website localization globe out of puzzle piecesWhen you think of all the components involved with website localization, it may be the most complex project you take on when you go global.

Testing, video and graphic localization. Multilingual SEO. Content translation. Like a game of connect the dots, each step creates your overall picture.

Except with this puzzle, there are no set rules. There are many ways to approach website localization, and there’s no one right way to go about it. It really comes down to what makes sense for your organization.

Let’s go over the various factors that may come into play in the game of website localization, helping you identify a winning strategy that works best for you.

Systems integration and automation

Think about how much content is on your website. Now think about how many website updates you make on a weekly basis. As you pursue website localization, all these files will require translation. Trying to manage this process with manual methods—like passing files back and forth through email or FTP sites—can be a losing proposition. It soaks up all your valuable time. Not to mention every human touchpoint introduces risk.

If you have a content management system, we can build a connector from that system to our translation management system. Instead of sending an email, simply trigger a translation project with the click of a button. This connector allows the systems to communicate and automatically alerts your project managers of the translation request. After it’s complete, the reconstructed file is rerouted back to your content management system and posted in the appropriate location.

Integrating these systems at the start of website localization makes juggling all the components much more efficient. In this situation, you always know where your projects sit in the workflow—putting an end to the nonsensical game of email ping pong between you and your translation team.

Various testing steps

An important step to consider before pursuing website localization is testing. From internationalization sufficiency testing to pseudo translation, there are several tests that can be conducted to ensure your localization process goes smoothly. These tests can detect any bugs in the process before translation even begins and helps you see how the translated content will lay out on your website. For example, you can see if a button doesn’t contain enough space to accommodate the German or Spanish translation of the words “request a demo.” It also ensures your website management system supports non-English scripts, currencies or other features specific to a target market.

The earlier you identify localization challenges, the faster and less costly it will be to address and fix them. Finding them after localization means the added expense of repairing errors for every language on your website—and there’s nothing fun about that.

Content translation

If your Web copy doesn’t resonate with audiences, you won’t pass go (or collect your money) as you enter new international markets.

To move along smoothly on the localization game board, ensure your copy is written with translation in mind, free of idioms and slang, among other factors. Your professional linguists will take these elements into consideration and look for the best possible translation to match the equivalent meaning in the target language. However, sometimes there just isn’t a way to easily capture that feeling or idea—the message itself needs to be reinvented.

If this is the case, you may look into transcreation services where professional in-country marketing experts actually re-create your Web copy to strike the right chord with locals. For example, if your website incorporates a lot of sports metaphors or phrases like “slam dunk” that don’t resonate across countries, your copy can be re-created to encompass that same notion but in a way that makes sense with local audiences.

Multimedia localization

Other critical pieces to the website localization game are multimedia. If graphics and videos are part of your website localization project, there are many factors to take into account. First you must ensure they’re culturally appropriate for new markets. Consider the cultural appropriateness of the images and actors. For example, an image of a man relaxing with his bare feet up on a table may turn off Indians, who view feet as unclean. Color choices can impact your design and how well it resonates across cultures, too. Green may not be the wisest choice in South America, where it’s associated with death.

After you’ve deemed whether or not your multimedia content transcends cultures, you can begin the localization process. Should your videos have subtitles or voiceovers? Do your images have text that requires translation? These are just some things to consider. Whatever your multimedia project entails, we can guide you with every step of the localization process.

Multilingual SEO

Website localization without multilingual SEO is like hosting game night without sending invitations. How can your guests know you’re having a get-together, let alone find it without proper guidance? A solid multilingual SEO strategy with strategically placed, optimized keywords can fix this—helping your website rank better in search engines to draw customers to your website.

To do this correctly you need expertise from in-country, native-speaking SEO experts. You can’t just translate your existing source language keywords. Why? Web surfers in different locales search on products and brands differently, and you want your keywords to align with their search queries. For example, let’s say you sell power tools. Research may show people in one market appreciate tools for their strength, but another may value price—the first region might search on “durable power tools,” whereas the other may search “affordable power tools.” Then there’s the fact that not every country relies on Google as their search engine. Multilingual SEO takes all these factors into account, finding the right keywords for each locale.

Website localization may not be all fun and games, but with the right translation partner it can be a lot less puzzling. If you’re heading down this path, let us help. We’re only a call, email or tweet away!

Want to learn more? Check out Website localization: Best practices for going global.

Did you pursue any of these services with website localization? Which ones?