Website localization is the process of translating and adapting the language of a website for foreign markets. It’s a hot topic right now in the translation industry, and with good reason. Converting site content to a second (or third) language is clearly tied to more effective strategic marketing and higher sales. For instance, the UK-based mobile app development company Triggertrap saw 750% increase in sales after localizing its website into a second language.
While search engine-powered online translation tools are handy for short passages of text, they are simply not designed for the heavy lifting needed to localize multi-page, content-filled websites. At best, the subtle nuances of your message may be lost. At worst, a bad translation job may drive visitors away from your site entirely. In some cases, poorly translated websites may even attract national attention.
Translation agencies have the tools and resources to get the job done effectively and efficiently while protecting your companies image and branding. Localizing a site seems like a huge undertaking but it doesn’t need to be intimidating. Let’s take a step-by-step look at the process.
1. Conduct a readiness assessment
It’s always a good idea to do some due diligence before committing to a localization project. Can your intended market support your product or service? Are there any laws and regulations that will impact the new market you’re entering? How will you communicate with non-English speakers in your new target market? Make sure you have plans in place to address the new opportunities and challenges a localized website may present.
2. Determine the localization project scope
Here’s where you decide what language or languages you’ll focus on along with which parts of your website will be localized. It’s tempting to tackle several languages at once and apply them to every part of your site, but the reality is that’s really not necessary. It’s usually better to strategically localize only the main sections of your site in one or two languages and slowly build out from there. An added bonus? That approach is easier on your pocketbook, too.
3. Get the logistics in order
You’ll probably want to invest in a local domain name or web address specific to the language you’re targeting to give your site a local feel. Now is also a good time to get a local telephone number, mailing address, and imagery associated with the country or region you’re focusing on. In the meantime, your translation company will check your existing website for several things, including hard-coded text, third-party scripts, and plugins that may need to be removed. The team will also assess any needs unique to the project itself, such as special text direction flow.
4. Launch the localization project
When you work with a professional translation company, it’s common to have several people working on your localization project at one time. In addition to the translation team, you’ll typically find a project manager, linguistic lead, localization engineer, and even a graphic designer to make sure all your images are consistent with the rest of your site. Of course, you’ll have a project contact of your own and may want to consider bringing in a language proofer at the end of the project to ensure the delivered product meets your expectations.
Website localization can be a minefield of issues if not managed properly so human-powered methods are definitely the way to go. Fortunately, translation agencies are skilled at handling the complexities so you can focus on what you do best — delighting your customers.
If you would like to learn more about website localization, don’t hesitate to contact Avantpage today: