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When and How to Localize Your Website

When and How to Localize Your Website

At some point in your company’s development, you will likely experience interest in your product outside your home market. That will be a clear time to prepare your website for that new language and culture. Just about everyone prefers to research, learn about products, and shop online from a website with texts in their own language, and features designed for their specific culture.

But there are additional circumstances that could trigger the need for website localization:

  • A competitor’s move into a new market – do you need to maintain a similar presence?
  • Changes in your material or labor sourcing – is your operation naturally shifting into other parts of the world?
  • Societal/political changes or stressors that make new markets open quickly or stagnate suddenly – the global Covid-19-related issues, for example.
  • New regulations related to your product, or reduction of regulations – maybe expansion has become necessary, or, on the other hand, maybe it’s just gotten easier.
  • Following through with a strategic plan of expansion set by management or shareholders – there are billions of consumers in your yet-untapped markets, a level of opportunity that should not be overlooked or avoided out of uncertainty.
  • A potential partnership or collaboration opportunity arises with an overseas partner – sometimes this is a great way to enter a new country.
  • Reinvestment of profits into business activities – like localization of your website and marketing materials – that open new doors to growth.

You live in a world driven by global commerce. It’s reasonable to be thinking about how to prepare your marketing for other cultures, right from the very earliest days of your business. This preparatory process is called “internationalization” and it’s relevant for websites as well as apps, videos, and any materials that help explain your product or optimize its functioning. A common tip for the internationalization phase is to leave more space in your initial design. Why? Because some languages require more room than others, and you also don’t know how fast the Internet connection will be in every new location, so keep the upload simple. For more information on internationalization, see our Blogpost

Localization of your website will require a lot of work. But the alternative – offering only a few machine-translated features in foreign languages – is a mistake. Effective localized websites make foreign consumers feel excited, engaged, and completely accommodated. How? Because you’ve done the work:

  • You’ve done your market research to determine how your product might fit into your target customers’ lives; you’ve decided how to explain it to them.
  • Along with that, you’ve checked out your local competition.
  • Your website’s programming has been localized so that every adapted feature works, including functions that involve foreign currencies, time zones, calendars, etc.
  • You have selected the platform most commonly used in their country and region.
  • You have thoroughly researched every area that involves your new customers’ preferences: music, colors, taboos, symbols, political/social conditions, humor, memes, themes, and trends.
  • You have had every word translated by translators with native understanding and copywriting skills.
  • Your tech experts have ironed out all the kinks and glitches, and they have tested every feature to a point where you are completely confident that your new customers’ UX will be enjoyable for them, and profitable for you.

If you have the impression that this might be an overwhelming amount of work, you aren’t wrong! Website localization is a complex, creative, technically demanding process. It’s not a job for the inexperienced. Consider having a conversation about your company and your foreign market goals with a leading localization expert at an experienced Language Service Provider. Expert translation and localization teams coordinate linguists, marketing translators, and technical experts. Website localization, when done well, will open up entire new worlds for your business.

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