Nov 24

8 successful culturalization examples to take inspiration from

Creating content that resonates with everyone is a crucial aspect of the localization process, which falls under the broader concept of culturalization.
But how does culturalization work and why is it so important?
You can find out more by reading the following article, which includes 8 successful proactive culturalization examples Miguel Sepulveda, Global Localization Manager at King, shared during the first edition of our Localization Management Program.

What is culturalization?

Culturalization is a form of cultural assessment, a fundamental aspect of localization that involves not only translation but also a comprehensive evaluation of cultural nuances.

Culturalization ensures the creation of engaging and non-offensive content.

Why is culturalization important?

Culturalization serves the proactive purpose of creating content that resonates with local audiences and the reactive purpose of auditing content to ensure it is non-offensive.

Both proactive and reactive culturalization approaches are essential to ensure content is friendly to everyone:

  • Proactive culturalization involves planning ahead, going beyond mere translation, and actively adapting content to align with specific cultural values and preferences. This approach aims to build strong bonds with the local audience, as exemplified by successful content localization in apps, video games, and movies.

  • Reactive culturalization, on the other hand, involves auditing content to prevent any unintentional offense. This approach adjusts content based on feedback or changes in culture, ensuring that the objective is to avoid offending anyone.

A thoughtful combination of proactive and reactive culturalization is vital to creating content that is not only engaging but also culturally sensitive and respectful. 

Pro tip: Want to dig deeper into the various steps involved in localization?

Don’t miss out on the second edition of our Localization Management Program, coming up in March 2024!

8 successful culturalization examples to take inspiration from


One noteworthy example in the realm of culturalization is the travel app Citymapper.

“I find it particularly appealing as they transform city maps by incorporating motifs specific to each city - like historical figures, colors, local music and various other elements ”, explained Sepulveda during the program.

For example, Genoa's map features a little fellow resembling Cristoforo Colombo, the Italian navigator born in Genoa in 1451.


TravelBird provides another interesting example that sits at the intersection of user experience (UX) and culture
They introduced a feature in their app allowing users to view travel offers reachable by car. For instance, in Germany, where traveling by car is a common preference, the initial version used hours for travel in both German and Dutch markets

However, they discovered that the German version did not perform as well as the Dutch one

"This underscores the beauty of data analytics. In today's technological landscape, we can launch an app and, if we notice unexpected trends, such as a feature not gaining popularity in a specific country, we can monitor and investigate", pointed out Sepulveda during the session. 

In this case, they delved into the data and found that in Germany people value precise numbers due to cultural preferences

Specifically, they prefer distances measured in kilometers. This is crucial because of the significant variation in driving speeds on German roads, where some highways have no speed limit.

"This example is particularly noteworthy as it bridges the gap between user experience and localization, two disciplines gaining traction in various industries", concluded Sepulveda.

3. Star Chef

In the gaming industry, Star Chef stands out by introducing different characters based on geographical markets. 

This approach tailors the game mechanics and food offerings to align with the preferences and cultural nuances of each region, exemplifying how culturalization is common in video games.

 4. Homescapes

Homescapes demonstrates proactive culturalization in game development by creating specific content for the celebration of Chinese New Year, a very significant event for Chinese people. 

This example showcases an understanding of cultural relevance in different markets and adapts the game accordingly.

5. Zootopia

In the film Zootopia, based on the viewer's location, different characters appear in different scenes.

For example, the news anchor is a deer in the US, Canada and France, but a koala in Australia and New Zealand.

This practice is widespread in Pixar and Disney films, as we will see in the next three examples.

6. Inside Out

Inside Out is a widely known example of engaging international audiences through culturalization. 

In one scene in the movie Inside Out, the protagonist's father struggles to feed his daughter broccoli. But while broccoli may have a negative reputation in Europe or the U.S., Japanese kids actually like it.

That is why the scenes featuring broccoli were replaced with bell peppers, which are universally considered a positive and healthy choice in Japan (but not very popular among children).

This adaptation illustrates a deliberate effort to match Japanese market preferences to ensure resonance with Japanese viewers.

7. Inside Out x2

Another example from the movie Inside Out involves a hockey sequence played during a dream scene. 
In certain countries, viewers witnessed a modification where, instead of hockey, the depicted sport was football.
Why is that? Well, because in some countries (like Italy, France, Spain, or the UK), football is way more popular than hockey.

While these alterations may seem minor, they exemplify the meticulous attention to detail employed in the film.

This focus on subtleties highlights why some movies connect so effectively with global audiences—the studio understands that films must resonate with viewers worldwide.

8. Soul

Last but not least, Soul, the first Pixar movie with a black main character. 

"One aspect that captivated me was the attention to detail in the setting", said Sepulveda during the program. 

In fact, during their research in New York, the filmmakers explored various barbershops. They observed that New York barber shops tend to be both bustling and compact due to the city's high rents.
Notably, they found that customers in these barbershops often face each other, a departure from the setup in places like Spain where customers typically face the mirror. 

"This intentional arrangement stems from a deep understanding of the cultural significance of barbershops, particularly in the Black community.

In many ways, these establishments represent a central gathering place, like being in the heart of the city. The filmmakers' attention to such cultural nuances adds depth and authenticity to the movie", added Sepulveda.

In conclusion, whether in maps, apps, games, or films, this overlap between cultural and localization underscores the significance of considering cultural aspects in building user-friendly and culturally sensitive experiences.
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