How Localizer can save a plateauing business

 by benny on  |
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Depending on demand, at one point or another, it is common for an online business to reach their peak performance in their native land. From there they can branch out into countries where they speak the same language only to find themselves with the same problem years later.   While it is a good problem to have, it certainly presents a challenge.   Translation companies can help, but can often do not suit the budget and time restraints of many online businesses. Additionally, if you need to update your website or have a regular stream of new content, you have to start the process all over again.   It’s for these reasons most online businesses do not pursue localization.   Now here’s the salesy bit: Localizer can be managed by a team of one, provides high-quality translations in under 48 hours, has price packages to suit all budgets, requires no coding knowledge and as mentioned before, can save a plateauing business.   How?   Simply, by making your business accessible to more people.   For example, let’s say an Australian based e-commerce site have hit their peak performance in Australia and have had limited success in other English speaking markets. It might seem that their only opportunity for growth is to expand their business offering but there is no need for such drastic changes.   By Localizing their website they are able to present the same offering to a whole new audience without any of the hassle associated with a traditional translation service.   After reviewing website analytics and/or performing market research, it becomes clear which market should be targeted next. From there, they are able to select a language and translate their website in as little as three clicks.   With 56% of users preferring their own language over price as a differentiator and 72% of customers preferring to browse in their own language, it’s clear Localization is a real benefit for the customer.   Likewise, the benefits are abundant for the website owner with Localization increasing dwell time, unique visitors and sales. A whole new audience is available to you without having to make any major changes.   Localization doesn’t just make things easier for your global audience, it creates new opportunities for businesses all around the world. If you or someone you know has a website that is losing traction, maybe it’s time to speak to the world with Localizer.  

Why Google translate is not enough for your website

 by benny on  |
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At Localizer, we get asked about Google translate a lot.   “Wait a minute, isn’t that just Google Translate? You’re joking, right? Why on Earth would I pay a service to translate my website when I can get a robot to do it for free? This is the worst idea I’ve ever heard! You should give up!”   We’re used to hearing it by now, we have an answer ready to go.   Google translates words, not context.   Sounds a bit simple, but it can make a huge difference. While they have their uses, machine translation services like Google Translate do not pick up on context, tone of voice or cultural nuances, leaving some margin for error.   For example, here are the phrase from before, translated into Pashto then back into English:   “Wait a minute, is not it Google Translator? Do you have a right? Why will the land give you the translation of my website when I get the money for this free? This is my worst view that I have heard! You should leave!”   Simpler phrases can be translated well, but things such as tone of voice, context or colloquialisms can often get filtered out.   If your website has a unique tone of voice and a lot to say, Google translate is not enough to effectively serve your message to an overseas audience and could even include small but costly mistakes.   This is where professional translation comes in.   Professional translation puts the human element into it by using, well, humans! Your text is sent to a member of our team of 18,000 professional translators who localize your content retaining tone of voice, context and SEO capability.   As an added advantage, you can provide instructions to your professional translator about tone of voice, words to avoid and any additional information they may need, ensuring that your message is perfectly localized to your global audience.   Due to being cheap and quick, machine translation is effective when translating first drafts or any text that does not contain tone of voice or context, such as glossaries or indexes.   For any long-form text that is rich with tone (professional, playful etc.) we recommend our professional translation service to keep your website identity thriving around the world.   It may not stop the questions we get about Google Translate, but it will stop your message from getting lost in translation.  

