Incorporating digital-content localization into a planned website redesign project is a time- and cost-saving way to serve customers in new global markets. The design-related decisions you make in preparation for your redesign can positively—or negatively—affect your customers’ localized user experience.
These best practices can help you deliver the ideal UX for your multilingual redesign project.
Determining the Scope of Work
Ideally, offering global customers a website entirely in their preferred languages generates the best-possible UX. But like most business decisions, the scope of your localized website will probably be defined by budget—which means you may not be able to fully localize your redesigned website.
That’s okay. Launching a fully translated website isn’t always necessary.
Advanced translation technologies can help control which content is translated—down to the individual page level, or even specific sections of those pages. Selecting only the most important and relevant website sections or pages to translate can reduce your company’s spend while still successfully pursuing its international business goals.
What to Keep, What to Cut
Once you’ve determined your business goals and budget, it’s time to determine what content on your redesigned site should be localized, and what won’t be. High-profile and strategically important pages should always remain in scope. This “must have” content usually includes:
Your site’s homepage and landing pages
- Site navigation
- “About” pages
- Promotional sections
- Highly-trafficked content
- Conversion paths
In contrast, this content may be less relevant to your international customers and can be excluded from your localization project’s scope:
- Blog posts, especially those older than 6 months
- Archived news
- Career pages that don’t apply to secondary and tertiary markets
- Pages for products or services not supported in secondary and tertiary markets
Translation and Localization
Website translation is integral for increasing engagement among global customers, but winning business often requires localization, too. Localization goes beyond conventional word-for-word translation and leverages locally preferred words and phrases used by customers in your target markets.
This authentic-sounding content is more persuasive than conventional translation. When you communicate to regional markets with relevant lingo, you increase the likelihood of your brand being fully understood and accepted.
But localization can go beyond word choice. You can also highlight special holidays, celebrations or customs in global markets. This illustrates a fluency in a local market’s culture, which also generates customer trust.
Other elements to localize include:
- Dates, times, and units of measurement in the proper local format
- Currency units, payment options and contact information
- Legal notices and security banners
- Offers, market-specific promotions and seasonal content
Cost-Saving Design Changes
A redesign is an ideal opportunity to start applying design-related best practices to your website in preparation for a translation project. The following tips will speed up localization, save costs and help create a world-class user experience.
When you translate text from English to other languages, localized content often occupies 20% to 45% more on-space space than the source content does. This phenomenon is called word growth or word expansion.
When webpage templates aren’t optimized to accommodate word growth, this longer translated text can create problems with navigation, headlines, image placement and other UX elements. The resulting unprofessional “broken” appearance of the localized site can quickly alienate customers.
Eliminate this risk by implementing fully-dynamic page templates on your redesigned site. This can easily accommodate the extra characters required by other languages, and won’t wreck your webpages’ designs.
Many companies integrate display headlines or other promotional copy into their website images. Since this text is merged into flattened image files (such as .jpgs and .pngs), it requires mature technologies and graphic-design expertise to identify and localize them.
Due to the costs associated with image translation, companies may choose to not localize them at all. This “path of least resistance” approach creates a subpar UX. Here’s why:
- Let’s say your localized website’s homepage text is fully translated
- But the promotional messaging integrated into the page’s images remains in the origin language
- Depending how long they’ve been visible on the localized site, these untranslated images may reflect outdated prices or other obsolete messaging
- The mismatched language and messaging creates confusion for customers, and removes them from an immersive in-language UX
- As a result, engagement and brand reputation often suffers
Sidestep this risk by using a technology like Scene7/Adobe Dynamic to “overlay” text atop images instead of integrating it into the flattened image files.
This helps translators easily detect and localize the text. It also enables you to change image files as needed without having to re-translate them.
Fonts and Scripts
Font types and sizes matter for on-site legibility, especially for languages that use non-Latin scripts, like Chinese and Japanese. Choose a font that is available for all languages you plan to translate into, and select font sizes that ensure readability in all languages.
If you’re translating into languages that read right-to-left—like Arabic or Hebrew—you’ll also want to customize formatting to make sure the text displays correctly. If you’re leveraging any plugins or connectors for website translation, confirm that they support right-to-left languages.
Applying these best practices to your website redesign will streamline the translation process, saving you time, money and effort. You’ll also deliver an authentic, easy-to-navigate user experience for your customers in international markets—the kind of UX your global customers expect and deserve.Last updated on March 22, 2019