Taking your business global is an enormous task in itself. It involves a lot of practices and methods to come up with a successful localization approach. Sure your business idea may be great in doing well in a specific country or region, but how to present the same concept, services, or range of products in front of a global audience? Simply translating the web pages and marketing material is not enough as most of the times, the message conveyed differs from the original context. So what makes for a great localization strategy? Let’s find out.
1. Company branding
Keeping your brand identity impact is one of the most important reasons why you should consider localization services from professionals rather than going forward with plain translation of your website. The look and feel of the website should stay the same throughout the span of the globe and the certain parameters regarding quality should be set in advance.
2. Keep countries and languages in mind
It is very important to know your target audience – the country they live in and the languages they speak. If you are planning to target customers in certain countries, you should know the most prominent languages there. Some regions may have more than just one language and English may be enough for a few others. It is a fact that people tend to be attracted towards and buy a product that is presented in their native language. The idea is to make a note of the languages spoken in your target regions and devise a plan keeping the regional and cultural aspects in mind.
3. Encoding requirements
After deciding on the languages, the next point to ponder upon is the encoding to be set up in order to properly display some languages like Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc. Also, text in some languages are read from right to left and a proper UTF-8 encoding takes care of all these aspects.
4. Website structure and navigation
A translation and localization strategy is very much dependent upon the structure of the website. For instance, if the site is built on a CMS like WordPress, admin has a number of plugins at his disposal to assist him with translation, while Drupal or Joomla include localization management features. It is very important to assess the structure of the website beforehand keeping the requirements in mind.
At times it may happen that an English may be travelling to France and when he accesses your website, it is presented in French. But the person would like to access the site in English and would really need an option to do so. Some CMSs have in-built option for the users to switch language in case they are not comfortable with the language being automatically presented. In case your site doesn’t have this feature, it is highly recommended to add it to provide the website visitors with the option to switch languages at will.
5. Use of style-guides
Different languages often take up different spaces and need different styles and fonts. It is necessary to keep a style-guide handy to use throughout the localization process of your website in order to provide your global customers with aptly localized content.
6. Level of translation
It is a good idea to keep the website’s content simple and easy to understand. The use of jargons, slogans, and quotes throughout the website may render the translators helpless at times. Needless to mention, the translated content would not present the same idea originally presented, and this may lead to confusions among the readers and buyers. Deciding on the level of translation is an important aspect of any localization strategy. Whether you should employ professional translators to completely translate your website pages, or should you make use of LinguaSol’s effective multilingual globalization solutions to get the best out of your localization strategy, is up to you to decide.
7. Images and multimedia content
It is a wise idea to avoid images with embedded text in them, as those texts can’t be translated and it would be meaningless to promote them in areas where people don’t understand that particular language. In case of audio or video files, make sure to prepare voice-overs and subtitles for them to be useful to a global set of customers.
8. Server location and URL structure
The location of server is not a very decisive point when it comes to search engine rankings, but it does hold some value. So, hosting an Indian site on a server location in India is bound to increase the speed and overall SEO. An important point to consider while doing this is to maintain the URL structure in harmony with the generic top-level domain. Country-specific TLDs, subdomains with generic TLDs, and subdirectories with generic TLDs work the best. Examples would be locally-hosted sites with URLs in the format company.in, in.company.com/, and company.com/in.
9. Multilingual SEO
Chances are you already have a list of top-performing keywords for your business. But a simple translation of those keywords won’t be effective in the same way for different locations and languages. Here comes the concept of International SEO, which deals with carrying out separate keyword researches for all the languages you are planning to target.
10. Payment options and local currency
Now that a customer has decided to buy your product. How is he/she supposed to make the payment? The same modes of payments are not applicable worldwide. Also, would you be providing options for them to transact in their local currency, or would they be paying in one standard currency? It is a wise decision to allow them to transact in a currency they prefer and proper measures should be put in place.
11. Region-specific legalities
In many countries, collecting and storing user data is not allowed. In some places, companies aren’t allowed to advertise negatively or competitively on their own websites. It is important to keep the local laws, rules, and regulations in account before moving forward with the localization plan.
12. Contact information
When a website is being translated and localized to cater to the needs of a widespread audience, the role of providing appropriate contact information cannot be undermined. Some companies may have regional support centres, hence different contact numbers, office addresses, and email IDs. Some companies may decide to have a central point of contact and hence the contact information throughout the variations of the websites should stay the same.
Localizing your business to fit the needs of a global audience is not an easy task, but these pointers would surely help you get closer to your goal more efficiently. We at LinguaSol, understand that the same kind of localization strategy doesn’t work for different firms, and thus, have come up with a number of localization and translation applications that are fit for varying requirements of businesses that want to reach a global customer-base.
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