Five signs your website needs to be Localized

 by benny on  |
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We’ve discussed the benefits of localizing many times before (spoiler alert: there are lots!) but this week we’d like to discuss the signs that localization might be the right move for your website.   1. Overseas traffic. Are you noticing some overseas visits when reviewing your website analytics?   These overseas visits have the potential to become lifelong customers and generate further leads; it would be a shame to miss out on this opportunity. With 72% of customers preferring to spend time on a website featuring their native language, localizing your website will give this audience more reason to visit your website with improved service for them and higher results for you. 2. Plateauing business. As an online business takes off, after years of thriving it becomes common for traffic to stop improving and simply plateau. At this point, there are many options the business owner can choose: spend big on marketing, increase their offering or employ new salespeople and fire the old ones.   However, they can save time and money by localizing their website and presenting their offering to a whole new market they have not yet interacted with. If your website has made it big in one market, you’re only three clicks away from localizing your website and growing your awareness and revenue.   3. Slim margins. In certain markets, it’s becoming increasingly common that the lifetime value of a customer is lower than the cost to acquire them. As this will never be viable, action must be taken and while cost-cutting is advisable it is not the only option.   Certain markets have a much higher ROI and the best way to interact with them is by speaking their language (literally) with Localizer.   By launching in countries with a cheaper advertising spend and less competition, you help boost your bottom line, keeping your business afloat while you refocus your efforts.   4. Lower conversions. Are you noticing a drop off on your online cart for people who aren’t English first language? There are many reasons why this happens, but language can be a big factor in this.   42% of online shoppers refuse to shop on an online store that isn’t in their language. By reviewing your analytics and seeing where your non-English speaking traffic is coming from, you can pick the right language to localize your content to and improve your total conversions.   5. Your competition is going global. If your competitors are going global, it’s a likely sign that there’s something in it for you to do the same. Perhaps the home market is saturated, or maybe they have noticed signs 1 - 4 and are taking preemptive action.   Either way, you can’t let them have all the glory, can you?   Do your research and determine whether you want to compete with them in the same market, or carve yourself out in an area where they are lacking.   And as a bonus... 6. You have an appetite for world domination. If you’ve got more than a few markets in your sights you’re going to want to rely on more than Google Translate to serve your content to the world.   With professional content available in 42 languages Localizer is the best way to serve your message to the world you plan on taking by storm.  

Localization: A Short Business Case

 by anthony on  |
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Every business faces several challenges when localizing its website. These range from the actual translation of content, SEO capability, design and functionality of the site after localization. Another huge challenge lies in ensuring the website is culturally adapted to the new market. ROI Potential The Localization Industry Standards Association – which is now the Industry Specification Group for Localization (ISG) – estimates that for every $1 spent on localization, a business will make a return on investment of $25. That’s right, a mind-bending 2,500% return. So, how does this make any sense if your site is in English, and English is the most common language used online? Where’s the value coming from? English only accounts for about 25% of all languages used worldwide, and the online usage figures are slightly skewed. A lot of the time, people who visit your site only use English as a second language and are therefore reading your content in a language that isn’t native to them. Eurobarometer ran a survey that discovered 42% of respondents would never purchase something from a website that wasn’t in their native language. Let that sink in for a minute – your monolingual website will miss out on almost half of all potential purchases from these visitors. Design is Key Most companies spend a lot of time and effort making sure they get their main, native language website right. By building in a measure of adaptability at the design stage, you can make sure you don’t have to start again from scratch for every localized site. The vast majority of businesses spend countless hours perfecting their website content in their native language, but give only a fraction of that time when localizing to other languages.   That’s a mistake which will cost you further down the line. However, you can make life much easier by using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to separate different areas of the site for design purposes. Using CSS, you can edit specific parts of your website to suit your new language, without the need to build a whole new design. There’s also the conundrum of language style and size to consider, which CSS can help to overcome. For example, a word in English may be much longer when translated into Spanish and this will cause design issues in areas like drop-down menus or text in images. Not all languages read from left to right, either. Hebrew and Arabic are read from the opposite direction and this must be accounted for during the design stage. Luckily, using CSS means your site can handle the localization process easily for these languages. However, there will still be some inevitable switches of images and menus around for your site to look native. Simplicity Matters As you know (probably as you read this blog!), writing for online isn’t the same as writing for something like print. Most readers want the vital information as quickly as possible and tend to ‘power read’ content in search of what they need. Rarely will people read the entire piece of content, meaning you must keep it as simple as you can. This is even more important when targeting a global customer base, as it can reduce your workload during the localization process. Language that is easy to read, avoids references that are specific to one country, and is neutral in tone can make the initial localization process easier. It can also make it easier for international visitors to grasp your site quickly. That being said, let’s not forget that it’s always best to localize each language as finely as you can. This type of language will make it easier to initially localize, but it won’t yield the best outcome. Taking your content to the next level requires working with translators who are native to that market and have the ability to add in colloquialisms and native turns-of-phrase. Localization is morphing your content for an entirely new audience, but still maintaining the key point of that content and the brand message that goes with it. Localizer can help here, with a network of professional translators that can localize your entire website in just a few days, regardless of how much content you have.

