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Website Localization As A Powerful SEO And Marketing Tool

For the recent years web based technologies have changed drastically. Today we have all the opportunities to launch online business and to sell worldwide. But to do that we need to adapt for international markets. And that is the point where question of localization arises.

Website localization is a function of the international marketing strategy

Up to 95% of the online content that companies generate is available in only one language [Microsoft]. The reason for this is that website localization, especially beyond the home page, is a costly affair, but it is also a powerful marketing tool. To localize or not, what to localize and how, why localize — these are questions we are going to answer today.

What Is Localization?

Localization is adaptation of a product to a particular locale. A locale refers to a group of people who share a language, a writing system and other properties which may require a separate version of a product. This could be a region, a country, or just a language community.

Localization is adaptation of a product to local language and culture in the target market.

The goal of localization is to adapt a product into a different linguistic and cultural context— involving much more than the simple translation of text. Thus localization is a much more complex phenomenon than a mere translation.

To Localize Or Not To Localize

When you localize or translate the contents of your website into other languages, you have a better chance for seizing a bigger market share, and reaching more communities.

The following list of questions may help you to decide whether you need to localize your website and product and what are the benefits:

  • Does the new market need your products or services?
  • Are your products affordable for that market?
  • How can consumers pay?
  • Product delivery?
  • What about customer and product support?
  • Cost of website localization?
  • Cost of website maintenance?
  • Any legal or regulatory issues?

What And How To Localize

Websites contains different types of digital assets which include texts, pictures, multimedia (audio, video, application assets). And they all need to appeal to the target culture.

The process of website localization is complex and involves three levels of adaptation.

#1 Translation

First of all, any text should be translated into the language of the target region. It is important that the result of translation should be clear and understandable to avoid cultural misunderstanding or offense. In order to avoid any misconceptions, the target culture must be known.

#2 Actual Localization

This step involves all other efforts and activities to ensure that the adaptation of textual materials, visuals, illustrations and graphics are linguistically and culturally appropriate for the target locale. Among the many technical elements which can be localized are: date and time formats, currency formats, number formats, address and telephone number formats, units of measure and others.

#3 Internationalization

This last step involves making sure that the software being used is fully compatible with the technology of the country in question.

Thus there are two important considerations to keep in mind during the process of website localization:

  1. Demands of the user. Users in the target locale want to be able to read and understand the pages in a way that makes sense to them;
  2. Goals of the client, whether an institution, government or individual.

Have you ever localized a website? What difficulties did you meet? Was the localized version successful in the target market? Share in the comments!

Have a nice day!