3 ways you can streamline website localization

 by anthony on  |
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As we’ve discussed in previous posts, website localization is a process that requires much more than just a simple translation of text from one language to another. The problem is that it’s also a topic with little research available, and this can lead to a comedy of errors when a company is localizing for the first time.

Most of the problems come from this inherent lack of understanding and could be avoided if more time was taken to assess what’s needed from the outset. Issues that are commonly encountered include a lack of context in translations, incorrect keywords being used on localized landing pages or a shopping cart that has been forgotten during localization. The key to avoiding these difficulties is to stop them before they happen, streamlining the process in the long run.

Retain your brand identity
Yes, website localization involves quite a bit of chopping and changing for your site to fit natively into other markets, but this doesn’t mean that you should totally overhaul your brand. The foundation of any good organization lies in the strength of its brand identity. Take companies like Coca-Cola or McDonald’s – their strongest currency is their brand and it’s instantly recognizable both online and offline. They retain their brand identity while being successful on a global scale.

Straying too far from the beaten path will create a confusing message for your visitors and take away the type of consistent familiarity that is required to build a strong, trustworthy brand. You can still tweak your brand slightly across regions, but the core identity should remain the same for customers to trust and believe in your product.

To keep it consistent online, you should adhere to an effective website template and design for each of your country domains. So navigation bars, page locations, links etc. should be kept in the same format. The color, 
images and content can still be edited and localized to accommodate any glaring regional differences.

Translate the important stuff first
When using internal resources, translating your site is a time-consuming, costly and laborious task. If you’ve got a content-heavy website, then the process becomes even more complicated and difficult to get right. Many companies make the mistake of trying to translate everything at once when they simply don’t have the resources to do it. Prioritize your content and translate the most important parts first to avoid drops in traffic and conversions.

The problem here is ascertaining which content is the most important, as everything you put onto your site should carry a purpose. If you’re struggling with finding a starting point, then think of it from the customer’s perspective. What content will have the most telling effect on your customer’s journey? Is there anything that will directly impact your ability to drive sales? Find content that lines up with these questions and focus on translating that first.

Once this is translated, you can also use its performance as a testing ground for the rest of your website. Identify what worked and what didn’t work, then figure out how to translate it better going forward. Examples of important pages could include shopping carts, checkouts, pricing and product description pages. All of these directly influence the customer journey and will have a negative impact on sales if not translated correctly.

On a side note: Localizer can alleviate any translation issues as it can translate your entire website almost instantly in just a few clicks. You can also set up automated tasks to translate any new content that’s added to your website in the future.

Know your audiences
Much like any other online sales or marketing endeavors, effectively localizing your website means that you need to research your new audiences. Not every audience will be the same across languages and different strategies will need to be applied for localization to be successful. This starts with identifying potential target markets or countries, where you’d be well advised to look at those that you’re currently receiving traffic from.

Existing traffic suggests an underlying interest in your product and you can take full advantage of this if you arm yourself with the correct knowledge. We previously posted about selling in China and some of the things you need to address here, and the same principles apply globally. Find the right payment gateways, most frequently used search engines, popular social networks and overall customer expectations (delivery times etc.).

Knowing where your customers are online, how they make their purchases and what their expectations are will give you the best chance of winning and reduce the need for on the fly strategic changes. That said, constantly evaluating and optimizing your approach is a good way to stay successful online, but tweaks should only be incremental ones to an already solid strategy. You shouldn’t have to pull out the foundations mid-campaign and start over.


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