Localization: Best Practices, Challenges, and More!
Website Design & User Experience, Web Content Management, Websites, Content Marketing
What is localization?
Localization simply means to present your business to local customers in their localized language so that they can easily understand and make a purchase from your business. It is very different from just translating a website’s text-based areas in a language that the local people understand. Rather, it is the process in which the entire website is altered and made linguistically and culturally relevant.
Why is localization important?
Localization is important because it benefits your business in a number of ways including providing key values like customer satisfaction and improving customer relations. Besides these, localization also helps to:
- Expand your business- It can certainly lead to business expansion as it directly targets the local market domains and population by being culturally relevant.
- Cater to local customers- Local customers are best catered to when they are offered products and services in their local backdrop.
- Cut-down risks- Localization cuts down market risks in the target domain. Factors like analyzing the highest traffic areas and providing localized solutions with accuracy help reduce market risks to a great extent.
- Improve customer satisfaction– Due to its local connect, it can lead to effective customer satisfaction and healthy customer relations.
- Increase market effectiveness- Being able to provide excellent localized solutions to the customers is one of the determining factors for a business’s market effectiveness.
- Reduce costs– Over and above, localization can lead to cost-cutting if planned and executed effectively.
Services: What localization needs
Successful localized solutions require prompt services, which are summarized below:
- Translation- It enlists direct translation mechanisms from one language to another. However sometimes, direct translation can lead to wrong information. To avoid this, you would have to explore the trans-creation service.
- Trans-creation- It is the process of indirect translation, which emphasizes on translating the information without changing its original meaning and context. Trans-creation often needs linguistic experts to review the translated information. This is more of a manual effort rather than an automated one.
- In-country review– It is important to have a final review of the localized content by an in-country linguistic expert so that the original information and cultural context of the translated text is maintained. This helps retain the local flavor in the content and keeps it current as well.
These are some of the significant services you would require; depending on the instance, you may have to explore a few additional ones as well.
Localization usually requires a number of steps to translate the content such as preparing the content, translating and integrating it, reviewing the final localized content, and publishing the website at the end. The same has been graphically highlighted below:
Source: Sitecore Community
Source: Sitecore Community
Mechanisms for Localization:
Translating through CMS
Out of the many that are available, only a select few CMSs are designed to offer multilingual content and Sitecore successfully delivers the demand. However, a translator is required to manage and translate the content.
Using Typical LSP Process
Localization through a Language Service Provider (LSP) is one of the many mechanisms employed for the process. A typical LSP process includes the following steps:
- Translation Memory
- Machine Translation
- Translation and Review
Translation proxy enables translation services in real-time. It is an automated process that resides on the top of the original website. In the event a foreign visitor lands on the site, the Translation Proxy will fetch the original content from the server and translate the content in real-time. This is done as per the uploaded Translation Memory.
Localization: Issues and challenges
- Time consumingTo follow the entire process, it can be a time-consuming and tedious effort; yet, it is important for the successful delivery of localized business.
- Context- It is important that the context of content be maintained throughout the translation process. This can sometimes be challenging nonetheless.
- Layout- The layout for the localized website has to be maintained in the best-matched ways so that the cultural context of the localized content is not impacted along with maintaining the business standards. This is yet another challenge that businesses may face.
- Translatable - The whole content should be translatable for a complete localized solution. Doing it in bits and pieces may defeat the purpose.
Best Practices for localization
- Use layout options - The layout should be flexible enough to accommodate all language variants. Consider different layout options for different languages so that the website looks good in all language variants.
- Avoid embedded text in pictures- Embedding text in pictures can be a challenge while maintaining a multi-lingual website. Also, it is expensive and requires a graphic designer to ensure that the images do not distort after the text is added.
- Think about variables- Separate variables from the fixed text or content. This will reduce the risk factors for other language variants.
- Think about pivot- A direct translation from one localized language to another can be a risky as well as a challenging task thus requiring a high level of expertise. Instead, try setting a pivot language, which can work as an intermediate language. For example, the content can first be translated from language ‘A’ to ‘English (Pivot Language)’ and then from the pivot language to localized language ‘B’.
- Use fallback language- A default fallback language should be available for every language variant to avoid or minimize risks.
- Review & approve content– The content should be reviewed and approved before translating.
- Validate quality of translated content– The translated content should be validated for its quality even after the validation of the original content.
- Update LSP with changes- LSP should be in sync with each change that is performed.
By being aware of the challenges and benefits accompanying website localization, you can be in a better position to explore it. Allow your business to enjoy the benefits post localization; address the challenges and reduce the risks for a hassle-free localization process.