What Approaches You Should Adopt for Website Localization

What Approaches You Should Adopt for Website Localization
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


More than 25% of internet users speak English. This may explain why more than half of the websites online are in the English language. 

However, many people are still excluded from getting information from these websites even though there are other languages that are just as popular. For instance, Chinese is spoken by more than 19% of internet users, while Spanish speakers make up about 7% of global internet users.

However, things are quickly changing as more businesses have started focusing on strategies that aid global expansion. One of these strategies is localization. 

Localization, or l10n, refers to adapting your product to suit another culture. Website localization is, therefore, adapting your site so that it addresses the needs of your target audience. This requires you to change the site’s language, content, and design such that they resonate well with customers from another region or country. 

How to Localize Your Website

So, what steps should you follow to ensure a successful website localization process?
Read on.

Identify Your Target Audience

Website localization is a time-consuming and costly undertaking. Therefore, you shouldn’t do it blindly. First, you need to identify your target market.

To begin, check your website analytics to identify the regions where the majority of your visitors are coming from. You can also perform keyword research for your products or services in different regions. This will help you know which regions or countries will produce the highest ROI after localization.

After deciding on your target market, identify the local customs and regulations that you’ll need to comply with. Doing thorough research on the region you are targeting will help you have a successful website localization process.

Get Your International SEO Right

You’ll need to optimize your website for your target market’s search engines. Remember, Google is not the main search engine in every region. In China, for instance, Baidu is very popular and so is Yandex in Russia.
Do your homework well. Your translators should be aware of the keywords, metadata, and external links to include in your translated content.

Hire Your Team

It is advisable that you look for professionals to help you with your website localization process as cutting corners will not give you value for your effort and money. Some of the professionals you’ll need in your team include:

  • Programmers and Developers
    You’ll need to hire programmers and developers who will help to internationalize your site. Internationalization refers to preparing your site for easier translation. Internalization also makes it easier for you to make changes in your site once you localize it. The process may involve leaving ample spaces on your site, using fewer images, and using Unicode. 
    Unicode is an encoding system that allows your site to support almost every language in the world. This system standardizes encodings across the browser and the server. 
  • A Native Translator
    You’ll need to hire a native speaker of your target market’s language to translate your content for your target customers. 
    The benefit of hiring professional translation services rather than using software is that there will be minimal translation errors. Human translators will know specific cultural terms that resonates with the target audience.
    The translated content shouldn’t be just another version of the original content in the original language. Instead, it should be relevant and understandable to the target audience. A native translator will ensure this is done perfectly. 
  • Do a Localization and Linguistic Test Before Launch
    A localization test will ensure that your site is functioning as expected, and a linguistic test will ensure that the content is correctly translated and has no grammatical errors. These tests ensure that you don’t miss any issues that may be on your site. For instance, they will help you check if the website is optimized for speed, mobile, and PC, among other issues.
Apart from this, we asked some of the experts we trust to share how they get it all done. Here's their best advice for website localization:

Choose the proper images for your website

Images used on your website may contain many cultural messages. The image that you choose may contain unpleasant messages for the foreigners that visit your website and that may drive the visitors away from the site while the image is accurately identifying the product/service for the locals in the local language in which your website is prepared.

For example, pictures of food and beverages used on a tourism website may be interesting for culture, while messages that may contradict the cultural and religious beliefs of visitors from another country.

Therefore, during the localization studies, it may be necessary to select alternative images that will give appropriate messages for each language, considering the target foreign languages and cultures.

- Ayse Basak Incekas | Marketing Assistant for Megaventory

The best and simplest way to find out if you need website localization is to check your website analytics. We use Google Analytics on our sites.

Looking at what countries and what language source people are coming from will give you the stats you need to decide if it was worthwhile producing your site in other languages.

We have multiple nationalities visiting our site and using our services, so it is essential for us. If you have more than 10% of visitors on your site who use a different native language, then it may well be worth implementing localization.

Will Hatton | Owner of Hotel Jules


To sum up, you need to have a thorough approach towards localizing your website based on your target audience and also its proper execution, in order to derive effective results in your global business expansion.


Related articleWebsite Translation: An Imperative Need For a Marketer

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc an Orange County, California based company that has been providing accurate and affordable transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed success at GMR for almost ten years now and has helped the company grow. Within two years of Beth managing GMR Transcription, it had doubled in sales and was named one of the OC Business Journal’s fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she likes spending time with her husband and two kids.