With over 2.5 billion internet users today with a variety of languages, there is a need for websites to go beyond their language to adequately communicate with this huge potential market. Website localization where a site is adapted to a local language and culture is currently the best solution to global reach.
How to Localize a Website
It has been shown that more than half of the internet users spend most of their time on the websites in their own language and they stay four times longer on these sites than other sites. A vital feature of these sites is that it’s not just the language that has also been changed the content is culturally acceptable. Steps include;
Before you start customizing your site, you will need to do extensive research. You need to clearly understand the target market and what they need. It influences the kind of content put up. A critical assessment of the language to efficiently translate your content is also crucial. Realize that some words in English do not mean what you want to communicate when directly translated to a different language.
Given that you may not be well versed in the local language, you may need certified translation services that have professional translators to help you. Beyond the language, images, videos, drawings, illustrations, colors and themes also need to be adapted to the locale’s context.
After coming up with what is best for the local community and how to best deliver it, the real work begins. You may hire a legal translation service to help with the content translation. Having a theme that accommodates both left to right and right to left languages is always essential in case you want your website to be multilingual. top notch content from Loving DA helps you write great content for your website which you can then translate to numerous languages.
Then work on any videos and images by ensuring they are acceptable in that community, adding subtitles and translations to those not in that target language. The graphics, visual displays and audios need to be linguistically and culturally acceptable.
It’s time to make your website seamlessly accessible by the target locale. The software and design of your site need to be compatible with the technology of your target country. Putting in mind that most of the internet users access it through smartphones, it is crucial to develop a mobile-friendly interface too.
Website Localization Best Practices
It may sound like a simple process, but actually, it may be time consuming, frustrating and costly when put into the wrong hands. Your aim is to boost your digital customer experience as fast and efficiently as possible. Best practices include:
For you to efficiently express your site in a manner comprehensible to the target community, you need to do more than just translating. Having great content enables you get the process of translation right. Translating top notch content from LovingDA gives you an added advantage.
Your focus is on having better search engine rankings in the locale and therefore Search Engine Optimization is crucial. You will need to understand what the consumers in that locality mostly search for to come up with influential keywords. SEO optimization will enable you to perform well on search engine algorithms that determine your visibility.
Colors mean differently in various communities and therefore choose them wisely. Similarly audio-visual content needs to flow in line with the cultural expectations of the community. That applies to pop-ups and banners too.
Website Localization Strategy
Website localization may exponentially expand your market if done in the right way. You will need to adopt a strategy that not only helps you adapt your existing content but also covers you for the future. There needs to be both cost and legal considerations before coming up with the strategy. Here are the key components to look out for;
Multi-lingual vs. Multi-site
One key factor is whether you will make your site support a variety of languages(multi-lingual) or create different sites with the same content in different languages(multi-site). Multilingual sites are often easier and cheaper to localize with basically everything remaining the same apart from the language.
Multi-site requires purchasing of domains like site.fr for a site localized to France and using French. They may need spending on domain purchasing and running of the sites independently with a simultaneous posting of content. However, it’s more comprehensible and capable of driving more local traffic and sales. You have a choice of either of the two.
Multi-lingual capability should inform the choice of Content Management Systems. Search engine ranking should be put in consideration now that you want to be competitive in that region. Know which search engine is dominant in that area before implementing SEO strategies.
In case you opt for a multisite system, let Google know that your content is canonical for different countries using the same language because it may be interpreted as duplication of content.
The Future on Your Mind
After the site is localized, future content should be created with localization in. Any updates on the design and other features of the site need not impact negatively on the reception of the site in the target region. Future content should be developed based on the response and feedback to the localized
content because it is a continuous process.
The way to go for website owners who want to reach more audience is website localization. Most people have attempted it, but not all of them have reaped its benefits. Many people only focus on translation of the words and therefore end up with content that cannot be comprehended by the target group. Website localization calls for both language and culture adaptation.
Researching, actual localization, and internationalization are the steps to efficient localization. You will need to observe translation, search engine optimization, and design best practices to adequately reach out to the locale. Developing a future-proof strategy can help you optimize the stability and performance of your site as long as you need it. But the most important first step is writing truly great content. Loving DA helps you with that process, making sure that you get great content for your site which you can then translate into other languages if you so wish.