Five tips for successful website localisation

Website localisation is not just about translating your existing website into a different language, it’s also about ensuring that all online content is right for the local market. This includes everything from tone of voice and image content, to even whether your brand name or product names are appropriate in a particular country. Get it wrong and you could scupper your chances of breaking into a new market. Get it right and your new audience will love that you have invested the time and effort to, quite literally, “speak their language”.

This is not only relevant to those businesses who need a website translated from one language to another, but also companies operating in different parts of the world sharing a common language. Differences in spelling and the use of particular words account for some of the changes a website might require, but just as importantly are cultural differences. Here we get into a complex world of colloquialisms, expressions, cultural values and distinctions that covers not only the written content of a website, but also the use of imagery, colour, symbols and tone.

You must also consider how to manage any website translation and localisation project: how will you manage the workflow, does your CMS integrate with translation management tools? You can find out more about website translation and CMS integration here.

So, here are our top five tips for localising your website, ensuring it’s culturally appropriate as well as accurately translated:

  1. Local market research: Naturally, you’ll be researching local markets to test whether your brand or product is right for the region. As part of this process you should also be assessing whether you have a need for localisation, and to what extent. Use market research to evaluate your existing site and get a better understanding of the challenges you may face.
  2. Set up a microsite to test the market: Before launching an all-singing, all-dancing website in a new market, consider testing the waters first with a microsite or landing page. Using the data you glean, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on how (or whether) to move forward with your website localisation plans.
  3. Get expert help: You may watch enough Hollywood films to feel like you have a real understanding of how to relate to a US audience, but is this enough to effectively localise your site for this market? If you need marketing translation services, getting an experienced linguist on board is essential, so too is having the expertise of someone with an in depth knowledge of marketing in a specific region.
  4. Integrate SEO into your localisation plan: SEO research for a local market is a key part of any website localisation project, as you’ll be able to get a better understanding of popular search terms and keyword variants. Of course, putting SEO into place from the offset will also save you time and money in the long term, as well as delivering results quicker once your localised website is launched.
  5. It’s all in the detail: The aim of website localisation is to create a site that looks like it was produced locally. Therefore every detail counts, from the way dates and times are displayed (June 19, 2014 or 19 June 2014?); formatting of currency and phone numbers; use of colours and symbols; references to locally relevant facts, geographic features, landmarks etc.; national holidays and so on.

The Internet is a great tool to help companies expand into new markets around the world, but to be successful you must fully embrace website localisation. Comtec has extensive experience in website translation and localisation, so if you need help launching your website for new markets get in touch by calling + 44 (0) 1926 335 681 or by emailing We’re always happy to answer your questions or have a chat about the processes involved.

You may also like to read: Speaking the right language online to grow sales

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