Why You Should Localize Your Website
Jul 14, 2020
Your company’s website serves as your 24/7 salesperson. And as former German Chancellor Willy Brandt famously said, “If I’m selling to you, I speak your language. If I’m buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen.” That’s true online, too. In fact, a 2014 Common Sense Advisory (CSA) survey reported that over 56% of consumers prioritized finding information in their own language over price!
Yet building a website that seamlessly blends a country’s language and culture to create a more relevant experience involves more than just a great translation. It requires a complex process known as localization.
What Is Localization?
Simply put, localization is the process of adapting an existing website to the local language and culture of a foreign market. While that may not sound too difficult, remember that every website has numerous elements that may need to be altered.
Start with Internationalization
Let’s back up for a second. Even before you decide which market to launch in, you’ll want to structure your website to support localization. This process is known as internationalization. It involves enabling code that supports different characters and symbols, currency, time and date formats, and other regional differences.
Deciding What to Localize
Once your existing website is ready for localization, you’ll need to determine which elements to localize. In addition to translating the language, you’ll need to consider:
- URL best practices for the target country
- International Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Time and date formats
- Typefaces and fonts (Some will be too large or too small for other alphabets.)
- Images and graphics that reflect the local culture
- The significance of colors in the target country
- Any legal and regulatory requirements
Translating for the Web
Now, let’s go a little deeper into the translation side. Translating for the web poses its own unique challenges from character limits to SEO requirements. Add in the challenge of recreating your marketing message for a different culture, and you’ve set the bar pretty high.
When it comes to selecting a translator, you’ll need someone who has a deep understanding of:
- Regional variations of the target language and the country’s culture
- Marketing translation and transcreation
- Website translation and SEO best practices
How Deep is Your Localization?
Okay, so after you do all that, your website is good to go, right? Well…that depends. To give it the best chance of success, you may need to localize most or even all of your existing content. A translated homepage and a few subpages probably won’t cut it.
According to a 2019 CSA report, most companies localize only an average of 5% of the content from their primary website. Although it may seem more practical (and affordable) to localize fewer pages, you’ll likely create gaps in the customer journey. Your new audience could be missing out on information that persuades them to buy—leaving you with fewer leads who become customers.
A Language Service Provider You Can Trust
Gah! This all seems overwhelmingly difficult. Fortunately, with the right language service provider it doesn’t have to be.
When you choose Omnilingua Worldwide, you can rest assured that your launch will be as smooth as possible. Our linguists are well-versed in the localization process and have experience with the technology and tools to produce your desired results. Plus, our standard processes guarantee that your product documentation and corporate messaging remain consistent across your website(s).
Ready to launch your website in a new market? Contact us today to get started!