What is Website Localization?

Culturally-relevant translations provide terrific brand experiences for local customers—and increase engagement and conversions.

How Does Website Localization Work?

Website localization is refining web content to provide a useful and relevant experience for users by considering culture, language, and flow. It’s not the same as translation: localizing content takes into consideration the nuances of the target region. Some words can have the same definition, but different meanings in different contexts. Similarly, there are always different dialects of a language, like Spanish in Spain, Spanish in Mexico, and Spanish in South America.

Many don’t understand the difference between localization and translation, but website localization involves more than just translating words into a different language. Read on to learn how to think about web localization—and how to execute it in powerful, authentic ways.

Globalization vs. Internationalization vs. Localization

Globalization, internalization, and localisation are three different concepts related to how businesses operate and expand their operations. Globalization refers to the integration of economies, cultures, and societies across the world. In business, globalization refers to expanding into other countries. It also involves creating a worldwide supply chain and requires adjusting products and services to suit different cultures and markets.

The process of internationalization involves creating software or mobile apps and then localizing them to target unique cultures, regions, and languages. Software developers and engineers do this to make sure websites work well in different languages and cultures.

Global website localization refers to the process of adapting products, services, and marketing strategies to meet the specific needs and preferences of a particular local market. This can involve changes to language, design, branding, or product features to better appeal to local consumers. Site localization can help companies gain a deeper understanding of local markets and establish stronger relationships with customers.

The Basics of Web Content Localization

Localizing a website requires five key elements

  • Language and regionalisms ensure that copy, content and brand voice come through accurately and authentically—and make users feel like the site experience has been customized for them.
  • Websites use cultural aspects of communication to show understanding of different cultures and make users feel comfortable. This includes dates and times, units of measurement, and local holidays.
  • Transactional elements such as currency, payment options, addresses and character sets are not only important for the local feel of the site, but for the accuracy and proper handling of transactions and on-site conversions.
  • Local communication and trust elements such as phone numbers, local addresses, in-language customer support, legal notices and security banners may not seem mission-critical, but they’re key to engaging with local audiences. They also ensure that your in-market sales and marketing teams have the information they need to serve your customers.
  • Navigation and discovery for your translated site is critical to helping users select the language they need, and immediately start interacting with your site in an authentic way.

4 Benefits of Website Localization

Website localization can provide several benefits for businesses looking to expand their global reach. Here’s what you can expect to gain from the right localization for website strategy:

  1. Increased sales and revenue: A localized website can help businesses reach target markets and customers who may not have been able to engage with the brand otherwise. By providing a website that is accessible and relevant to local customers, businesses can increase revenue and establish themselves in local markets. 
  2. Improved SEO and website traffic: Localized websites that are optimized for local search engines and keywords can help improve search engine rankings, which can drive more traffic to the website. By using the right keywords and phrases in local languages, businesses can increase their visibility to local customers who are searching for their products or services online.
  3. Increased customer engagement: Localization allows businesses to tailor their website to the specific needs and preferences of a local market, which can increase customer engagement and satisfaction. By providing content that resonates with local audiences, businesses can create a more personalized experience that encourages customers to spend more time on the website and engage with the brand.
  4. Improved brand reputation: Localization can help businesses establish a stronger presence in local markets, which can improve their reputation and credibility with local customers. By showing a commitment to meeting the needs of local customers, businesses can build trust and loyalty, which can lead to long-term success and growth in new markets.

How to Begin Web Site Localization in 4 Easy Steps

Are you ready to seek out website localization services? To begin your web site localisation project, you need to lay a strong foundation. You need to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I dedicated to making a genuine, multilingual website to show my users that I value their experience? (You’ll read more about this in an upcoming section.) 
  2. Do I have the right professionals on my team to support my site as it scales? A great partner can help make this easy.
  3. Are my in-market sales teams asking for a more complete, robust online experience for their customers? If the demand is there, it might be time to meet it.
  4. Is my content engaging and enriching enough to attract my target audiences? You’ve already invested in a powerful online experience, and you want to maximize the return on that investment.

How to Keep Your Website Relevant

After a web site localization project, your users should be able to navigate your site easily and quickly. Ensure your translated content uses the appropriate language and terms that resonate with the local customers you serve. Literal translations can come across as obviously out of touch with the local culture, and compromise things like SEO and brand integrity.

This approach includes localizing multimedia content, too. Having images, video content and PDFs appear in the correct local language can enhance brand credibility and encourage interaction with content.

As always, the devil is in the details. Make sure your international customers can easily understand and utilize the significant information on your website. This includes adapting currency, payment methods, measurements, address formats, and contact details. With these changes, your customers won’t miss a beat as they’re spending time on your site.

What Needs to Be Localized?

Great website localization means thinking beyond the site itself to all the digital assets, content and channels that make up your international digital presence.

First and foremost, consider how locals will discover your site. Make sure regional search engines know about your new local website, so you’re easy to find in search results. Working with a website localization or translation partner that knows SEO can give you an advantage, too, by thinking beyond localized keywords and leveraging advanced technologies like Proxy. This ensures the translated version of your website properly displays in your customers’ local search engine results.

The most advanced providers can help with powerful user preference-detection technology for your site that can do things like seamlessly welcome first-time visitors in the language they’re likely to speak and help them find the localized site that best fits their needs.

And make sure your omnichannel content—such as email campaigns, social media posts and offline assets—is translated, too. You need to consider things like social media handles and pop-ups, as well as how localizing affects format. For instance, Arabic reads right to left, which must be taken into consideration. Work with a partner that can help you find and localize this content and ensure that it’s connected to your digital presence in all the right ways.

Why Microsites Aren’t Enough

As you expand to international markets with your digital presence, one thing becomes abundantly clear: local markets expect a website experience that is every bit as fantastic as the one on your flagship site.

It can be tempting to solve the localization problem with a simplified microsite that takes your company’s essential information, translates it into the local language, and serves up an abridged experience to those users.

But users regularly abandon websites that don’t provide consistent language experiences or deliver compromised experiences in favor of taking a simplified approach.

As you extend your global reach into new markets, strike the right balance with powerful website translation that doesn’t compromise the user experience.

Invest in the Best Website Localization Solution

As you consider ways to adapt your company’s website for local markets, look for solutions that deliver accurate and authentic website translations and offer engagement-boosting localizations.

Website localization and translation require world-class translators and powerful website localization technology that can serve the right localized content it to the right audiences. The right partner will help you with workflows and translation management to easily publish, track, and update your translated content.

MotionPoint elegantly employs both website translation and localization to ensure clear, effective, relatable content for every market where you do business. We designed our localization platform to meet all translation and localization needs, big or small. Reach out to us today and let us help you reach new markets where your business will thrive.

Take a Deeper Dive

Want to learn more about the translation and localization industry? Check out our resource section and become an expert on all things related to a great multilingual experience.

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