Localising Your Visualisations... Wait. That doesn't look right.

If you're an American, that title may look off.

And if you're in the U.K., you're probably thinking, "Wow, they finally spelled it RIGHT!"

Of course, I'm not here to rehash that old fight about US vs. UK spelling or debate how many syllables "aluminum" REALLY has*.

I really just want to make a point about the importance of localization.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, localization is the practice of communicating to an audience in another country (or culture) with an understanding of their language, culture, and communication standards. It often includes translation. But it doesn’t stop there. Or it shouldn’t.

Localization helps to avoid misunderstandings or giving unintentional offense. It also helps to establish credibility. After all, if someone thinks I can't spell "visualization" properly, why would they trust my insights about it? Or, if they recognize that my spelling variant is locale-based, they might assume that my insights don't apply to them.

Think about the various ways that dashboard could look odd, confusing—or worse, even completely misinform its viewer, if improperly localized:

• Tooltips in another language
• Numerical separators (Do you use a comma or a space between zeroes when writing out “one million” numerically?)
• Currency default symbols (Are your sales metrics in U.S. dollars or Euros?)

Here at Tableau, communicating clearly through data visualization is something we celebrate. And as a company with customers (and co-workers) around the globe, we want to make sure that our users can adjust their visualizations to suit their audience.

To that end, Tableau rock star Russell Christopher has written an in-depth “How To” guide for localizing content in Tableau. Check it out!

*Actually, the Brits got this one right. "Aluminium" sounds much cooler.

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