Cultural Sensitivity and Website Localization

 by anthony on  |
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We’ve talked a lot about the importance of speaking the language of your customers when going global with your website. After all, what’s the point in targeting a new market if they have no clue what you’re saying? However, another hugely important – yet regularly neglected – aspect of localizing your website is understanding the need for cultural sensitivity. This means researching the nuances and differences between cultures across different markets and languages, ensuring there is no marketing faux pas throughout the localization process. Find out the dos and don’ts of every new market you enter – what’s frowned upon in India? Is there a turn of phrase in Mexico that you shouldn’t use? Even applying certain colors or images to your website have the capacity to insult the locals if you don’t know the ground rules. While it may seem like we’re being overly cautious, consider the fact that a culture is built and nurtured over decades and it’s what makes every market different. For example, an attempt at humor might work in China, but be taken badly in Japan. Why? Because they’re culturally different. Failure to understand and implement the cultural needs of your target market when localizing can cause irreparable damage to your brand reputation. Without a good reputation, you may as well pack up and leave. Startups live and die by their reputation, and make no mistake, you will be a startup in any new market, regardless of the size of your business elsewhere. A real-life example of this is Braniff International, an airline company who attempted to enter the Mexican market. They used the slogan ‘fly in leather’ throughout their campaign, failing to realize that the literal Spanish translation of this was ‘fly naked’. Needless to say, this error cost them their place in the market and they were forced to pull the plug. But such mistakes aren’t just limited to smaller companies, even the big boys drop a clanger from time to time. Perhaps the biggest of them all, Coca-Cola, figured out that their brand name translated to “Bite the Wax Tadpole’ in Chinese. A fine introduction to the brand! The point is that the best-equipped companies localize their website to suit every market’s individual cultural needs, all without diluting their brand message. This includes everything from brand name, website color, imagery, and content. Localizing the right way isn’t straightforward, and cultural sensitivity is only one of the hurdles you must clear along the way. But the rewards for doing so are plentiful and you open up your website to a global economy of potential customers. We can’t stress this enough: website localization is more than just translating your content into the language of your target market. It’s changing everything to make your website look and feel ‘native’ to your target market. Abiding by culturally-sensitive issues is a huge step towards realizing your localization ambitions. Don’t launch head-first into a new market without first understanding every nook and cranny. Do your research and arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible.

