Website localization is the process of adapting a website to suit a specific audience and the act of taking an existing website and redesigning it and redefining it to reach a different cultural or linguistic preference– Usually, an audience that speaks a different language and holds different cultural values to your own. It’s a complex process as there are so many parts to it. This process will require substantial research and understanding of the culture and people of your new audience.
This strategy requires a comprehensive view of all your content, site architecture, and resources to make it work effectively. The minimal effort will garner minimal results, so it’s essential to avoid selecting options that appear deceptively easy and do your research first.
How to conduct website localization in 7 steps
1. Define your localization strategy
This requires market research to determine which different languages you want to create a localized version of. You’ll need to determine your target markets and consider different languages, cultures, and social norms.
2. Know Your Audience and Speak Their Language
The main goal of the localization process is to adapt your brand to foreign customers while preserving its identity.
The tone in which interfaces “communicate” with the customer varies across cultures. In some cases, “calls-to-actions” are written in a detached and impersonal way, in others, they always begin with “You” and talk directly to the customer, inviting them to take the desired action. A localization professional should recognize these differences and adapt the content accordingly.
3. Adapt your Interface to Cultural Standards
If your audience speaks a language that’s read from right to left, you’ll need to mirror some elements of your interface. On the other hand, in some cultures, websites are more text-heavy, because the customers require as much information as possible about the products that interest them.
4. Identify Your Target Market
Identify your target market and where you think your product will be more successful. Start with those areas first and remember that new markets may open up in the future.
5. Localize Your Messaging
Creating effective marketing content for a local market is more than just translating what you have on the English website. Get the messaging spot on by addressing the cultural differences so you can deliver the intended customer experience.
While you should keep your brand image and message consistent, it doesn’t mean word-to-word translation. Aim to create a similar emotional impact across different audiences by tapping into local and cultural references. Work with a linguistic specialist to evaluate your content.
6. Test your Localized Website
Once your website has been localized, it’s time to test how it works. Don’t haste to launch your website right away. Pay attention to linguistic testing instead. By linguistic testing, we mean ensuring every word has been translated correctly. Additionally, it means stepping into consumers’ shoes to ensure translated words are understood. Their intended meaning should be grasped without making any effort.
Localization testing is about many things, technical as well as linguistic. For more information about localization contact us.