The Basics of Website Localisation
Website localisation is a must for any business that operates internationally. In this entry, we will go through the fundamentals of website localisation, clarify common misconceptions and discuss which benefits website localisation can offer to your business. To conclude, we will address some points to keep in mind when you decide to localise your website.
What is website localisation? Is it the same as website translation?
Translation is the most important element of website localisation, but website localisation includes much more than pure translation. In the localisation process, a website is adapted to one or more foreign target markets. This means that you will not only need to translate content into one or more languages, but also consider various cultural, strategic and practical aspects.
Let’s look at some examples:
– For your domestic clients, international shipping information will be irrelevant. However, you will need to add a section with such information if you want to ship goods to foreign customers.
– You will need to add sections with relevant main contacts, business hours, etc. for each target market.
– Your pricing policy will probably vary from market to market and this will need to be reflected on your website, too.
– You might want to run promotional campaigns on your website for specific target markets, such as Christmas campaigns for western markets or Lunar New Year campaigns in Chinese speaking markets.
– Remember that clients in your new markets might have questions that customers in your domestic market have never asked you before, for example if food or cosmetic products can be consumed according to religious norms (Halal, Kosher etc.) – so it is wise to provide such information.
– It can also be necessary to adapt images on your website, because an image that evokes positive associations in one cultural context, might carry negative connotations in other cultures.
– Transcreation is an essential tool in website localisation – here we explain you the 4 key differences between transcreation and translation and when you need it.
You see: Website localisation is a complex process and includes much more than just translation.
What are the benefits of website localisation? Isn’t it enough to have an English website?
A general misconception is that an English website alone is enough to reach a large audience. Your website will appear on the WORLD WIDE WEB, so it is just consequent to think on a global scale: Miniwatts Marketing Group pointed out in its Internet World Stats that just about 20% of the world population knows English (this includes BOTH native AND non-native speakers) and that English speakers make up just about 25% of the worldwide internet users. In other words, with an English website you will not be able to reach 75% of the worldwide internet users – because they won’t understand you.
Also consider that among the internet users who know English, many non-native speakers will prefer content in their own language. Again, let’s look at this from a global perspective: globally, English ranks number 3, AFTER Chinese and Spanish, which means that having a website in Chinese and/or Spanish alone will drastically increase your audience.
An EU survey conducted by the Gallup Organization (Flash Eurobarometer 313 © European Union, 2011) among internet users in the EU found that approximately 90% of the respondents preferred a website in their native language. Over 40% even said that if there was no version in their mother tongue, they would not go on an English version instead. The survey also found that over 40% of the interviewees never used any foreign language for making purchases on the internet.
Also consider that many people might never even hear about you, simply because they will enter search terms in their native language – and if you don’t have a website in that language, you will not show up in their search results.
To sum up: with website localisation, you can access new markets and reach huge audiences. This extreme potential makes website localisation one of the most powerful marketing tools – and if you compare costs for website localisation with costs for other marketing activities (participation in trade fairs etc.), you will soon understand that website localisation is also one of the most cost-effective marketing tools that a company can possibly have.
Things to keep in mind for website localisation
While many translation service providers list website translation in their service portfolio, only few of them really have the linguistic and technical expertise that website localisation actually requires.
Examples: Do you have .pdf brochures to download on your website? In many cases, you will need desktop publishing services to ensure that the formatting and design is error free in other languages (languages like Thai, for example, usually require a lot of formatting work). Also any multimedia content, such as videos, requires expert knowledge and services (including subtitling, voiceover, etc.).
As a one-stop service provider, elionetwork boasts expertise in website localisation for all of your prospective target markets. We have many years of experience with translation, subtitling/voiceover, DTP, copywriting etc. and devoted teams of engineers, IT specialists, designers and more, so that we can deliver a turnkey solution for you. You will soon understand that at elionetwork we put quality first.
Do you have any further questions about website localisation? Or would you like to request a quote? Please get in touch and we will be happy to help.