Your website is your company’s most influential digital platform as well as your business’s essential marketing, and probably sales, tool. It goes without question.
So, what is website localization, and, consequently, what are the so-called website localization services?
In the simplest terms, localizing your website refers to the multi-phase process of adapting your website content ─ in terms of language, appearance and functionality ─ for consumption by various audiences in numerous markets, in the same country or multiple countries around the world. But why would you do that?
The ultimate goal of the whole story of website localization services is to end up with a website that considers technical, linguistic and cultural differences while giving a look and feel as if it was initially designed and written in the target language for the new target audience in the new market.
Given this all-inclusive definition, we still have two critical questions.
First, is there a difference between translation and localization?
Difference Between Website Translation and Website Localization Services
Though frequently used interchangeably, the difference between website translation and website localization is sharp and clear.
The translation of your website means converting the content into a different language, that is translating words, phrases and sentences from, say, English to Spanish. On the other hand, website localization is a comprehensive technical-linguistic solution, where such areas as image replacement, SEO and formatting are taken into consideration.
Importance of Website Localization
The increasing globalization is providing businesses and brands with great opportunities to expand into new markets to target new audiences. At the same time, the world wide web is dramatically abolishing the barriers to entry. This has resulted in increased global competition. So, brands are currently sparing no effort to ensure that their multi-language websites are professionally localized for these businesses to thrive on a worldwide scale.
Why Do Companies Need Website Localization Services?
Does the language of figures speak more powerfully? Let’s see why successful businesses should bother to localize their sites in the first place.
According to a study conducted by the European Commission about web users across the European Union, 90% of web users would visit a website written in their mother tongue. Moreover, according to studies published by Common Sense Advisory, internet purchasing behaviour in foreign countries, 75% of respondents would like to see product information in their mother tongue, 56% of respondents boycott English-language URLs altogether or spend more time on sites in their language. Furthermore, 29% of respondents seldom purchase English-language sites, while 30% of respondents never purchase at English-language sites.
Given these impressive facts and figures, let’s see why successful businesses should bother localizing their sites in the first place.
Increase Your Reach: Professional website localization services will open your website up to surfers and visitors who would otherwise not be able to use it.
Boost SEO: Thanks to the consensus on the primacy of SEO when it comes to online marketing, website localization makes it possible for you to launch localized SEO campaigns that aim to boost your rankings.
Boost Conversion and Grow Sales: As revealed by the above studies, internet users are more likely to convert when your website is written in their mother tongue.
Better User Experience: Concerning the 90% of web users who prefer to visit a website written in their mother tongue, localization will help catch and keep their attention.
Brand Credibility: When your business has a professionally localized website, this will help you establish your brand’s credibility in the eyes of your target audiences.
Increase Customer Loyalty: It goes without saying that when your clients are attracted by your products that are presented on a localized website, they will be more likely to make repeat purchases. So, localizing your site will increase customer loyalty and is an integral part of your company’s retention effort.
Best Practices for Website Localization
You can’t afford to have your business away from the internet ─ which is increasingly becoming the go-to platform for information, products, services, online sales and, more importantly, making money! Can you?
Your localized multilingual website will have the potential to reach almost anyone, anywhere. That’s why we’ll list below some website localization best practices that would help business owners who wish to go global.
1) Start with a Plan of Action
Before anything, you should start with creating a viable workflow, or plan of action, to ensure that your localized multilingual site will be deployed as smoothly as possible.
It would help if you worked on keeping your customers on the website in the course of localization. You’ll have to carry out the new site rollout gradually and smoothly without compromising too much of the website’s functionality.
Prioritization is a virtue! Start with the pages, functions, and headlines that your website relies on to keep customers engaged. So, you need to start with localizing the home page or product page, and then you need to decide which website content is most important to your brand and its original message.
2) Forget Manual and Use Automation
Gone are the good old days of manually exporting and reimporting the content from your website. It just costs you time, money and potential mistakes. So, you need to consider one of the following techniques:
- Use a content management system translation plugin, which will work inside your CMS, to make it possible for you to set up for specific language encoding. It will also enable you to export and reimport in a localization friendly format pages and sections of your choice, localize titles and metadata, hook up directly to a TMS via API.
- Using a proxy solution could be a right and viable solution. If you only have a small team and are looking for the hands-off approach.
- Use an application program interface (API) and content connectors available to automate your website content smoothly.
3) Define Target Audience and & Corresponding Culture!
Who is your target audience? What is their language?
It’s about culture in general, now just language. So, you need to know everything about your target audience’s cultural nuances ─ including image choices, colour, layout, font, and the social norms of the audience. A world translated from one language to another without taking the differences of the two cultures may wreak havoc to your image.
4) Your Brand’s Message and Tone
Never forget the identity of your brand, which you might have established in years. A new audience does not mean taking your greatest asset ─ the brand ─ back to square zero!
So, you have to spare no effort in placing your brand image, brand identity, brand look & feel, and your brand’s core message at the centre of your new localized site. Never let the distinctive character and the essence of your brand get lost in translation. It’d be serious damage!
5) Provide Context and Test
If you have ever tried to translate a sentence from one language to another, you are familiar with the difficulties that arise. It’s not as simple as swapping word for word. Translating can get messy, and the context can get lost. The same applies to the localization of a website, especially when incorporating multiple languages.
You have to leverage in-context translation tools to ensure the smooth localization of your website, so that messages may stay consistent across all your multilingual site versions.
Further, you need to test and test and then test! The testing stage would save your business a lot of time by making it possible for you to fix things before they get seen by customers and prospects.
6) Choose the Right Local Service Partner
This is a different and meaningful story! Let’s put it outright. Selecting your website translation services partner is no easy task. However, we’ve compiled several tips to guide you down the road. Let’s see.
Why Do Clients Choose AfroLingo?
According to one of our major clients, AfroLingo has empowered them to unleash their digital potential! But how?
For more than a decade, AfroLingo has been providing world-class website localization services into all major world languages for big brands across Africa and all over the world.
Our highly qualified team of expert native-speaking translators have always been ready here to help whether our client is looking to enter the ever-expanding African market or the emerging markets of South America and Asia or the established markets of Europe.
When it comes to technology, AfroLingo always leverages the latest technology on the website localization services sector and combines this with our 10-year experience and our expertise to surpass all our clients’ needs.
Contact us today for a free quote, or talk to our experts about how to empower your websites to conquer overseas markets.