How to Build a Content Localization Strategy for Business Growth
With today businesses launched globally, a strong content localization strategy became an essential growth factor
Every business dreams of conquering the international market, or better yet, several of them. That’s why today businesses are launched globally and more and more companies distribute their products worldwide.
While English is of course considered to be a — if not the — language of international communication, only 20% of the Earth’s population speaks it. Given this fact, how will you effectively communicate to the world about your product given all of the languages and distinct cultural backgrounds?
That’s where localization comes in. Content localization is a powerful tool to make your brand international. It might surprise you to learn that localized content can outperform English ad campaigns in both click-throughs and conversions by 86%. Of course, any business would be totally remiss to let an opportunity like that slip away.
But to make content localization a smooth process for your business, you need to have a well-established strategy.
What is a Content Localization Strategy?
It all starts with content localization, the process of adapting content — texts and graphics — to different regional target audiences. Website localization is a popular way to provide potential customers with the information they need, as visiting a company website is the simplest way to learn about a brand or product.
So, content localization strategy means creating a specific plan that describes the steps needed to translate the content to make it understandable and clear for the audience. Defining your content localization strategy means determining the markets you want to enter, the goals you want to achieve there, and the corresponding tactics.
It’s important to keep in mind that localization differs from simply translating English words into other languages. Localization is actually a much deeper process that involves adapting website or app content to local expectations and realities.
Take Nike’s website as a classic example. They not only translated their site’s content but also made a deep research and adjusted their message based on preferred sports in a particular region or country. So, for instance, the Argentinian Nike site features soccer while the US site is more basketball-related content-heavy.
Is localization important for every business?
Content localization has become essential for any business that wants to go global. It helps to create personalized experiences for audiences in different regions. During localization, various cultural nuances are taken into account to make a product more familiar for the people in another part of the world.
Today, almost all businesses have a website. Therefore, website localization is an absolute must-have to attract people from foreign markets. For example, ASOS, one of the biggest e-commerce players, not only translates all the content on their platform but also offers various payment methods and accepts dozens of currencies depending on the location of the user.
Of course, a localization strategy depends on the type of business you’re running. Some businesses don’t require constant, weekly localization; probably even some of them need only a simple translation.
However, businesses like e-commerce sites, corporate websites, and international blogs with daily news and updates require you to think ahead about your content localization strategy.
Studies show that about 52 percent of online buyers prefer to shop at websites in their native language. By localizing your website content you will convert website visitors into customers. Besides, native websites look more trustworthy and mean better user experience for visitors worldwide.
What do businesses get from localization?
The need for localization depends on the business you have. For some companies creating a profound localization strategy is a must, for some — it’s just a nice bonus.
E-commerce platforms are a good example of a place where localization plays a huge role. Adapting website content for different regions is a must here. Imagine for example you sell both in Iceland and Spain, which are night and day climate-wise. You probably need to make sure in this case that your offerings for the two countries differ as well. Selling shorts and skirts to the customers in Iceland might not be your best strategy. So, good content has to pay to regional specifics.
Moreover, e-commerce platforms usually have a lot of content to be translated regularly as the range of products is constantly updated. So, to provide foreign clients with the most recent information, you need to localize your content as soon as possible, practically on-the-go.
Website content localization can increase your conversions and website traffic
Marketing KPIs such as the number of unique visits or conversion rate by target locale will grow if you plan and execute content localization correctly.
By localizing your website, you are able to gain more happy clients
People are more eager to surf the website they understand what it’s about. And when the site is native and addresses the local issues, the user experience becomes even better.
Localization can help to conquer even the most challenging markets
That was the case of McDonald’s entering the Indian market. They not only translated the menu but also adjusted it to the realities of a culture where a Big Mac beef burger wouldn’t be able to become a bestseller. They introduced new menu items like Maharajah Mac and some Indian-inspired street food which encouraged the locals to engage with their restaurant. And in terms of website content localization, McDonald’s site design and content are different in various regions depending on the most popular menu items and cultural features.
It’s a deep and effective localization strategy paying attention not only to the translations but also to the country’s cultural, behavior, and nutrition preferences.
Ultimately, a professionally done content localization strategy increases ROI and conversions, makes a website stand out from the crowd of only-English sites, and helps companies grow.
How to create the right Content Localization Strategy?
The first step is to select your target markets and languages for your content localization. Do a benchmarking to understand what markets your competitors are in and then choose the potential top-performing markets for your product.
Next, identify all the content for localization. It’s a good idea to start with website localization and then move forward as your business grows.
If you don’t have your own in-house localization team, you can always work with professional agencies who specialize in translation and localization services. An agency can help you set up a continuous localization process for frequent content updates independent of what you want to localize — be it a mobile app or a website. Of course, you can choose freelancers to translate the content needed. However, if you are looking to localize your content into 30 languages, it will be a challenge to find 30 professional translators with the knowledge of your subject and ensure translation consistency across all the languages. Add to that that the process of localization with all the communication, edits, uploading, and downloading might become a real headache. That’s why working with a website localization agency might be efficient — an agency won’t let you get lost in hundreds of unnecessary processes.
Websites aren’t the only thing you may want to localize. You can create separate social media accounts for different regions as Uber did. For example, Uber has different Instagram accounts for Australia, India, and Russia. That’s great since social media is a perfect choice for gathering user feedback, which is a goldmine when entering a new market.
Think about the appropriate technical details on your website. Don’t forget to take into account the writing system that your target locale has. For example, in Chinese or Japanese, a long sentence can be expressed with just one symbol. And so texts in different languages must fit all the corresponding UI-elements, blocks, and forms. Those fixes are time- and cost-consuming (because they often involve redesign), and are better to take into account beforehand.
The color scheme is also important if you don’t want to conflict with any cultural peculiarities. Besides, consider the metric system and currency used in the region you want to enter. Another thing to be mindful of is dates and times as their formats differ from region to region.
Sometimes businesses forget about one of the most important steps — SEO optimization. It’s not enough to localize your website, you need to optimize it for local search engines. Don’t forget to optimize titles, headings, and meta descriptions in the local language, as well as keywords that will be used by customers in the target region.
Another important step is to choose an appropriate tool for localization. Today, there are dozens of LMS (localization management systems) and TMS (translation management systems) that help to project-manage the localization of your products within one platform, without using additional tools. Great tools and localization platforms will offer you the possibility to seamlessly manage your team and make communication smooth and simple.
For example, Crowdin allows translators to get access to the latest content, and then the completed translations are deployed automatically. The glossaries make it possible to follow the context and always maintain your brand’s voice.
After the translation is done, localization QA and linguistic testing of your website is a must to make sure that everything is translated and different versions of the website function correctly. The problems with the texts usually can be seen only when the translated content is added to the website. For example, localization testing helped Alconost to get rid of “long strings” that didn’t fit into the allocated UI-elements and make the Jooble website look nice in various languages.
These are the main, most essential steps involved in the content localization process.
As you can see, localization gives your business a lot of benefits like increased conversions and website traffic. It also opens up the borders of new markets. However, to get all these benefits, you need to make a content localization strategy an integral part of your overall marketing and product development strategy. Don’t think about website localization as an additional backlog task. Make it one of your marketing priorities and you will enjoy the fruits of your localization activities.
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