Strategy

Website Localization – Best Practices And Tools To Get Started

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Website localization is critical in expanding your business globally. To be successful in other countries, you’ll have to adapt your content to be appropriate to the new market. This means translating and changing your website to be more appealing to the new audience. But where do you even begin with a localization strategy?

In this article, we’ll explore some best practices to get you started with localization. We’ll also suggest a few useful tools, such as translation and proxy services, to get you started. Finally, we’ll look at the benefits of a proper localization strategy.

The following topics regarding localization will be discussed:

  • What is website localization?
  • Website localization best practices
  • Tools that can help with localization
  • How can websites benefit from localization

What Is Website Localization?

Localization is the process of changing and adapting your digital content for a new country or market. This includes translation, changing currency, and even adapting the design of web pages where necessary. Brands and businesses that expand to a global market understand that to become successful in this new market. Their content has to change to reach this new audience. Recent studies have shown that 72.4% of consumers will buy products from a website in their own language.

Website Localization Best Practices

Like many, you may be wondering where to start localizing your content. Here are some of the best practices to point you in the right direction.

1. Don’t Delay – Get Started

The first step is just to get started. You may have been thinking about it for a while only to put localization off to attend to other matters. However, if you’re adamant about continuing to continue growing and expand your business, then take the first step in getting started by investing in a multilingual website.

2. Translate Content Correctly

Once you know your website can support different languages, you can start translating your content. You don’t have to translate into 20 different languages right from the start, but choose a few countries that you want to expand to first and start translating your content for them. Translation services are best for this, as translation tools like Google Translate can sometimes get things wrong. However, translation tools can help, and we’ll discuss them later in the article.

3. Keep Changes In Text In Mind

There are a few text-related things to remember when localizing your website. The first is the expansion or contraction of the translated text. Languages like German might require more space than English, while others like Chinese will require less space. A good rule when designing English pages that you want to localize is to allow 100% more text space and 50% less. This way, your page designs will still look good even when you add more or less text.

At the same time, you might also want to make buttons or anywhere else text might appear taller than needed for English. This is to accommodate text that requires a larger font size, such as Japanese characters. Having all this set up right from the start will save you a lot of time and energy when you eventually localize your content.

4. Pay Attention To Your Images And Media

Your images and media also need some addressing. Try to use text-free images as much as possible. A beautiful image with English text across it will negatively impact your localization strategy. If an image needs the text for context (or branding), make it a ‘translatable layer’ that’s overlaid using CSS or similar.

It is also important to research what type of media is most popular in your new market. For example, audiences in Japan love bright, colorful images, whereas audiences in Brazil prefer videos or candid photos. 49% of marketers feel they should create more personalized content for different audiences, which is important to remember and implement from the start.

Tools That Can Help With Localization

Using a proxy service alongside your localization tools is also a great idea to evaluate your progress. A proxy service can allow you to change your IP to one in your target country. This way, you can see what your audience sees when looking at your website. Here are a few important tools that can help with localization:

  • CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) Tools: SDL Trados Studios or Memsource
  • QA Tools: Verifika or ApSIC XBench
  • Bug Tracking Platforms: Redmine or Jira
  • Translation Management Services: Plunet Business Manager

How Can Websites Benefit From Localization?

By localizing your website, you are optimizing it for a new audience, drastically increasing your reach and growing your website traffic. The whole reason for expanding your business globally is to get more traffic and more sales from these new markets. The best way to ensure this happens is by creating content that the new audience can understand and feel comfortable with.

Final Thoughts

Localization is important for any business looking to expand to other countries. Users want to support businesses in their own language, where they can understand the product and service descriptions and see the value in their currency.

Frank is a senior editor and productivity enthusiast. Loves hunting and reviewing new tools. When he's not writing he's normally cooking, gardening or reading.

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