Getting website localization right requires planning and proper execution. To make sure your localization efforts are rewarded, read through this guide.
Know your target market
Like a great comedian, figure out who your target market is. There’s no point in localizing or translating your site into the world’s top 100 languages. Instead, figure out where most of your traffic comes from. You can these stats from tools like Google Analytics or Alexa.
MongoDB‘s global traffic from Alexa shows a demand for localization into Chinese.
PRO TIP: https://localizejs.com can analyze the language preferences of your users
Get translations right
Having high quality, professional human translations is critical. Google Translate is usually not enough. Poorly translated content can negatively affect your business.
Google Translate is useful as a first pass, but translating your content professional is a must.
Make sure you have quality translations.
To see how machine translation can’t be trusted, check out Translation Party. It takes a sentence and translates it into multiple languages and then back to its original language. The result is surprising.
Utilize high quality online translation services
Having high quality, professional human translations is key. But getting them shouldn’t be a complicated or cumbersome inefficient process. It should be as easy as a click of a button.
With Localize, we made it a top priority to make ordering professional translations as easy as possible.
There are plenty of high quality website translation services out there that make professional translation scalable and affordable. We’ve partnered with a few to do our translations. Check out Angel List’s top translation startups list.
PRO TIP: Localize makes ordering business quality translations painless. Just a click of a button.
Make content management painless
Having your site translated is great. But making sure that changes to your content are always reflected in the translated version of your website is difficult. Localization is a continuous process.
This is one of the reasons we built Localize. Content management, content detection, and content awareness should be automated. We’ve made it easy to turn localization in to a continuous process rather than a 1-time project.
It’s hard enough to write good content and copy, the last thing you need is for your team to remember what elements, what links, and what content has been changed every time you release a new version of your product.
PRO TIP: Localize specializes in automating translation content management.
Make language selection easy
If a user is new to your site, they should never have to look very long to discover whether there is a translated version of your website. Make it easy for them to find what languages you support.
Airbnb is a great example of a service that’s made their localized website accessible and easy for its users. The translated site is easy to find, and the translations are high quality. It drives them traffic and makes their customers happier.
Check out the bottom of the Airbnb website. They provide an easy way to switch language and currency.
Nike also does a great job of letting users select their language and region. This cleans up the UI/UX so their users aren’t overwhelmed or lost.
Louis Vuitton does a great job of caching users preference for future visits to their website. Your users should never have to specify their language preference more than once.
Erica Parrot makes it super straightforward for users to select what language they want to use. It’s clean and simple.
PS: Do you use Squarespace? We have a localization guide for you.
Pictures speak a thousand words
Website localization is more than just translating your content. Don’t neglect the images on your website. Again, Airbnb does a fantastic job of building their landing page images to account for local language and currency differences.
To take your localization to the next level, make sure that links, headers, and titles don’t break when switching to a different language.
Evernote does a great job with contextualizing it’s landing page to cater pictures to the specific language by translating the text in their images as well.
PRO TIP: Get in touch with us about how to setup image translation with Localize.
Localized UI/UX is critical to global success
The key to good localization is to make sure that your website works and looks just as good as it does in its original language. The user experience should be equal in all languages.
When designing your website, create a UI that accounts for the fact that the length of a phrase can be much longer or much shorter in other languages. Drinksonus.com does a great job of creating UI/UX that works well in all of the languages they support.
Designing UI/UX elements that look great in multiple languages is key.
Vice does a great job at localizing their web media content to a multiple regions and languages. The basic elements of the site continue to be similar, but both the content and the assets delivered for each region is different and unique.
Square designs it’s landing page to cater towards its regional audiences. Making sure that both the text and the images look well together.
Louis Vuitton once again does an excellent job of catering its homepage to their international users. The text fits properly and the design motif of the brand stays consistent across all their locales and languages.
Do you use Shopify? We have a localization guide for you.
Localization has positive ROI
The ROI of localization can be extremely high if done right. You’re reaching whole new markets by offering your product in more languages.
If you’ve followed the last fews tips for optimizing your content, images, and design, you’re already off to a great start. Borderfree.com has a great breakdown of how localization can have a huge ROI.
Transifex also has a great infographic on localization
The key to getting a ROI on localization is in ensuring that the quality is high, and that your cost of localization is reasonable.
Shameless plug alert… Localize makes localization affordable for individuals, startups, and big businesses. Check out our pricing.
Make localization make money for you!
If you’ve already signed up for Localize and have questions about integration, check out this guide.
Embrace website localization!
Localizing your site to another language is a big step. You’re expanding your business globally. Be your own advocates of localization. It’s good for business and it makes your website or product more universal. You might just get a high ROI from it!
Paypal celebrates it’s global outreach.
Uber does a great job of getting the media to talk about their global expansion.
That’s a wrap! You should follow us on twitter or subscribe to this blog if you enjoyed this guide.
Interested in testing out Localize? We offer a free trial!
Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
Ready to go global? Sign up for a 2 week trial here and we’ll reach out to help.