Website localization 101

Is the only thing standing between you and your new international market a properly localized website? These five tips make conquering the world a breeze.

Want to take your product or service global? First, you’ll need to go local – by speaking your customers’ language. A multilingual website allows you to reach consumers all around the world. But cultural differences go deeper than just the language people speak. Localizing properly means adapting content to suit the cultural and business norms of your target country. Here are the five key steps for multilingual world domination:

Localize everything

When it comes to localizing your website, your motto should be “all or nothing”. Every content element – that means all the text, page headings and indexes, as well as the navigation options – needs to be translated. Particular attention should be paid to the target culture’s standard units of measurement, currencies, and date, time and telephone number formats.

A plugin integrated directly into your content management system lets you order, manage and directly publish translations using the original webpage layout. This ensures that nothing gets left out when the content is transferred into your target language, and lets you send new or updated content elements for translation immediately. On the linguistic side of things, company-specific translation memories and termbases guarantee consistent corporate language. These integrations are also available for e-commerce and PIM systems – without detours or tedious copy-and-pasting.

Localization and content marketing are closely related. You need to offer your customers as much relevant information regarding your product or service as possible. That means localizing blog articles, reference files, infographics and multimedia content as well as standard web text – anything and everything that shows off your expertise in the target market.

Transcreate your brand message

Slogans, claims and imagery might work perfectly in one country but be confusing or even open to misinterpretation in another. The result? A marketing mishap, just like when Toyota named its new car something truly offputting for the French, or when Taco Bell offered up “Supreme Court beef” and “Low-quality chips” for the Japanese market.

This means that respecting a country’s traditions and customs takes top priority during localization: societal taboos, religion, architecture, color symbolism and interpersonal hierarchies all need to be taken into consideration. That’s why you should opt for a transcreation of your core brand message – unlike a word-for-word version, it’s creative, precisely tailored to your target audience, and will ensure that your message doesn’t get lost in translation.

Still not sure what we mean by transcreation? Check out our previous localization projects for Trek Bicycles, Accor Hotels or Swiss International Airlines for a little enlightenment.

Localization = SEO

No matter how good your localized website is, it can’t deliver the desired results if nobody can find it. And that’s where international search engine optimization comes into play. Fully localizing a website means knowing how people in your target country search the web, and translating accordingly.

An SEO expert will adapt keywords, title tags, metadescriptions, alt text and link anchor text, add international backlinks and check the final translation for readability, keyword density and structure.

Test the localization

Once your shiny new website is ready to go, a localization test can show you its strengths and weaknesses. A qualified linguist reviews the translations in the front-end, allowing them to check the website’s design and dynamics much more effectively than would be possible in an isolated translation tool. Checking content in context is a key step towards final quality assurance approval.

If content is connected via external resources such as Instapages, it’s also worth running an A/B test to see which content, layout and menu versions are most popular with users before the site goes live.

Leave translation to the professionals

Website localization presents linguistic and cultural challenges, and also involves complex technical issues. So why not leave it to the experts? Professional language service providers offer tools that can make the process much faster, simpler and less error-prone. Integrated solutions connect translation providers with powerful content management technologies and proven localization engineers. And getting the experts involved also means added value thanks to strong SEO expertise and the integration of machine translation.

So try consolidating all of your localization services in a single provider – and benefit from a network of copywriters and translators who are always ready to put in a good word for you. In more than 100 languages.

Ready to start localizing? Talk to us.

Cover image via Pixabay

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *