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Website Localization: Step by step to go global

In today's digital age, companies looking to expand their reach need to understand the importance of website localization. But how to start it? What is important to be localized in a website?

In this article, we will explore the benefits of website localization and provide a practical step-by-step guide with examples at each stage so that you can understand the key steps involved in the localization process. From initial steps to market research, image audit, and final strategic control, we will cover everything you need to know about successful website localization. 

Remember, having experts and specialized professionals in your target market is crucial for a smooth localization process. Stay tuned for insights and an overview of Language network services tailored specifically for website localization needs.

What is website localization?

Website localization is the process of adapting an existing website to local language and culture in the target market. It goes beyond translation to modify the source language and other site elements to appeal to the customer's cultural preferences in their own target language.

A report by Common Sense Advisory found that 75% of consumers prefer to buy products in their native language The research also highlights that companies that localized their websites achieved a 20% increase in revenue. This means that if your company wants to expand globally, your website needs to speak the language of your customers.

What is the difference between website localization and website translation?

Website translation is converting text from one language to another. On the other hand, website localization involves not only translation but also a comprehensive study of the target culture to correctly adapt the product and content. 

Benefits of website localization

Website localization is not just about translating your content into another language, it's about creating an online experience that resonates with your international audience. Here are some compelling benefits of website localization:

  • Enhanced customer experience: By localizing your website, you're showing respect for your customers' cultures and languages. This creates a more comfortable browsing experience, which can lead to increased engagement, longer site visits, and ultimately, more conversions.
  • Increased market reach: Localization can significantly broaden your company’s reach. With each language added to a website you can potentially double your audience. It's like opening a new store in each country but without the high overhead costs.
  • Improved SEO rankings: Search engines prioritize websites that cater to the user's language and location. By localizing your website, you're more likely to rank higher in search results in your target markets, leading to increased visibility and more organic traffic.
  • Increased revenue: A well-localized website can dramatically increase your sales and revenue. Studies show that consumers are more likely to purchase a product if the information is presented in their own language.
  • Competitive advantage: If your competitors aren't localizing their websites, you'll gain a significant advantage by reaching out to international markets in their native language. If they are already localized, you risk losing market share if you don't do the same.

In conclusion, website localization is a strategic investment that can lead to greater customer satisfaction and bring a significant competitive advantage. But how to start this process? Below we will highlight the main steps for localizing a website, check it out!

9 Steps to go global with website localization

In this digital age, establishing a global presence is no longer an option but a necessity for businesses aiming for growth. The key to effectively reaching international markets lies in website localization. Want to understand more about it? Here's a practical guide to help you navigate through this journey and build an effective website localization process.

1. Strategic analysis and planning

The journey of website localization begins with defining clear goals. Are you aiming to enhance brand visibility in another location, increase sales, or attract more traffic? Once these goals are established, determine the budget and expected return on investment (ROI).  Is also important to determine KPIs that will help you monitor your website localization strategy. In this step, make sure the KPI´s are aligned with each goal you have established before.

2. Define the team in charge of the process

Website translation and localization requires technical skills, cultural competence, and a deep understanding of the target language. Because of that, it’s crucial to have a team of professionals to handle the process. 

This team can either be internal or external, depending on your company's resources and capabilities.

Check out how our localization processes work!

3. Market research: Identifying the target audience

Recognizing your target audience requires more than just understanding the demographics. What does that mean? These are other examples of how you can obtain valuable information about the local audience and their specificities:

  • Creating buyer personas
  • Understanding local costs
  • Study local practices that may influence buyer behavior
  • Rely on local translators specialized in the market segment you operate in

4. Analyze local competitors

It's no secret that understanding your competitors' strategies can help shape an effective website localization strategy. To get started, analyze their website design, content, and SEO tactics. Another tip is: Observe the tone of voice used and which words and terms are most recurrent to define the services and products they offer.

This will give you insights into what works for the local market and where there are gaps that your business can fill.

5. SEO analysis and keyword research for website localization

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plays a critical role in website localization. This marketing strategy can help your site rank higher in search engine results for specific languages and regions. To effectively localize your website, start by conducting keyword research to identify the search terms and phrases your target audience is using in their native language. 

For example, if you're targeting the Spanish-speaking market, you'll want to identify commonly used keywords in Spanish. Tools like Google Search Console and SEMrush can assist you in this process by providing insights into keyword volume, competition, and related terms. 

6. Image and design audit

Ensure that all images, icons, colors, and design elements are culturally appropriate and do not send any offensive messages to the new market. At this stage, take the opportunity to optimize images for fast loading to enhance user experience and SEO.

