It’s not even up for debate: your website is your main marketing tool and its content says everything about your business, your services and your values.
In the global marketplace it is no longer enough to simply have your website in your business’s native tongue; you need to speak the language of your consumer. Over 70% of consumers are more likely to buy a product or service when the information is in their own language, and over 50% of consumers said that being able to access information in their own language was more important than price!
To ensure that your website is localised effectively there are some aspects that you need to consider from the start, before you even get to the translation stage. When developing your website it is important to ‘internationalise’ it. Internationalisation is the process of creating your website in a ‘culture-neutral’ way. The aim of internationalisation is to allow your website to be localised in a variety of languages and cultures, rather than having an inherent culture from its creation.
To internationalise your website you should consider the following three aspects:
1/ Text expansion/contraction between different languages:
Written English often takes up less space than other languages, which means that you need to consider the space on your website and where the content will be placed. Allowing the linguist to be creative and have the freedom to get your message across in the right way can be the difference between a successful website and one that doesn’t engage the customer.
2/ Character Encoding
Not all languages use the same alphabet and this needs to be considered, to ensure that your website can handle multiple character types. For example Arabic, Japanese and Hebrew all use different character sets, so if your website cannot handle the different characters required then this may compromise the localisation of the content. Unicode is the standard character encoding software in use to combat this issue.
3/ Cultural Design
On your website it isn’t just the words that speak to your clients; the colours, images and graphic design all have an impact on the consumer experience. This needs to be taken into account when localising your website for a new target market, as the same content – just in a different language – may send the wrong message. For example, Western culture often associates the colour white with purity, whereas in the Chinese culture the same colour is generally associated with death or mourning.
If localisation is done properly, your website should appear as if it had been created in-country for the target market. You can achieve this by following these three simple steps to ensure you internationalise your website when developing it in the first place.
If you are looking to localise your website and want some expert advice then contact the Ubiqus Translation team who will be able to talk you through the process on 0207 269 0370.