Discover the Importance of Website Localization for Expanding Companies
Do you want your product to be associated with manure? Probably not. Yet, when you simply translate your website into other languages without taking the local culture into consideration, you could end up selling a “Manure Stick” like Clairol did in Germany. This is just one reason why website localization matters.
How Website Localization Works
90 percent of consumers pick websites in their own language when they’re available. 72 percent spend most of their time on sites in their native tongue. These are the findings from a study by Common Sense Advisory.
You don’t need to be Einstein to figure out that website translation is more important than ever now that the world’s globalized economy and the Internet allow businesses of all sizes to gain access to new markets.
No matter how great your widgets are, you will fail to catch on in foreign markets unless you can explain to new consumers how your products work and what they do in a language they can understand. And, with today’s savvy online shoppers, a simple machine or crowdsourced translation just won’t do.
This is where localization comes in. The goal of website localization is to make the sites for your international visitors as compelling in look and feel as the site for your local customers.
You want an engaging message in their own language that resonates with them and inspires trust as opposed to an erroneous or diluted translation that is impossible to understand because of its endless grammatical errors.
Let’s look at our favorite example. According to Socialnomics, when the Dairy Association tried to translate “Got Milk?” for their Spanish-speaking audience, they got the equivalent of “Are You Lactating?” Not very appetizing. Localization addresses this.
Some of the steps involved in website localization include:
- Complying with local regulations
- Conversion of currencies and units of measurement
- Adapting colors, icons, and images when needed
- Adapting content to regional or international markets
- Linguistic and localization testing
- Adapting to local date and phone number formats
- Adjusting layouts for content
- Ensuring cultural compatibility
When you look at this list, it is easy to see the importance of website localization and why it is the fourth fastest growing industry in the country according to GALA.
Localization is vital if you are looking to break into a new market. Or, if you find that a lot of your website’s traffic is coming from Canada (or any other country), you might want to cater more to that audience in order to capture more market share. Here are some other reasons you need localization:
Search Engine Optimization Is Rooted in Language
Search engine optimization (SEO) has gotten a bad rap due to the underhanded techniques used by some firms. Do not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Google algorithms these days are sophisticated enough to sniff out and punish black hat tactics and reward sites with valuable content.
You need to create an engaging message that keeps local audiences on your page and uses the right keywords for the region since a couple of the metrics that are increasing in importance are time spent on pages and bounce rates.
The importance of website localization can be seen in search results. If you search for “grocery stores” in a small city, you will likely get the supermarkets closest to you at the top of the search results page and not markets hours away. A localized website can help get to the top of local search results.
Get the Right Message to Your Target Demographic
Do you need 30 different versions of your website? Or, will just two suffice? The goals and scope of your organization will determine how many versions you need. You may need several websites within one country. What appeals to people in California may not appeal to consumers in Mississippi.
Traditions, climate, and even official holidays vary as you cross state borders. The only way to capture the interests of all of the different talking and different thinking customers is through localized social media campaigns, SEO, and landing pages.
Localization Is Not Just about Translation
There are certain cultural taboos that may be obvious to you. If you are in the United States, you know that public nudity is generally shunned. Yet, in other parts of the world, residents see nothing wrong with it.
Let’s demonstrate the importance of website localization in avoiding insults. One of the most insulting signs you can make in the Middle East is the “thumbs up” sign. It’s analogous to “flipping the bird.” Consequently, you wouldn’t want a thumbs-up option on your social media platform in Dubai.
Localization necessitates a thorough understanding of the local culture. Cultural taboos are easy to miss when you only focus on getting the language right.
Don’t let your product end up in the manure. Hire a professional firm to help you localize your website to your new markets.