We demystify 4 beliefs about web localization


We demystify 4 beliefs about web localization

Did you know that 375 million people worldwide have English as their first language? If there are 7 billion people in the world, you should probably think about offering your website in other languages that are not English.

In fact, studies indicate that to in order to reach 90% of the world’s online audience, you would need to translate your site into 21 languages.

If you intend to have a worldwide online presence, find out more before entering the localization adventure. You will hear many misconceptions that will not help you find what you are looking for. But don’t worry. Let’s try to clear our heads.

Mistake 1: In order to localize a website you only need to translate text content

This is probably the most common mistake when trying to translate and localize a website.  Many people believe that the only thing to do is to translate words, and do not take into account other technical elements.

Web localization is a highly specialized job in which many aspects must be considered. Your site may need new scripts and even modifications to change the reading direction of the text. If your content management system does not accept content in multiple languages, then you are in trouble.

Apart from these technical aspects, you will also have to think about how to present the language options to international users. The most common options are to include a drop-down list with the languages, to create a separate website with its own URL for each language or to automatically select the language based on the user’s IP.  All of these technical intricacies will make you need the help of experts in the field to help you and your developers.

Mistake 2: My multilingual website works just like my original website

Sometimes we mistakenly believe that the web will work the same in all languages, and that’s why we forget to check the new versions.

This can be dangerous, since your website can face problems that you did not even imagine. Translated content must be subjected to a revision as rigorous as the one carried out with the original content when it was built. In fact, in some cases, it is useful to review the translations in more detail to ensure that the user has a good view of the content and that it meets his or her local requirements.

For example, imagine a button with the phrase “request demo” translated into German. If you don’t check it out, you may not see this sentence completely come off the button because when translated into German the text is much longer.

It’s just one example of how planning and reviewing can save you a lot of money and a lot of duplicated work.

Mistake 3: I simply translate the website and forget all about it

Often website owners do not take into account the cost of translating all the content they publish in the main language. If you update your website frequently, and have to change the translated versions of the content as well, it is best to take this into account and plan for it.

If you forget to include this factor in your planning, you’ll end up having to juggle adjusting the budget at the last minute. And even worse is having to ignore the other languages on your website because you don’t have the budget to update it.

Mistake 4: There is no need to modify the design of the website or the content

In some cases this can be the case. But do not rule out having to modify images, colors, videos and icons for the website to culturally suit your target audience.

It is important to investigate these aspects a little so as not to give your potential customers a distorted image of your brand.

For example, in China the color red means good luck, but in Egypt it is a symbol of cruelty and death. So you’ll need to find out if your site’s color palette conveys the right message in each region. Also consider if you want to use photographs that show individuals from the country or culture your website is aimed at. This way pictures will be more effective and make more sense.