into how localisation can help you build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.


Almost 1 in 5 people across the world speak English, but only 26% of them are native English speakers. English (and in fact any other language) can be a bridge, but also a barrier to communication. People normally have a greater depth of vocabulary in their native language, meaning they might find it easier to express themselves. Investing in localisations that speak to them directly sends them an important message: you are seen, and your language, input, and understanding is important. This will ultimately lead to better relationships and better outcomes, and is applicable not only to your workplace, but your wider audience as well.


If you demonstrate cultural intelligence and sensitivity, you’re showing awareness and acceptance that other cultural identities exist. Your audience is likely culturally diverse, even if they’re only in one country. There will be a myriad of other subcultures as well, defined by everything from age to region, heritage, religion, and even social class. To avoid excluding a proportion of your audience, it’s important to acknowledge and accept all cultures, and avoid recognising one over another. Don’t opt for a localisation strategy that narrowly targets only a certain demographic of your audience, or you risk excluding people. Take religious holidays as an example. It’s unlikely that your workforce or audience only celebrates one religion. Instead of greeting everyone with a religious message that will only be relevant to a portion of people, you could opt for a more inclusive way to spread cheer, like ‘Happy Holidays!’


Be aware of inequalities in language which could impact your perceived company values and culture if you miss the mark in localisation. Language rooted in racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and sexism can be hard to spot, especially if it is not your native language and you are unaware of word/phrasal origins and background sensitivities (which are changing all the time). Adding inclusive language to your localisation strategy is the best way to avoid unintentionally hurting people in this way.


Make sure your content is accessible. This is relevant not only physically, through subtitles, voiceovers, audio descriptions, and readable interfaces – but also by using Plain Language to facilitate readability and understanding. Your localisation team should be able to help you make your content easier for everyone to access and understand.


At the core of diversity, equity, and inclusion is recognising, understanding and celebrating cultural differences. Inequality cannot be eradicated overnight, and there is no single solution. But an effective localisation strategy that demonstrates awareness of cultural sensitivities will be a good start in setting the tone for your company values and culture, by placing your people and customers at the heart of your business.

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