This weekend, I had a very interesting conversation with a friend who told me about a localisation faux-pas on the Levi’s website that led to a major upset in Belgium.
If you click on your country on the site, the UK for example, a screen appears saying “Our guess: you are in United Kingdom and speak English”. Fair enough. However, there was a problem with the localisation for people in Belgium; the screen said “A notre avis: vous êtes en Belgique et vous parlez français.” Belgians really, really didn’t like that and thought it showed ignorance bordering on contempt for their culture, as they speak Dutch in the North, French in the South and German in a small region in the East. A DJ got hold of the story, started talking about boycotting Levi’s products, and the issue was even discussed in the Belgian Parliament!
Levi’s issued an apology explaining that their website was only translated into five major languages (French, English, Spanish, Italian and German) and that they thought French was the most accurate guess for Belgium. Interestingly enough, if you now click on “Belgium” on their website, the language that you’re offered is… English.