Localization and ‘Premiumization’ to Drive Success

 by anthony on  |
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Oftentimes within many businesses, website localization is viewed as an expense instead of an investment. This is a view that comes from short-term thinking, rather than analyzing the long-term benefits of localizing your website. One of the most effective ways to help stakeholders overcome this stigma is to initially focus on localizing smaller portions of the highest value content on your site. This can help prove the value of localization faster and get those reluctant stakeholders on board earlier in the process. Linking the localization efforts to profit-driving areas of the business, as well as positioning it to increase value during customer journeys, are both keys to success here. Local customers must use the localized, premium content for it to drive traffic and conversions on your website. The challenge here is localizing the content appropriately, while adding enough personalization to go above and beyond what the customer normally expects.This ‘premiumization’ of localized content requires a step up in the quality of the content itself, making it more exclusive and actionable than ever before. Business leaders often consider website localization as something of an afterthought, an activity that brings little value to the overall picture and takes minimum time to complete. To drive home the importance and complexity of localization, it must be planned, managed and budgeted to reflect exactly how much is involved in the process. Only then will business leaders begin to comprehend what it can do to enhance the global prospects of their website. Proper management of the localization process will enable businesses to push their localized content out to the right audiences and reduce the need for customers to find you first. To this end, the rise of digital has coincided with the need to bring the right content, to the right customer at the right time. Localizing and personalizing your content for customers on an individual level will better engage customers by being bringing higher relevance to their specific preferences. Premium, localized content such as this can greatly enhance the customer experience, driving repeat visits from more engaged customers and adding more trust and brand awareness for the business. Starting out by localizing your highest quality adds a level of ‘premiumization’ that delivers customer experiences that are more meaningful and impressive. It gives the impression that content has been created by local people, for local people. A ‘quality over quantity’ approach can give customers a better impression over a shorter period of time, than if the entire website was localized poorly. Furthermore, once the value of localization has been initially proved by ‘premiumization’ of content, business leaders will be easier brought around to the idea of completely localizing their website, as well as better grasping the complexity involved.  

How Website Localization Helps Startups

 by anthony on  |
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With the digital age in full swing, there’s now opportunity aplenty for any business to go global and make their mark in every major market available. This is particularly telling for startups, where the struggle is mostly experienced when trying to get off the ground and build momentum. A sizeable roadblock to becoming successful in any market is speaking the native language and matching the cultural tendencies, and this is where website localization comes in. Localization is much more than just translating your website, it’s making your business look homogeneous to the market you target and giving potential customers the feeling that you ‘belong’ there. With localization, startups have the ability to break down any barriers that we naturally encounter across international markets. If you’re part of a startup and you’re reading this, then don’t avert your eyes just yet. Here are four ways that website localization helps startups: 1. It Removes Language Barriers Let’s assume you’re in the business of selling products to individuals or companies. How can you sell something if you can’t explain what the product actually is? That’s right, you can’t! If a potential customer lands on your website and you don’t speak their language, then you can’t tell them about the product. Website localization can remove these language barriers and increase the likelihood that someone will understand your product and want to buy it. As well as this, being seen as a global company with credible and legible content will boost your trustworthiness with customers that haven’t purchased from you before. Companies live and die by their reputation, and this is even truer for startups. 2. Website Localization Saves Money By localizing your website, you can forgo the notion that you need a bricks’n’mortar version of your business in every country you play in. A multilingual website can help you test and learn about your target market in a cost-effective way. You can use your website to gauge how well you may perform in the market and from there, make a decision to invest in a team and physical business in the market. If it shows no potential, then you’ve saved a heap of cash by only testing your website there. 3. Better SEO and Keyword Capability The majority of SEO competition is found in English, thereby making it one of the most difficult languages to gain traction for. Everyone wants to be on the first page of Google and, most of the time, tend to focus their efforts on a single language. A localized website can give you keyword flexibility across multiple languages at once, increasing your SEO capability and making you more competitive. With your rivals focusing on SEO for a limited number of select languages, website localization means you’ll automatically have one up in several markets. 4. Higher Customer Engagement If there’s one thing we all know, it’s that first impressions count. This is as true online as it is offline, where the impression you make on potential customers when they land on your site can be the making or breaking of a conversion. Localization makes your site look native to any market and improves the experience for customers by giving them a familiar and comfortable user interface. If a potential customer enjoys the experience, there’s a good chance they’ll come back or make a purchase there and then. If not, well, would you go back to a poor site when there are literally millions of alternatives? A knock-on effect of this is word-of-mouth marketing, where customers who’ve had a good experience on your site may recommend you to others, driving more traffic and conversions on your website.

