How to Make Sure That Your Website Is Ready for Localization?

There is no doubt that English is the most popular and most used language on the Internet — 25.9% of worldwide internet users speak English. But have you ever thought that it is Asia, the region that became leading in the number of global internet users? As of March 2021, the number of users in Asia is estimated at 2.7 billion.


Even though the English language is the most widespread on the Internet, users still prefer to surf the Internet in their native language. English is not the native language for Asian internet users, for example. Thus, website localization services are of high priority for those businesses that want to get loyal customers outside the English-speaking audience.

But what do you need to consider before localizing a website? What are the essential details without which the localization process will not happen? What challenges do companies meet when they start using website localization services?

We have prepared some tips (and challenges that you might meet) that will be useful to ensure that your website is ready for localization. Let’s start!

What Is Website Localization?

In terms of definition, website localization is adapting the existing website to new markets, foreign languages, and other cultural contexts.

It is worth remembering that localization is much more than translation. The changes should reflect a new target market’s specific linguistic and cultural preferences, design, and visual adaptation.

The goal is to make a website look native and local for a new market. Top-notch website localization is not a piece of cake: it requires the entire team’s active participation and coordinated work. However, going for professional website localization services will ease your journey of entering new markets.

Things to Remember Before Localizing a Website

1. Identify Your Target Audiences and Languages

One of the first things companies should do before localizing websites for new markets is to choose relevant ones.

You can set ads in your potential markets and then compare CTR or ROI (that you might get if you really sell the product). The numbers will show you the complete picture, and you will be able to base your decision on pure analytics and proven data.

You need to measure the interest specifically in your product. For example, Asia is a huge market, but if you are selling, let’s say, snowboards, probably it is not the best market for you.

Also, think about competition, clients’ buying preferences, and whether buyers can afford your products or services. Conduct research helping you identify your international buyer personas — this will help avoid localization for useless regions for your business.

2. Keyword Research Is Essential

SEO is one of the most important terms you should know when dealing with websites. SEO, short for search engine optimization, helps increase a website’s visibility and, in general, makes it possible to find websites in the search engines.

The first task is to find keywords for your new target markets. When localizing, you should remember that people do not use the exact words in different countries to search for the same products or services.

Moreover, keep in mind that not everyone uses Google to find your website. For instance, Yandex is the most popular search engine in Russia. Thus, if you plan to enter the Russian market, you need to find competitive keywords used in Yandex, not Google.


3. Design Website Thinking About Localization

As we mentioned before, localization is not about mere translation. You should design websites keeping in mind possible future localizations.

Some languages have longer words, like German or Russian. Thus, the buttons for them should be more spacious. Also, Arabic localization requires you to mirror your website as it should read from right to left. Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages are likely to cause vertical text expansion.

Try to localize your website as early as you design the website — do not wait until the last moment.

4. Website Internationalization

Internationalization is another term that might frustrate you. However, it is not rocket science. Internationalization (or i18n) ensures your website’s architecture is created in a way to handle different languages.

Localization and internationalization are complementary and inseparable processes. During i18n localization, teams create placeholder keys to not hardcore languages but to automatically retrieve foreign languages when needed. Also, internationalization enables cultural formatting, including number and currency formats, time zones, size standards, address formats, etc.

One more essential element: your website should be enabled to support Unicode to correctly display certain symbols in alphabets with non-ASCII characters, such as Chinese and Japanese.

Internationalization gives companies flexibility and agility if new changes in content occur.

5. Create Brand Book

Website is not the only asset you have to present your services or products. It is crucial to create your unique voice and tone to remind people of your brand. Your brand voice should make your product instantly recognizable at any location. However, you should adapt your messages and visuals for every new market.

One of the companies that have an excellent localization strategy is Nike. The company personalizes websites according to regions’ sports interests and adapts visuals to make them look local. There is no need to start localization from scratch: you just need to adapt it to the foreign market’s main message.


Source: Nike Websites in China and Brazil

Remember that you need to localize not only texts but also visuals and make them look native to your new audiences.

6. Choose Localization Team

To make localization effective, you need to choose the best localization team. It is better to go for localization agencies with vast experience in localizing websites in different domains. Localizers must use instruments like term glossaries, translation memories, CAT, and quality assurance tools to make the localization process fast, flexible, and agile.

Final thought

Localization itself is a continuous and long process, but you need to do your pre-localization homework before it starts. These steps and possible challenges mentioned above should help you set up a seamless and optimal website localization process for your business.