Growing your business by going international is an age old, not so well kept secret. However, website localization entails way more than simply translating a bunch of texts.
You can definitely upload all your content into Google Translate, and produce a 40+ language website in a matter of hours, however, if you want high-quality translations, search engine optimization (SEO) and most importantly, brand consistency, you might want to invest some more time and energy.
Depending on the size and nature of your business, the localization process can be complicated and quite confusing. The key to success is appropriate planning. Below are the essential steps and considerations to start with:
Number of languages
Firstly, you need to decide which languages and how many you want to translate into. This should definitely be a data-driven call. Using analytics tools such as Google Analytics can provide you with the right insights. It makes no sense to invest localizing into a language that brings no business.
Copywriting and style guides
Once you selected the languages, but before you actually start the localization process, it is advised to ensure that the source text (most cases English) is on spot, and easy to translate. Hiring an in-house copywriter, or using copywriting services is essential. It is clearly beneficial for your English speaking market too.
It is also essential to create style guides, to ensure that the message you want to convey is consistent across all languages. This should include, among others, the tone of voice of the website, the target audience and basic glossary items, i.e. what needs to be localized and what not; for example, the name of the company or product names, etc.
The localized text should look as good in design as the source text. Some languages need way more space to convey the same message, not to mention the challenges that come with languages using non-Latin alphabets. The user experience should be great across all markets and languages.
Creating SEO friendly source text is definitely not black magic, and the same can be done in the localized version of your website. Make sure to spend some time and energy on researching relevant keywords in all languages. There are some great language specialists with relevant SEO experience out there.
Depending on the amount of content that gets translated, you also need to consider having an efficient, optimized workflow. In some cases, a more manual method of passing files via email might work. However, increased volumes require smarter solutions. Look into connecting to a translation API to ensure a streamlined workflow. Try different approaches and methods, until you find what is best for your content needs.
Website localization is by no means an easy process, but it definitely is essential to go truly global, and grow your business. Still not sure where or how to start? Make use of Webzlab.com’s professional content consultancy services.