Translating a website is not just about transferring content from one language into another. To achieve the most effective translation possible, it needs to be localized for the target market. We take a closer look at website localization.
A website must be adapted in terms of both content and other elements of the site, such as the basket and other practical items. The aim: to preserve the soul of the original site while making navigation intuitive and attractive in the target language(s).
Localizing website content
The first step in website localization is content adaptation or, in other words, adjusting the translation so that it takes into account the customs and culture of the target market. Translation becomes adaptation when a real re-writing process takes place, which takes into account the language habits, level of education, traditions, values, beliefs and all other idiosyncrasies of the target country.
The extent to which content needs to be adapted depends on the language. For example, there are more differences between Chinese and British culture than between German and British culture. Nonetheless, regardless of the size of this “cultural gap”, adapting content is a key process to create a sense of trust among your target audience.
This content localization process must be carried out by a translator who is a native speaker of the target language. They know the culture and specificities of the target market better than anyone and will be able to able to bring you closer to your future customers.
Localizing all elements of your website
Once the content is localized, other elements of the website that might vary according to the country must be adapted.
- Images and design: the graphics and ergonomics must be harmonized so that your new customers feel at home on your site
- Logistics: it is important to choose local, recognized carriers in the target country – perhaps European or international companies
- Currencies and payment methods: customers must be able to pay in their country’s currency and with the payment methods they usually use (VISA, PayPal, etc.)
- Hosting and domain name: translating the name of your website and hosting it locally is a key stage in the localization process and will improve your SEO
Localizing all these elements will make your new customers feel like they are browsing a local site.