If you want to manage your site or business globally, website localization is essential.
Your website often makes a first impression on potential clients / customers. Therefore, localization of website is very important for any worldwide operating business.
In the case of the internet, some things are more unprepared than a website with hasty translation and an unnatural feeling. Research has shown that about 75% of consumers will judge a company’s credibility based on its website. But websites do not independently perform miracles for different languages and cultures. (1)
Website localization is a process designed to solve this problem. This article will cover website localization and all the basic considerations involved.
What is website localization?
It is important that you understand the concept before you get to the basics. In short, website localization is the process of adapting a website to a version that adapts to the language and culture of a specific target audience. It may sound like a mouthful, but you will soon realize better.
The goal of website localization is to ensure that users from different countries share the same experience on your website. For example, suppose your business is located in the United States. The website will be designed with the American audience in mind and will be in US English. If your business operates in a country like Japan, then some changes will be required to adapt your site to the Japanese audience.
In other words, you are adapting your website to the language and expectations of your target audience. A good local website should provide a similar experience for all international web traffic.
The basics of web localization
Website localization is more than just the way you translate a website, though it is still important. Here is a breakdown of the six basic considerations that should be included in each localization project:
- Identify your target audience
The first part of website localization is to identify your target audience. The process can become increasingly expensive as you adapt your website to more markets. If you are limited by budget, consider targeting the markets that will give you the highest conversion rate.
Understanding your audience is an essential step that should be taken before a localization project. It is best to research in a specific country to determine how your business fits into the market, which languages may be your users from the main, specific regions, and any other considerations specific to these audiences that may affect your process.
- Language translation
Translating the language of your existing website is a big deal involving localization. Poor translation can be detrimental to the user experience. When people read something in their mother tongue, they expect it to be read as if it were written by someone who speaks that language. Thus, fluent language translation is essential, considering that more than half of consumers (55%) prefer to shop and browse in their mother tongue. This means that you will probably need professional help to translate all parts of your web page (2)
- Make sure the transaction and currency are appropriate
Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to create a version of your website that will make users in other countries feel at home. Global brands and businesses often fall short in localizing the elements of their transactions.
Characters, addresses, currencies and payment options should be changed to match all local transaction values in the country concerned. If you skip this step, the chances of getting new customers will be significantly reduced. In fact, research shows that 92.2% of people prefer to shop in their local currency. (3)
- Cultural considerations
When you tailor your business site to a target audience in another country, you need to consider the culture and rules of that place. Take the unit of measurement, for example. At the moment, only three countries still formally use the imperial system: Myanmar, Liberia and the United States. A company based in the United States must adapt all measurements of their site to the measurement methods used in their target country. (4)
Other elements of localization include local holidays, dates and time formats, pictures, videos and infographics. Eventually, all elements of your website will be localized. Remember that the goal is to maintain your brand and voice in a way that appeals to your target audience.
- On the site
As important as localization on site is, so is design. Some aspects and subtleties of a site can be changed to suit the web design trends in different countries. However, the most important navigation aspect of website localization is to ensure that users can easily switch to their native language. The option should be easy to find and use. Doing so gives users a satisfying way to experience your site naturally.
- Local communication options
Most websites provide a way for users to interact with the business. Operating part in a foreign country involves providing the user local communication options in the local language.
A local office address (if you have one), phone number, email address, legal page and customer support. All these and any other communication options should make users feel normal
Website localization is more than just translating the language of a web page. The process takes into account all aspects and elements of your website and adapts it to the target audience of another country. For businesses that operate internationally, this is essential. Without it, your website is less likely to appeal and attract clients from other countries that may be your target.
This article covers the basics that need to be considered in any web localization process. Here are some things to keep in mind when you transform your website into something that will help your business grow worldwide.
- “Research shows that having a bad website can hurt your business (markbrinker.com)”, Source: https://www.markbrinker.com/a-bad-website-can-hurt-your-business
- “CSA Research – View (csa-research.com)”, Source: https://insights.csa-research.com/reportaction/8057/Marketing?IsSearchWithin=False
- “Ecommerce Statistics for 2022 – Chatbot, Voice, Omni-Channel Marketing (kinsta.com)”, Source: https://kinsta.com/blog/ecommerce-statistics/
- “Which countries use the Imperial system? – WorldAtlas”, Source: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/which-countries-use-the-imperial-system.html#:7:text=Now%2C%20this % 20might% 20surprise% 20you, America% 2C% 20 Myanmar% 2 C% 20 and% 20 Liberia.