7. Localization of Website UX

When doing a website localization, it's essential to adapt the user experience (UX) to align with the local culture and user habits. For instance, in Arabic-speaking countries, where text is read from right to left, mirroring the website layout is crucial to ensure a seamless user experience. 

Additionally, consider cultural preferences for colors, images, and navigation styles to make your website more appealing and user-friendly to the local audience.

Other topics that may interest you:

The Difference between Localization and Globalization

Identifying translation and interpretation needs for organizations

8. Launching and Promoting the Localized Website

Entering a new market is an exciting venture, but it's critical to ensure that your localized website is ready for launch. The first step in this process is to conduct a thorough review of all the localized elements - from content and images to design and functionality. This meticulous audit is pivotal in ensuring that your website is culturally appropriate, user-friendly, and SEO-optimized for your target market. 

Next, consider running a beta test of your localized website with a select group of local users.

Here are some ways to conduct effective user testing:

  • Recruit local participants: Utilize online platforms or local marketing agencies to find a group of individuals within your target audience who are willing to test your website.
  • Develop user testing tasks: Create a set of tasks that users need to complete on your website, such as finding specific information, making a purchase, or signing up for a newsletter.
  • Gather feedback: Use surveys, interviews, or screen recording software to capture user feedback during the testing process. Ask them about their overall impression of the website, any difficulties they encountered, and suggestions for improvement.

Once your website localization is done and is launched, it's time to make some noise in the market. Implementing marketing localization strategies is key to promoting your website effectively. This could involve Social Media campaigns, a good content marketing strategy, paid ads and partnerships with local influencers for example.

website translation

9. Strategic end and scalability control

It's crucial to keep your website updated with fresh and relevant content. Continuously monitor the performance of your localized website to ensure it's achieving the set objectives. Tools like Google Analytics can provide insights into traffic, user behavior, and conversion rates.

Importance of Hiring Professionals Specialized in Localization

Localization goes beyond literal translation. It requires an in-depth understanding of the target culture and language nuances. Localization experts, such as the team at Language Network, possess the necessary skills and knowledge to ensure your website is accurately adapted to the target market. 

Moreover, these professionals can provide valuable insights into local market trends, consumer behavior, and legal regulations, which can significantly influence your website's content and design. 

By hiring localization professionals, you not only eliminate the risks of cultural misinterpretation and non-compliance with local laws, but you also position your business to successfully penetrate new markets, resonate with local audiences, and ultimately, achieve your global expansion objectives. 

Localization director Tyson Shelley's experience on both sides of the table, as a localization supplier and a buyer. This has led him to believe that close collaboration with a qualified localization vendor is a critical factor for success in international endeavors. When asked what an ideal collaboration would look like, he highlighted:

I believe it's a vendor who is helping you get set up with external translation systems that plug into your internal tool for starters. It also includes connecting our linguists with your stakeholders to make impactful linguistic decisions. Lastly, it involves excellent project management from our end coupled with a firm handshake with your internal international leaders. This technology-focused approach with skilled personnel ensures our customers' international success.

To sum up, investing in professional localization services is a strategic move that can drive substantial returns in your international business ventures.

Problems Caused by Poor Localization Execution

Poor localization can lead to miscommunication, a confusing user experience, lost sales, and damage to your brand's reputation. For example, when HSBC Bank translated its catchphrase "Assume Nothing" into various languages, it was interpreted as "Do Nothing," causing the bank a $10 million rebranding cost.

Navigating the complex process of website localization can be challenging, but with the right team and a well-thought-out strategy, it can open doors to global markets and lead to significant business growth.

Language Networks: specialized services in Localization

At Language Network, we provide specialized localization services, backed by a team of certified professionals with expertise in over 200 languages. Our comprehensive approach to website localization is tailored to meet specific needs and language requirements of our clients, guaranteeing industry-specific, accurate translations.

  • Sophisticated Technology: We leverage advanced API technologies to streamline the content extraction, localization, and downloading processes, eliminating the need for manual copy-pasting.
  • Seamless Scalability: Our technology enables seamless content transfer at scale, maintaining consistency in terminology and setting you up for long-term success.
  • Superior Translation: We offer reliable, high-quality website localization services, thanks to our native speaking linguists, subject matter expertise, and meticulous QA process.
  • Wide Reach: We cater to over 6,000 clients with the help of our 3,000 translators proficient in 200 languages.
  • Experience & Expertise: With 40+ years of experience, we are technology-oriented and well-positioned to provide industry-specific, accurate translations.

Trust us to help you expand your reach to a global audience with our reliable, high-quality website localization services. Contact us here to learn more about it!

About Language Network

Language Network is a language solutions company specializing in interpretation, translation, and localization services for government, healthcare, and international businesses. Language Network provides critical language access and support in over 200 languages. For more information, visit www.languagenetworkusa.com.

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