The Key Steps to Good Website Localisation
As a business, the primary purpose of your website is to provide visitors with a clear, engaging overview of your products and services. Prospective customers should be able to easily understand what it is that you offer, and why your services are suited to their needs. Above all, a sense of trust should be built between your brand and your target audience.
Of course, there is no one-size-fits all solution when targeting international audiences. Instead, your approach must be tailored, considering the unique requirements of individuals based on location, language and demographic. This is made possible through high-quality content and effective website localisation.
What Does It Mean To Localise A Site?
When we discuss localisation, we are referring to the process of optimising a website’s content based on specific cultural and linguistic differences. In other words, re-working content to ensure it is as accessible as possible for those viewing in different parts of the world.
We’ll explore this in further detail shortly, but effective localisation usually consists of:
- Translating Content – Web copy, site headings, marketing materials and blogs should take regional dialects and cultural nuances into account.
- Transactional Elements – Currency, payment methods, address formatting and invoicing options should be specific to the location of browsing. This ensures that customers feel comfortable making purchases whilst avoiding conversion errors.
- Contact Information – Crucially, contact details and customer support information should be specific to the region or area from which site visitors are browsing.
- Visual Optimisation – Images, colour palettes and visual design all play an important role in communication. Often, these need to be adapted based on location to ensure they are relatable and clear.
Why Is Website Localisation Important?
The importance of website localisation should not be underestimated; for businesses operating in competitive environments, it exists as an opportunity to stand out against the competition and strengthen customer relationships. Not only does website localisation ensure your content is accessible to non-English speaking page visitors, it demonstrates an element of cultural understanding, bridging the gap between your brand, and its global customer base.
From a practical perspective, website localisation widens your reach as a business or brand, increasing the potential for organic search traffic and strengthening your online strategy. Numbers aside, it shows that you have considered the individual requirements of the customers you are marketing to.
How Do I Localise My Site?
Typically, localisation involves optimising pre-existing web content. The extent to which this content will need to be adapted will vary on a case by case basis, though it will almost always involve translation, image optimisation and certain structural adjustments. Below, we’ll explore the fundamentals of website localisation and the ways in which these changes can be implemented.
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, language localisation is crucial. This involves the translation of all website content to alternative dialects, taking into account cultural nuances as well as regional differences. Whereas basic translation services focus on the replication of content, verbatim, high-quality language localisation considers instances in which meaning or context may be lost, optimising copy so that it best conveys your company’s intentions. This might involve changing idioms, references or humour that might not resonate with the target culture.
Research has shown that effective content localisation can significantly boost user engagement. That said, it requires a thorough understanding of languages and cultures. To achieve outstanding results, native-speaking translation services are essential.
As touched upon previously. Localisation of website images involves adapting visual content to suit the cultural and linguistic preferences of different target audiences. This process ensures that images resonate with local users, avoid cultural misunderstandings and enhance the overall user experience.
For example, different cultures may have varying interpretations of symbols, colours, gestures and visual elements. Research is crucial to avoid using images that might be offensive, confusing, or inappropriate in the local context.
Additionally, visual elements are often adapted to reflect local customs, traditions and preferences. This could include clothing styles, gestures, or even the portrayal of everyday objects.
Navigation And Structure
Localising web content, images and marketing materials will, more often than not, affect the structure and layout of a site. Therefore, the necessary changes should be made to accommodate this optimisation. Properly implemented website localisation will account for text-based elements such as headlines, paragraphs and editorial formatting, as well as navigational features such as buttons, menus and carousels.
As is the case with translation and image adaptation, localising a site’s structure aims to make it accessible to specific target audiences. Optimising UI elements such as buttons, labels, tooltips, and error messages will ensure that the user interactions and prompts are clear and intuitive.
Localisation Done Right
Effective localisation exists as an accumulation of multiple optimised elements. Central to this process, however, is expert translation. Adjusting your website’s content and assets in accordance with local dialects, cultures and traditions facilitates meaningful relationships with customers in different regions of the world. Moreover, it demonstrates an awareness and sensitivity towards your target audiences and their diversities.
Here at Brightlines, our localisation services are designed to fine tune your business’ web content and branding materials. Our industry-specific translators possess working knowledge across a variety of sectors, offering an understanding of linguistic nuance and cultural sensitivity that is second to none.