Nearly 76% of online shoppers prefer to read product information in their native language. In fact, according to the same study, as many as 40% of online shoppers will never buy from a website that’s not in their native language.
And that means companies that want to expand into new markets and reach new audiences must be willing to offer them information and support in their native languages.
Luckily, that’s where website localization can be incredibly useful. It allows companies to remove not just any language barriers between the company and the audience but also account for cultural and other important aspects that can remove friction and ensure your audiences are happy across the world.
But how can you get started with building an effective website localization process? Let’s explore some of the most important steps below.
Create a Plan
Any effective website localization campaign must start with a plan. The process is complicated and lengthy enough as it is, so you need to at least establish what you’re trying to achieve and lay out the steps that will allow you to bridge the gap from where you are now.
Creating a comprehensive plan will also help you focus your resources where they are the most useful, making the process of website localization not just more efficient but more cost-effective as well.
A good starting point to look at is how your products and brand fit with the market you are trying to enter. Sometimes you won’t need to make any changes to how your brand and products look, but in other cultures, you may need to make significant changes to make your offerings look appealing.
Another key part of making a plan is to look at your timeline. If you want to make an aggressive push into a new market and want to launch as soon as possible, that will probably cost more to implement quickly. Think about whether the timeline makes sense and if it will offer a good ROI.
Finally, map out the stages of the process and mark down significant milestones you can use as signposts that show you’re heading in the right direction.
Understand the Market
Most of the decisions that you’ll be making in your website localization project will revolve around the audience you are trying to cater to. And that means that to make informed decisions, you need to start with in-depth market research that will help you discover the subtle differences between your current audience and the one you want to serve.
And at the very first stage, that means identifying the markets that show the most potential for success. You could potentially expand to any corner of the world, but you should prioritize the countries and languages that have the biggest ROI potential and have audiences eager to buy your products.
When you identify the best potential markets to enter, make sure you dive deep into understanding their core needs, unique localization challenges, and which segments you should prioritize when designing your website’s functionality and structure.
Utilize the Right Tools
Even though localization can be a complicated process, the good news is that there are tools designed to make the process simpler and more manageable. In a global economy, millions of companies are looking for ways to better cater to the needs of local audiences, and these solutions allow streamlining various tasks and steps, improving effectiveness while simultaneously reducing the time it takes to complete the project.
But what can localization solutions offer your company?
Well, one powerful feature is the ability to build a centralized database for all your translations, which can help maintain consistency and identify the unique patterns that should be maintained across different localization projects.
A localization software solution can also help speed up the translation process itself using machine translation, which can then be further worked on by a human translator to ensure that the subtleties of the local language aren’t lost. And for the human translator part, use certified translation services that possess linguistic expertise and cultural knowledge, to ensure accurate and culturally appropriate translations. With their help, you get to avoid any negative nuances of the source and target languages, which allows you to convey the intended meaning effectively.
Finally, with the help of localization software, you can establish a terminology glossary, which will help maintain consistency in phrasing and wording in projects that are worked on by multiple people at once. Even a seemingly simple feature like this can go a long way in ensuring that no part of your core messages gets lost and that the local audiences understand your offer and value proposition.
Website localization is a key part of successfully entering new markets. A significant percentage of buyers want to interact with brands in their native language, so it’s up to you to provide them with a seamless experience they will enjoy.
And the good news is that you can break down the website localization process into actionable tasks and streamline each aspect through specialized solutions.
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