A Quick and Easy Guide to Localize your Website
Your website represents your brand internationally. The appearance of the website plays a huge role in building your brand image in a global marketplace. It has become important for companies to build a multilingual brand presence to make it more resonating with diversified audiences. Website localization aims to make your products and services as appealing as possible to potential customers. However, doing your website localization right is also significant to make it work in your favor. You have to beware of major localization mistakes that most companies are making.
In this post, we will give you some quick guidelines to do your website localization in 8 steps. Read this article to know how to execute your website localization strategy the right way.
Table of Content
- What is Website Localization?
- 8 Easy Guidelines to Localize Your Website
- Develop a Strategic Plan for Website Localization
- Conduct In-depth Market Research
- Location-Specific Keyword Research
- Assemble Localization Teams
- Bring in the TMS Tool
- Internationalize the Website
- Translating the Web Pages
- Testing Before Launch
What is Website Localization?
Website localization is the process of adapting all elements of your website to meet the needs of local audiences. Considering the global diversification in culture, social norms, and languages of target audiences, you have to modify your website to better connect with your customers. From translating your website content to multiple languages, designing modifications, and adapting formats, and payment methods, you have to localize all aspects of your site to local preferences.
Through website localization, you can create a better online customer experience and build their trust in your brand. There are different approaches you can adopt to localize your website, such as in-house localization, or outsourcing your localization processes to a third-party service provider.
8 Quick and Simple Steps for Effective Website Localization
There is a lot that goes into website localization, and it’s not just about direct translations. You must have a technical and strategic understanding of website localization to do it the right way. Here are some important guidelines to follow while localizing your website.
1. Develop a Strategic Plan for Website Localization
In a website localization strategy, you have to make a comprehensive plan about how you would execute your localization process, what resources you will need, and what methods you will use down the line. First, you must figure out all the diversification in the various regions you’re targeting. You should design multiple versions of your website for each region, considering the culture and local interests. When you begin developing a robust localization strategy that aligns with these considerations, it will help you maintain focus and prevent distractions.
In the planning step, you’ve to list down your localization needs. For instance, the tools and resources you need, and you also have to assemble your localization team. Before starting your localization, you must have a clear growth vision of the company in mind. Moreover, you’ve to develop a localization timeline and budget to keep things in control from a time and money viewpoint.
2. Conduct In-depth Market Research
If you want your website localization to work in your favor, you must have a keen understanding of all markets you are targeting. Knowing the cultural values of different markets would allow you to attract local customers and make them buy from you. Based on each region, you have to identify your buyer’s personas, and keeping that in mind, you can better cater to their demands.
Market research is also important to know whether or not a market has potential for your brand. Moreover, it will also allow you to access the tactics of other competitors, or if the locals could afford your product or services. So, market research would give you an idea about all the financial and cultural indicators that you should consider while localizing the website.
3. Location-Specific Keyword Research
Optimizing your website for local SEO is important to enhance your website’s visibility in all regions. Because of differences in languages, users use different phrases to search for a product online. That’s why you have to do geo-specific keyword research, you rank your website in all targeted regions. For this, you must hire someone who understands multilingual SEO techniques, so your ranking will improve and there will be more traffic to your website.
Localizing the website is not as simple as translating the keywords into the local language. You have to develop a separate SEO plan for each region, analyzing the terms and phrases used to search online brands like you. For instance, although Americans and British both speak English. But still, there is a huge difference in their words and spellings, such as Americans use the term “vacation”, and British people use “holiday” to describe the same thing.
4. Assemble Localization Teams
Building your team of experienced localization experts and translators is crucial for your successful website localization. How you will assemble your localization team entirely depends on your approach to website localization. For instance, if you want to manage your localization processes in-house, you have to bring in more in-house employees. You can also get some freelancers on board to manage the excessive work. Or, you can partner with a professional language service provider to handle your website localization. In this case, you don’t have to take any burden of website localization planning and execution. All you have to do is collaborate with your LSP vendor and provide them with proper guidelines and feedback regarding localization outcomes.
Ideally, you must establish processes and systems to manage remote and external teams along with internal ones. This way you will have more control over your project, without overburdening the internal teams.
5. Bring in the TMS Tool
Probably the most important step is to get your hands on advanced TMS or CAT tools to effectively cope with the increasing localization needs. Companies that are targeting multiple marketplaces have a hard time meeting the increasing website localization needs. There should be a reliable system in place that would automate your localization processes, relieving your workload.
TMS tools come with a lot of features and functionalities. From machine translation to automated file management and integrations, these advanced systems would ease your localization journey. You can easily generate high-quality and culture-appropriate translations quickly into multiple languages. TMSs also contain editing and QA tools to support your translators to effortlessly carry out daily translation processes. You can customize your TMS tools as per your unique website localization needs.
6. Internationalize the Website
Internationalization of a website is an approach to developing your website keeping localization in mind in the first place. It is a process of making your website prepared for localization. While developing the website, you must instruct the developers to design the code in a way that is easier to modify later. And, they better not use any hardcode in the initial website design. Hard Coding your website makes it very challenging for developers to localize it later. It takes a lot of time because you have to make a complete version of the website from scratch.
Make sure your website developers are familiar with Unicode, so you develop your website ready for localization. It would allow you to easily modify the formatting of the site, and change its design and other elements for every region more conveniently. So, you can easily deploy a website for any marketplace without any need to rebuild it.
7. Translating the Web Pages
Translation is one of the most important aspects of website localization. Translating your website helps you eliminate language barriers and make your brand feel more resonate with customers. For translating the website, you must hire native translators, so there will be no cultural gaps in translations. You can use paid TMS tools to generate automated translations. But, make sure you have them proofread and edited by human translators to avoid any quality issues.
As far as translations are concerned, combining the latest technology with human expertise would allow you to manage your work effectively without compromising the quality of speed. However, you better beware of open-source translation tools. Because the quality of the translation may not be up to the mark, it would have a huge effect on your international brand image.
8. Testing Before Launch
Once you have completely localized your website, it’s time to test it so there will be no technical or logical issues. There are many elements you need to test before launching your website to any foreign marketplace. The major website technical functionalities to keep in mind are formats (time, date, currency, etc.), UI designs, encryption algorithms, hyperlinks, loading time, payment methods, hardware capabilities, etc. As far as linguistic accuracy is concerned, you must double-check all grammatical and spelling errors, readability issues, cultural gaps, or any misuse of keywords.
To make sure everything is on point and there are no issues on the website, you need to develop a testing environment. Once you have performed all technical and linguistic testing on a website and made the required corrections, your website is good to be launched in your targeted marketplace.
Localizing your website is critical to your international brand’s success. You must follow the step-by-step guidelines provided in this article to do your website localization right. Managing a website localization project is not that hard if you have partnered with a reliable TMS. MarsHub is a one-stop localization platform that allows you to manage your website localization projects cost-effectively. Moreover, you would have more control over your localization workflows, and you can easily manage your internal and external teams.