If you are thinking of website localisation there are going to be a few changes required to the architecture of your site so the relevant information is displayed for each user. The benefit of doing this while dealing with localised versions of English is that you are not implementing these changes while dealing with content that you probably don’t understand and once it’s done for one language; your site is multilingual future proof.
In this blog, you will learn:
So, if the Internet has drastically lowered the barriers to entry to international trade, why are so many businesses failing to communicate internationally?. No matter what language your website is in, you will find that you attract traffic from across the globe.
how many more over-seas conversions would you gain if your website was tailored to the customer’s expectations?.
By localising just a few of your webpages, you can demonstrate serious intentions in the country you are targeting. Website localisation is not limited to translating text into the markets’ relevant languages, you could initiate your expansion plans by targeting English speakers across the globe, rather than the initial worry about producing content in a language that you can neither produce nor proofread yourself, there is another option to kick-start your plans for growth.
Here are 5 simple steps that will help you to effectively localise your website in English-speaking countries first, before you go on to expand into other languages.
Before you begin to localise your website around the world, it is important to conduct a bit of market research into the countries where your potential customers are located. Although customers may share the same language, this doesn’t mean that a one-size-fits-all website will suffice.
Where a user lives does not necessarily determine their native language. For instance, there are large expat communities in many countries such as Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Germany and Monaco.
It is better to provide a deeper and richer local experience in a few well-selected markets, rather than spreading yourself too thinly around the world.
Consumer habits may vary widely across English-speaking countries, and therefore website localisation entails adapting products and services for a particular market. It is essential that you customise your offerings to make it appeal to a different audience.
A localised website shows appreciation and respect towards the country in question, and conveys that you are interested in your customers and their respective cultures.
It is therefore a good idea to focus on core products and services, and localise the best-sellers first. Are all of your products going to be available in all countries for example? In the case of pharmaceutical or nutritional sites, there might be ingredients in some products that are banned in other countries. If so, you need to develop collateral omitting those products to avoid causing customer disappointment.
Website users in different countries may have different online payment preferences too. For instance, PayPal is favoured in the UK, whereas iDeal is the preferred method of payment in the Netherlands, while users in China prefer Alipay. If you don’t offer local payment methods on your site, then you’re going to lose sales to your competitors.
It is also important to make sure that your pricing is competitive. You don’t want all of your hard work to go to waste just because you’ve priced yourself out of the market. If you choose to offer international shipping, it is important that you have clear pricing which includes the cost of shipping, and any charges associated with export duties or other taxes.
Optimal localisation will account for the nuances and expectations of the local market. What if you were to create the illusion that your business was in the same country as your buyer? Even if your buyer is savvy enough to realise that this is not the case, who’s to say that they won’t buy your products regardless; because you’ve gone the extra mile to present information to them in a format that they can connect with?
Why not simply present the information on your website so that it looks local? Convert and display your prices in local currencies. Localise your telephone numbers, domains and email addresses. Displaying dates and times in the preferred local format is also recommended, as it avoids confusion and allows for an improved user experience. An obvious example of this is the difference between UK and US date formats. If your site promises to deliver on 04/08/14 then UK users would expect this to be 04 August, while American users would think that the delivery date is 08 April.
There are also differences in spelling and language between the US and UK, so whilst a UK site may refer to ‘jumpers’ in one of their sections, in the US this would be renamed to ‘sweaters’. Make sure you localise, or localize…as the case may be!
Depending on the nature of your product you either want to inspire such a positive user experience that they are a customer for life, or at least hope that they will be happy to provide you with a case study or testimonial. There is rarely a finer accolade for your business than a glowing review or testimonial, but try and display those that are relevant to those regions. If all your testimonials are from people in Australia, this might not inspire buyers in the UK, or vice versa.
Another consideration is your after-sales care; do you need representatives to be available over a more diverse range of time zones?. Do you need to localise the content of your automated emails, invoices or receipts for example?.
As you would with your UK site, it is important to measure results and visitor statistics. There is no point going to the effort of localising your site if you are unaware of the return on investment for doing this. Free programmes such as Google Analytics provide your company with access to enormous levels of data on website performance, but the challenge is knowing what to do with the information.
The great thing about Google Analytics is that there is a vast amount of resources available on the Internet to help users quickly make sense of the data which can influence your expansion plans.
The key to website localisation is knowing your market, and understanding the people within your market.
The 5 steps above should get you on your way to effective localisation, before you decide to branch out into other languages. Localisation is an art of nuance, a professional LSP works with expert linguists who are familiar with such nuanced differences between countries, and can help you to successfully market products and services to a range of audiences, irrespective of the industry or country.