Localising Microcopy: How to do it and Why?

localising microcopy how and why

Localising Microcopy: How to do it and Why?

Microcopy refers to the snippets of text that we often read without even realising it, and which help users find their way while browsing online.


Localising microcopy, that is, adapting them to different languages and cultures, can prove to be a particularly complex process, which very often requires the collaboration of various professionals.

But first of all, what is microcopy?


Microcopy can be short sentences, or even a single word, and these are intentionally chosen to accompany users on their online journey and to demonstrate a certain level of thoughtfulness regarding the user experience on the part of the brand.

Where is microcopy found?


It’s everywhere: in 404 pages, in the specific form fields on websites, in newsletters and e-commerce, in the privacy policy and even in apps and chatbots.

The professional who deals with this work is the UX writer, a relatively new role but one that is getting increasingly known. Those who write microcopy focus on analysing available data, context and the customer journey, so they can choose the best words to include in the text.

Why is it important to localise microcopy?


Each word is fundamental in UX writing. When we’re talking about localising microcopy is important to choose our words carefully to ensure they have the desired impact on users.

Let’s look at why it’s so important localising microcopy in an appropriate way:

  1. To guide the user through the right environment


In order to produce an effective translation of microcopy, it’s essential to clearly comprehend the context in which it is used. This allows localisation experts to gain a deeper understanding of the product that the text is related to and then they can choose the most suitable terminology accordingly.

When microcopy is correctly localised, users from different places can feel guided and assisted by the brand in the same way as others. It doesn’t make any difference if users are signing up for a newsletter, filling out a form or completing an online payment; it’s always important that they plainly understand how to proceed and what to expect from the platform they’re using.

  1. To convey the company message at all levels


It’s also vital for localisation experts to understand the ultimate goal of microcopy. Only like this is it possible to select the exact intent or the right tone of voice to associate with the message.

By creating original and customised microcopy, we can convey the personality of the brand to our external users. For example, customising 404 error pages leaves plenty of room for creativity, allowing you to express the “personality” of your business and to bring users closer to your brand.


Localising microcopy: to elicit the right emotional response from users


Microcopy can also be emotive. Copy that is capable of arousing emotion in readers is particularly suited to the first stages of the customer journey, when users find themselves in the phase of exploring the brand.

Emotive texts can make users dream, reassure them or drive them to take action. In any of these cases, localising content properly is still essential, ensuring it is in line with the local culture.


In conclusion


UX writing and the microcopy produced are part of a recent phenomenon, and as such are constantly changing. In the same way, technology and the scope of the user experience continue to evolve as new levels of experience are created.

This is why microcopy is taking on increasing importance and consequently so is the localisation of these small fragments of text.

Do you have any questions or do you want to find out more about translation and localisation services for the communications industry? Send us a message!


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