The Avatars of Culture in Website Localization

Hossein Bahri, Tengku Sepora Tengku Mahadi


The aim of the present paper is to investigate the most important cultural aspects involved in website localization by drawing on the data obtained from a number of Iranian website localizers. A questionnaire was given to 18 participants with varied degrees of expertise and experience who worked on website localization projects in either of English ↔ Persian, Arabic ↔ Persian, and French ↔ Persian directions for at least 3 years. The participants of the study were asked to rate as many factors as they perceived crucial in determining the cultural content of websites. Variables as diverse as ideology, pictures, symbols, colors, branding, navigation, and the written content were investigated. The questionnaire measured the importance of cultural variables and the items were evaluated on a scale of 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree). A final item asked why the localizers found any of the cultural variables difficult to localize. The results of the study show that ideology, pictures, and symbols were considered to be the most important variables in website localization, while localization of branding was the trickiest. This study emphasizes the unique cultural nature of website localization based on the analysis of the examples provided by the participants.


Website Localization; Culture; Translation

Full Text:



Esselink, B. (2000) A Practical Guide to Localization, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2nd edition.

Ferranti, M. (1999), “From Global to Local,” Infoworld, 21(41), 36-37.

Kroeber A.L. & Kluckhohn F. (1952) Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions, New York: Vintage Books.

Luna, D., Peracchio, L.A., & Juan, M.D. (2002) Cross-Cultural and Cognitive Aspects of Web Site Navigation, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 30(4), 397–410.

Lynch, P. D., Kent, R. J., & Srinivasan S. S. (2001), “The global Internet shopper: Evidence from shopping tasks in twelve countries,” Journal of Advertising Research, 41(3), 15-23.

O’Hagan, M. & Ashworth, D. (2002) Translation-mediated Communication in a Digital World: Facing the Challenges of Globalization and Localization, Topics in Translation: 23.

Schäler, R. (2008) Topics in language resources for translation and localization, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Simon, S.J. (2001) The Impact of Culture and Gender on Web Sites: An Empirical Study, Database for Advances in Information Systems, 32(1), 18–37.

Singh, N., Oliver F., & Massimiliano O. (2004), “To Localize or to Standardize on the Web: Empirical Evidence from Italy, India, Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland,” Multinational Business Review, 12 (1), 69–87.

Singh, N. & Pereira, A. (2005) The Culturally Customized Web Site: Customizing Web Sites for the Global Marketplace, Elsevier Inc., UK.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 International Journal of Multicultural and Multireligious Understanding

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

International Journal of Multicultural and Multireligious Understanding (IJMMU) ISSN 2364-5369
Copyright © 2014-2018 IJMMU. All rights reserved.