From Beijing to New York, global expansion is high on the business agenda. But while access to international customers translates to greater profits, translating a website and localizing your content to tap into global markets also means more work.
Making your website appeal to customers worldwide requires coordination and determination because successfully translating a website isn’t as easy as using a plugin on your backend.
Why? Because while machine translation is an option, it won’t guarantee that your customers in Italy and China will be satisfied with your English offers and their user experience expectations.
For your website to “walk and talk like a native”, you’ll need to invest in website localization if you’re focused on tapping into this potential goldmine. And unless you want to join the list of hundreds of companies that have failed at this task, it’s essential to deploy some best practices when translating your website!
A Look at Language Stats
It comes as no surprise that over half of all websites use the English language. English is, after all, the most commonly spoken language on the web. But did you know that almost a fifth of all internet users speak Chinese? 8% of users speak and prefer to use the web in Spanish!
The sad reality is that there are very few websites that cater to those users. In fact, not even 5% of all websites provide Spanish as a language option. Chinese is even worse off, with just 2% of all websites offering an option for that language!
So, what does this all mean?
Well, simply put: millions of internet users are forced to use the web in a language they aren’t 100% comfortable with, or they are left out of certain portions of the net.
If your website can help bridge this gap, you have the opportunity to tap into a goldmine!
How to successfully translate and localize your website
First Order of Business: Include Localization in Your Plan from the Start
More than 4.5 billion people use the web every day, with the majority of users located in Europe, America, and Asia. This is precisely why you need to consider the potential of international sales right from the start. Even if you’re just setting out to create a website, regardless of the fact that your initial market is small, it’s always better to think bigger, to think global. Your message should be attractive in any language so potential customers can resonate with it. Up to 72% of customers would be more likely to purchase products with information in their own language!
Translating a website can be challenging because you have to identify your core markets and then focus on specific language versions. If you have no idea where to start with this, a translation agency – such as Day Translations itself – can help plan and guide you through the process from start to finish.
Localization and translation are often used interchangeably, but they mean very different things.
- Localization – the transformation of an entire product or piece of content from one language to another, covering cultural and linguistic adaptation.
- Translation – the transformation of pieces of text from one language to another.
Your localization strategy, in plain terms, is your plan to adapt your offerings and content to new markets so that it expresses your message in a way that resonates with prospects, regardless of where they are based in the world.
Don’t Launch Before Testing
You need to test the localization and linguistics of your website before rolling out. By testing the linguistics, you’ll ensure that everything is accurately translated and easy to understand. Localization testing revolves around ensuring all the various language versions of your website are functioning the way they should.
Testing localization includes double-checking the following:
- Hardware compatibility
- Encryption algorithms
- Entry fields
- Broken strings or designs
- Form functionality
- Shopping cart
- Load time
Linguistic testing includes checking:
- Spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors
- Presence of culture-sensitive content
- Inappropriate content
- Misuse of keywords
- Readability and appeal of messages
Start the localization process
Once you have the translation in place, it’s time to localize your content into new languages. Here you have the option of using a waterfall approach or going for an agile localization rollout.
A waterfall approach will only see your translations added after the webpage is live. An agile localization project syncs the localization process with web development, so they both run at the same time. Although agile can be more complex and requires input from localization engineers, it is more efficient and provides more flexibility in your workflow.
Carry on Localizing
Your business is sitting on a potential goldmine, and all you need to do to tap into it is translate and localize your website. Start on the right foot by designing your website with localization in mind. Using professional translation services – like Day Translations – can help keep the project organized, on track, and avoid monotonous tasks.
Once you translate and localize your website, you’ll be able to target a larger audience, improve your SEO and create unique URLs for each localized version of your site, and increase your conversion rate. It’ll be easier for global customers to understand and absorb your content, and because your offerings are presented in a language they are fluent in, you’re more likely to secure long-term customers.