Imagine the scenario: you dream about expanding your business beyond the borders of your own country, so you start exploring new markets with the simple and clear aim of finding your new target audience. The moment you realise where to direct your business efforts is the beginning of the most crucial phase of the whole endeavour — now you have to focus on how to adjust your marketing channels, your offer, and all the tiniest details of your business activity to the properly identified needs of the new audience. And this is exactly why website localisation services are likely to come in handy. What does the term mean, and in what way can it influence international website traffic? We’re rushing to give you the answers. Stay with us!
What is website localisation?
Website localisation should be defined as the multi-faceted adaptation of the content available on a given website to make it understandable and relevant to the internet users who constitute your target market. Many people mistakenly believe that website localisation is equivalent to translation. Actually, the difference between localisation and translation is too noticeable to be ignored. Let’s look at the reasons why the two terms should by no means be used interchangeably.
Website localisation vs. translation
The translation is known as pure converting given written content from one language into another so that the text can be understood by the target language users. The translation process, therefore, covers the language aspect only. In contrast, website localisation goes deeper into other nuances as well; it involves not only presenting texts in the target audience’s language version, but also probing into all sort of components that define a given local culture and by this reflect its complexities and particularities.
Website localisation — efforts you have to make
A localised website improves the target users’ experience by enabling them to fully interact with the content that has been, let’s say, sifted through the cultural sieve, i.e. thoughtfully customized for the cultural context that is relatable to the target audience. Thus, running a multilingual website means you have to take care of an impressive variety of details, among which we can distinguish:
- language issues — you have to make sure that the language versions provided on your website truly facilitate understanding of every single element of your website content; website translation needs to be accurate and create the feeling of authenticity (as if the content was originally made in the target audience’s native language);
- culture-specific elements — your website localisation strategy should embrace making various elements globally recognisable, adapted to legal requirements, and fine-tuned to social, cultural, political and religious preferences of the target culture (e.g. date and time formats, units of measure, phone numbers, holiday dates, images, videos, naming conventions, website layout and design, etc.);
- transactional details — if you want to localise your website properly, take care of the elements thanks to which the accuracy of conducted transactions and on-site conversions can be ensured (such elements embrace currency, payment methods, or character sets);
- navigation — your target users need to be able to quickly locate the language selection button to immediately start interacting with your website in their own language.
Why is it vital to launch the website localisation process?
Implementing the process emerges as one of the most crucial approaches to business development in the era of global marketing driven by international expansion. How exactly can it affect your website traffic and, consequently, promote the growth of your company?
Entering new markets
Successful reception of a product in one country doesn’t automatically mean that the same product will turn out to be a hit elsewhere. If you want to increase your chance of providing fertile ground for your products in a chosen destination, you have to pay close attention to the needs and expectations of international users and adjust the website content accordingly. In all likelihood, consumers will be much more inclined to trust your brand if you manage to avoid presenting anything that might be perceived as inappropriate, offensive, confusing or lead to misunderstandings resulting from cultural differences. By taking into account the specifics of your target market, you can put your company in a more advantageous position than your competition which fail to recognise the need for cultural refining of their website content.
Improving User Experience
Imagine you want to buy shoes in an online shop, and after a long time of browsing through available models, you suddenly realise that you need to do additional research because you don’t understand the sizes. This is just one example of situations that may lead to consumer frustration and discourage potential buyers from finalising their purchase. Tailoring every single aspect of your offer to the conventions, systems, and preferences of the target audience can help enhance user experience and result in building impressive customer loyalty.
All the above-mentioned steps are supposed to lead you towards the greatest reward: boosting your revenue. The rule is simple: by increasing the level of satisfaction among consumers and removing obstacles from the paths of their online activity, you are likely to attract their attention and make your brand stand out from the crowd of competitors. Such an interest can quickly change into much more tangible benefits — people will start to buy, you will start to earn.
How to implement website localisation?
First things first: you have to understand the need for carrying out your website localisation project. Once you know the reasons and benefits, you can start dwelling on other aspects. What to take into account? What factors should you include in your strategy?
- Analyse and plan
Do the market research to find out where you are most likely to find buyers and investigate the nationality of your website’s visitors to better plan the optimisation process (e.g. what language versions need to be provided, what cultural references should be removed etc.). Devise the strategy for your localisation process that will include a vast range of factors, such as budget, technology (tools and methods) or staff.
- Translate the content
Make sure every single bit of information presented on your website is translated accurately so that your visitors can read/listen to the content in their local language. It’s best to rely on the knowledge and experience of professionals who will translate an entire website ensuring the best quality of the final result.
If you are interested in finding out more on this broad topic, you may want to read our article How to prepare a webpage for translation?.
- Adopt technological solutions
Technology is what, more often than not, comes to the rescue when business processes are to be facilitated. Consider making use of automated translation, especially in case you need to have your website content translated into multiple languages, and you strive to streamline your website localisation process while reducing both the time and cost of the whole undertaking. There are many types of effective software powered by technological advancements, among which we can mention machine translation, translation management system, linguistic quality assurance tools or terminology management tools.
- Internationalize your website
Website internationalization is the process that is supposed to “prepare” your website for localisation. It encompasses taking care of certain technical aspects (predominantly related to the code design) in order to successfully deploy your site in the new “environment” and avoid the necessity of building it once again.
- Pay attention to marketing
Once your localised site is ready, invest your efforts in letting your target users know that it is up and running and, more importantly, that it is carefully designed to suit their needs. Marketing localisation means you investigate a multiplicity of factors regarding the performance of the localised version of your website. Those factors include investigating the effectiveness of particular marketing channels (e.g. social media posts, email), purchasing habits of your target users, consumer behaviour, etc. The conclusions you draw are likely to help you single out the key characteristics of the new market and introduce changes that will best reflect the local spirit.
Enter international markets with a bang!
Localised websites make it possible for business people to reach out to consumers that otherwise would be far beyond their sphere of influence. Website localisation projects are formidable tasks, but with the proper approach, necessary knowledge and the right set of tools, every sufficiently focused entrepreneur can succeed in carrying them out. Given that engaging in such a complex process can lead to increasing international sales and making considerable profits — well, it’s definitely worth the effort.
As you can easily deduct from the above considerations, translation is a vital component of website localisation. If you are concerned about quality issues, your strategy should involve hiring professional translators, whose experience and skills guarantee the best results. You will find such specialists at TEXTOLOGY — A London-based company providing translation services to clients from the UK. Don’t hesitate to request a free quote any time you need.