Translation vs Localization: What's the Difference?

 by anthony on  |
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Broadcasting website content to an international audience is crucial for competing in today’s global online economy. Whether it’s simple translation or full-on localization, a multilingual website is a massive part of reaching your target audience across multiple languages.   Funny, then, that so many companies still don’t grasp the differences between the two. Sure, we understand the concept of translation, but what about localization? And how can localizing your website be more beneficial than a straight-up translation? Let’s first look at what each one is before we touch on the key differences.   Translation is… The direct conversion of website content from one language to another. It takes nothing else into account, only the literal change of one word to its closest relative in the chosen language. The goal of translation is to make sure it means the same afterward as it did before, but the truth is it often doesn’t.   Localization is… As we’ve touched on before, localization is a far more in-depth process that takes your translations up the value chain. Localization isn’t just translating your website; it’s tailoring it to the specific needs of each language and target audience. Localization takes things like context, tone of voice and colloquialisms into account, offering users an immersive and fully local experience on your site.   So, while website translation and localization are similar, they’re far from the same. But what are the main differentiating factors that separate translation from localization?   1. Clarity As mentioned above, translation doesn’t take certain things into account that localization does. Things like tone of voice, context and idiomatic language all impact on the clarity of a piece of content. Even well-translated content will pale in comparison to a version that has been localized by a professional translator, capable of adding cultural nuances. A translation alone can end up with confusing lingo, misused words and an ultimately poor outcome. Sure, it’s suitable for certain types of content, like internal documents or jargon. But for content that requires emotion or creativity, localization is the only sure-fire way to ensure quality is delivered across all locales.   2. Customer Interaction Say you’ve got an eCommerce website and deliver goods to customers in Europe.  If you decide to enter the U.S. market, then you’ll have to consider a whole host of format changes to things such as time, date and measurement systems. Where a date like 12th March is 12/03/2017 in most of Europe, it’s 03/12/2017 in the States. If you only translate your website, your date format will stay the same as it was for your European customer base. Assuming they don’t suspect that something is up, the majority of your new U.S. customers will be expecting deliveries on the wrong days. Localizing your website will ensure that these intricate details are accounted for, and save you a bucket load of hassle in the long term.   3. Conversion Rates While having a translated version might facilitate the initial stage of getting people to visit your website, it’s not enough to turn these visitors into paying customers. Studies by Forrester Research show that localizing your website leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction, due to a more user-friendly experience. This, in turn, leads to much better conversion rates. When all is said and done, the endgame for any website is to convert as many visitors into paying customers as possible.Translation may get customers to the door, but localization will convince them to walk through.   In the end… Both website translation and website localization can help you reach out to a global audience, but to varying degrees of success. If your ultimate goal is to have a truly global website that speaks to every audience in their language and on their terms, then localization is the only way to go.   Interested in localizing your website but don’t know where to start? Contact Localizer for a free demo to see how we can help you!

3 approaches to localization and how they affect SEO

 by anthony on  |
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Localizing your website can be done many ways, and it’s often difficult to know which approach will work best for you. Things like time, resources and the level of content all play a major part in the localization process, and every localization method impacts how Google crawls your site. With so many factors at play, just how can you possibly decide on which one will be the best way forward, while improving the SEO capability of your website? Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the most common types of localization that can help you decide which is best for your website: 1. JavaScript Installation This is the most effective approach to website localization and can be easily implemented using Localizer. First, you need to install the Localizer JavaScript code to your website, so it can index all your translatable phrases onto our platform. Once these are loaded, the source content can be selected and translated with the click of a button. You can also serve each localized version of your content under different domain names to maintain SEO-friendliness. Advantages Can be installed using just a single line of code to any website. Will store all your translations in one place. Translations can be easily extracted by Localizer. Automatically indexes all your new content for translation. Different translations can be served under multiple language domains. (e.g. French under .fr, and Mandarin under .cn) Disadvantages Site speed may decrease very slightly. 2. Standard Localization This approach involves serving the localized version of your web pages directly from your website’s servers. Using standard localization, you need to maintain a list for every phrase on your website, then look up the correct translation before the page is served to site visitors. Advantages Most languages already have integrated support for this approach. Translation management platforms such as Localizer provide the ready-made means to look after this content. You’re in direct control of your translations. Disadvantages File extraction can prove very troublesome if a system of doing so is not already in place. Moving the content to a translation management platform can take much time and effort.   3. Proxy Server Localization Using this method, content is served from a layered service provider (LSP) when your website receives a request. This involves setting up DNS entries for each new language and allowing the LSP to look after both new translation requests and keeping an eye on your source content for any necessary new translations. Advantages Simple setup for anyone with access to DNS. Translations all in one place. Little or no intervention required for updating. Disadvantages Translated site content may not always be up-to-date with source language. May slightly decrease site speed for translated content. If you’re thinking about localizing your website and would like to know more about how our platform works, simply visit the contact page on the Localizer website. You can arrange a free trial or live demo to see just how easy it is to translate your website to multiple languages with Localizer!  

