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May 26, 2021 | Uncategorized

The Importance of Localization for Global Companies

In an increasingly globalized world, it’s impossible to ignore the importance of localization. Your customers deserve to receive the same high-quality products or services no matter where they live. If you’re failing to translate and localize your offering to meet the needs of a local audience, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.

You’re also limiting your reach by failing to maximize on market opportunities and deliver a global brand with a localized flavor. A brand that can be loved by people in all corners of the world with different cultures, tastes, backgrounds, and preferences.

But, before you get started, be sure to keep these key considerations in mind about localization. They can save you a lot of time and resources and make your localization process run more smoothly and efficiently. 

Know the Difference Between Localization and Translation 

Translation and localization are two different things. Beyond the actual words, localization is an entire process that takes into account many different factors including images, colors, units of measurement, colloquialisms, culture, and buying preferences. In fact, translating your content and web copy is only a small part of the localization process.

Using localization techniques, you change the look and feel of your website, app, or marketing materials. This ensures that your target audience feels as if they’re buying a product that was made specifically for them—not a watered-down translated version.

And beyond appealing to a human public, you’ll also need developers to make important changes to your code, design assets, layout, and any other elements that will be taken into account by local search engines to ensure your content appears.

Don’t Cut Corners in the Localization Process

For global companies looking to compete in more than one market, it’s essential that you follow a localization process. Never cut corners by relying on machine translators like Google Translate or by failing to research your local audiences. 

Just consider how much marketing efforts you have channeled into reaching your customers at home. Your foreign clients shouldn’t be treated any differently. Gathering local market data is essential in understanding which languages and markets you should localize for first. No campaign kicks off with all the languages of the world at once.

You should pick the place that you receive the most traffic from first or register the highest percentage of sales and then branch out from there. When you begin your local market research, make sure that you understand what you’re trying to achieve and ask yourself a few important questions.

Do local customers have the same problems and pain points as your existing customers? If you’re based in the northern hemisphere, for example, will your winter promotions resonate with people living in warmer climes? How does the local culture affect perceptions of your products? A Muslim country, for example, where views are more conservative, may not be interested in your revealing product line of female clothing.

It’s also important that you understand who your competitors are in local markets and what products are already being used in your niche. What’s popular in your target market and why do your potential customers like it? How can you adapt your products or tailor your messaging to produce the same results?

Internationalize Your Website

Before you can start your localization campaign, you need to internationalize your website. This is a process that must be done in order to make localizing for multiple languages smoother and faster. It allows for multiple characters and codes so that your website design won’t break when you introduce different alphabets and styles.

Website internationalization focuses on design and development. This is where it pays to work with a trusted language services provider with developers in-house who can guide you at every step of the process and make the technical changes needed for your website before you can localize it into different languages. 

Localize All Your Pages

It can be tempting to consider only localizing the main pages that your audience will interact with. But this can be a big mistake. Sure, you might save yourself some initial investment but the cost of losing customers will be far greater in the end.

Imagine visiting a website yourself and reading an attractive text with an appealing image. You then click on the CTA. Suddenly you’re directed to a page that’s in a different language with a completely different look and feel. Would you continue your purchase?

The answer is probably not—and neither will your customers. Just because they are not at the start of the user journey doesn’t make inner pages any less important, especially when it comes to any information related to technical specifications or prices. 

A half-translated website will make your brand look cheap and reduce customer trust. It can even create confusion and cause users to take the wrong action, which will ultimately reduce your chances of conversion.

Consider SEO from the Start

Your texts should be localized with your SEO keywords in mind, not inserted as an afterthought. Once you have conducted your local market research and begun internationalizing your site, you should conduct keyword research for the region you plan to launch in. These can then be handed to your localization team to use when they translate your content.

Localization technicians will be able to set your website up so that it handles new pages as translations with specific tags that help search engines find your information quickly and easily. Your translation and localization agency will also handle other SEO requirements such as metadata, H2 titles, and image tags.

Final Thoughts

The importance of localization cannot be underestimated and neither can following a localization process to maximize results. If you keep in mind these key considerations and place yourself in your customers’ shoes, you’ll have greater chances of converting an international audience and setting yourself up for success.