Need to Know: Six Website Localization Do’s and Don’ts

Need to Know: Six Website Localization Do’s and Don’ts

If your company has a global presence or operates in more than one territory, website localization is something you can’t afford to ignore. While you may be aware that localizing your web presence is crucial, you may not be fully-cognizant of how to go about it. We’ve compiled the six most important considerations when localizing your digital footprint:

Don’t settle for half-hearted website localization

Misleading your visitors by having them land on a localized home page, only to click through to another page that’s not, is a surefire way of pushing them towards a competitor who does offer a fully-localized experience. Localizing only a portion of your website is nothing but counter-productive; if you want to reach a new audience, you need to be providing them with an offering that’s fully customized. As this article from Multichannel Merchant points out, “If visitors arrive at your site expecting a fully translated site and don’t receive one, the chances of them returning are inherently lower.” You have been warned.

Do localize your SEO strategy.

One of the oft-overlooked elements of website localization is SEO (search engine optimization). If you’re translating the language or dialect of a page, it makes sense that you need to tweak your SEO accordingly. Someone in France, for example, will use very different search terms compared to someone in Peru. By building your localized pages with local search terms in mind, you’re ensuring that your content is ‘findable’; if someone can’t find your website, localizing it is moot. Bear in mind that localization is essentially all about providing your visitors with an optimized experience, and in the digital age, UX (user experience) trumps everything else.

Don’t rely on a multi-media site that’s laden with videos and images.

While multi-media websites make for an engaging, multi-sensory experience, peppering your website with a multitude of images and video may end up hampering the experience of visitors who’re located in a region with unreliable or slow internet connections. Avoid frustrating visitors with text-based pages, and only supplement them with images if you know that users from this particular region have a robust internet connection.

Do be mindful of the unique cultural context of your audience(s).

Nuance is often the first element to be lost in translation when conducting website localization. Multichannel merchant advises that you to “Avoid buzzwords, which tend to be tied closely to a specific place and time, and instead focus on emotional values to make your brand more universal”. In addition, evaluating your entire brand messaging through the eyes of your intended target market is key. Having to do so after the fact is not only expensive, it’s incredibly damaging to your brand reputation too. In 2009, HSBC was forced to fork out $10 million to revamp their global branding after their slogan ‘Assume Nothing’ translated into ‘Do Nothing’ in several of their foreign markets. Avoid a similar fate by having an expert localization service provider review all aspects of your website, including your slogan, use of color, images and terminology before you go live.

Don’t forget about the ‘golden thread’.

Brand messaging that’s uniform throughout is crucial when building or attempting to bolster brand awareness and advocacy in a new market. In order to ensure that your UX is as streamlined as possible, all facets of your digital presence need to complement – and work in harmony with – each other. Your brand’s unique style, tone and design need to be evident and immediately recognizable across all brand assets, including your website, social media accounts, mobile app (if applicable), email correspondence, brochures, in-store branding and the like.

Do make use of a reputable Localization Service Provider.

It goes without saying that the quality of your localization efforts is only as good as the quality of your localization service provider. Countless potentially brand damaging and costly hiccups can be avoided when you entrust your website localization to a superior LSP. Avoid the temptation to outsource the job to the lowest bidder; an expert website translation service will provide you with accurate translation and localization, thanks to the fact that they’re cognizant of cultural sensitivity and context throughout.

Learn all about website localization and brand messaging that gets to the heart of your customers in our eBook, The Psychology of Marketing Messaging.

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Marketing messaging guide

Why Website Localization Matters (Way) More than You Think

Why Website Localization Matters (Way) More than You Think

The internet has fundamentally changed the way we buy. Live miles away from your nearest mall? No problem. Thanks to ecommerce, everything under the sun is available online. And we mean everything. A brand’s online presence is paramount– even if you’re not a retail brand. Why? Well, your website is often the very first point of contact someone has with your brand – regardless of which industry you operate in. Inbound marketing company Hubspot reports that 61% of global internet users conduct online research before buying a product, which means that wherever you’re doing business, your website has to resonate with the market at hand – whether they’re in Boston or Bangladesh.

In the digital age, website localization is one of the most important endeavors your brand will ever undertake.

Think I’m exaggerating? Think again: according Tony Haile writing for Time, you have exactly 15 seconds to capture a visitor’s attention before they click away. Yup, a whole ¼ of a minute. What’s more, it’s predicted that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator, reports customer intelligence consultants firm Walker. It goes without saying then, that if you want to really capture someone’s attention and have a fighting chance of converting them into a customer, you’ve got to do everything you can to make your UX (user experience) as riveting as possible – for all of your users.

Cultural context is the most important factor to take into account when conducting website localization.

Many a marketer mistakenly think that website localization is as simple as translating one language into another. In fact, they couldn’t be more wrong. When it comes to digital assets that resonate with a foreign market, cultural context is everything. Smashing Magazine highlights the paramount – yet often overlooked – role that cultural nuances play in website localization. Japanese and US cultural norms are vastly different; when it comes to business, even more so. Japanese business protocol is rigid and followed without question, while in the US, business dealings tend to be more relaxed and informal. A website that includes sarcasm, slang and colloquial turns of phrase is the opposite of what Japanese deem appropriate. It’s small – yet incredibly important – details like these that underline the importance of website localization that takes cultural sensitivities into account.

Successful website localization entails myriad considerations, and needs to be tackled holistically, instead of piece by disparate piece.

Yes, translating one language into another is an important element of website localization. That said, so is coding, aligning images with the culture at hand, tweaking SEO to reflect local search trends…the list goes on. Drop just one of these balls and you jeopardize your entire localization effort. Added to this considerable task is the time, effort and human resources that are required to localize a website. The back and forth with an agency, translator, and website engineer is laborious and time consuming (not to mention expensive and fraught with stress). The good news is, the website localization process needn’t be a headache. By making use of professional translation services, all aspects of your website localization will be tackled with the ‘big picture’ in mind. Best of all, a quality localization consultancy will also streamline and take ownership of the project management, a common bump in the road for many.

Rubric specializes in website localization that gets your message across loud and clear.

We’ve helped leading brands like AccuWeather, localize their websites, resulting in exceptional end-user experience. Our teams of expert translators, software, audio and video engineers and experienced localization project managers work closely with our clients to ensure that every single aspect of their website localization is perfectly aligned to the target market at hand.

Learn more about the best way to tailor your website – and your brand as a whole – to your target market by downloading our guide, The Psychology of Marketing Messaging.

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Marketing messaging guide