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My current company does not localize, but my last two did.
The only users who ever expressed a desire for documents
that were "less formal" were native English readers (to be
exact, US readers). The sole exception to this was in some
manufacturing environments in Asia where the average worker
was relatively uneducated. IMO, the desire for "less formal"
documents primarily results from a combination of poor reading
ability plus poor self-discipline in the US. Users elsewhere in
the world seem to understand that the reason for reading
product manuals is to use the product and not to entertained.
We translate our documentation into about a dozen languages, and many
of the guidelines for writing for a global audience are in direct
opposition to writing a folksy, Dummies-style book.