Say hello to Google's Neural Machine Translation

 by anthony on  |
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Just two months ago, Google announced the introduction of Neural Machine Translation to their Google Translate service. This is great news for businesses that need to translate their website, or those on a tight translation budget. But what exactly is “Neural Machine Translation” and what does it mean for professional translators? What is Neural Machine Translation? Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is an approach that optimizes the benefits of machine translation, by using a large neural network. At its most basic level, NMT focuses on translating whole sentences instead of taking text on a word-for-word basis. It uses the wider context from these whole sentences to determine what the best translation outcome should look like. On top of this, the neural network relies on a learning system that allows it to actually get better over time. This will undoubtedly mean NMT becomes even more widely-used in the future, with regular machine translation phasing out. Why is NMT better than regular machine translation? Regular machine translation looks at each individual word in a block of text, with no regard for the overall structure of a sentence or how it reads. Often, regular machine translations result in clunky and nonsensical text that has little or no application in the real world. Machine-translating a blog, for instance, would end in a drastic quality reduction of the blog content. On the other hand, NMT has the ability to retain the context and tone of voice that a normal machine translation loses. Its unique learning technology gives a more human-like understanding of words and sentences, resulting in a higher quality translation. You can expect NMT to deliver more fluid, fluent and accurate translations that present something closer to what a professional translator can do. In the picture below from Google, you can see there’s quite a difference in the tone of voice and quality between the regular machine translation and the NMT.   How many languages are available? To start, Google have made NMT available for eight different language pairs. These range from English and French, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Turkish and German. Using only these eight languages, about one third of the world’s population can avail of NMT. Google also mention that these languages cover more than 35% of the world’s Google Translate queries. The platform has 103 languages in total, and the plan is to integrate all of these with NMT over the next few years. Google are also granting access to NMT via their Google Cloud Platform, so developers can use the technology within their own applications. With NMT, the company claims that Google Translate progressed more in a single year that it has in the last ten years combined. To help NMT grow, Google has revealed its continued reliance on the Translate Community. Here, multilingual speakers can review translations or contribute their own translations to the community. What does this mean for professional translators? Does this mean the end for professional translators? Absolutely not. As mentioned, NMT is a learning system. This means that, for a while at least, translations won’t be on par with that of a professional translator. Yes, it will learn over time to deliver similar quality, but there are some areas that it can’t compete in. Professional translators that have expertise in certain cultures or industries will always have the advantage. They can include colloquialisms, inside knowledge and revert the tone to match different audiences within that language remit. NMT will express translations in a clear and concise way, but it can only translate whatever information it is given. Professional translators can tweak content and information to match the needs of every target audience. Final word NMT is a fantastic advancement in machine translation technology and it will only get better over time. As it stands, NMT is a cost-effective way to translate your website, safe in the knowledge that your content will retain most of its original quality. However, it’s still in the early stages and there will most likely be some bumps in the road. Professional translation is the only sure-fire way to translate your website and provide a truly local experience for your customers. There's simply no substitute for the expert knowledge a professional translator can give across cultures and topics. With a network of over 18,000 professional translators, we can vouch for their continued relevance in today's technologically-advanced world.