Successful Website Localization – Interview with Andrea Barp

Website localization can make the difference between global success and failure. Get it right and new revenue streams will rapidly open up in new markets. Get it wrong and you risk harming your brand and losing customers. Andrea Barp is Translation Director at  Adapt Worldwide, a Welocalize Multilingual Digital Marketing Agency and is actively involved in some of Welocalize’s leading web localization projects. In this special Welocalize interview, Andrea shares expert insights and experience into what makes a web localization project successful.

How are you involved in website localization projects?

We have many clients and leading global brands who engage customers online, to sell products and services online and have websites that need to be in multiple languages to reach audiences in countries all over the world. They want a localization solution for their web and e-commerce content that effectively markets their products and is also efficient and cost-effective. We help them achieve that.

How do you achieve efficiency when working with so many languages and different content types?

There are many factors to take into account, from project management to team selection and quality program, but also technology and integration of systems plays a major role. It is important to connect the content management systems (CMS) with the translation management system (TMS) to efficiently manage the translation flow of content. If content is automatically pushed from the CMS to the TMS (and back to the CMS when translated), this lends itself to reduced turnaround times (TATs), the freeing up of internal capacity and the elimination of manual, repetitive, error-prone copy and paste tasks. For many clients we have developed or supported integrations to streamline the end-to-end translation lifecycle.

There a many different types of content on websites. Do you have a different approach for each type of content?

Our approach depends on each website and what the client is marketing and selling. Where there is call-to-action or marketing and promotional copy, this type of content is more suited to transcreation work, which culturally adapts the source content rather than directly translating it. For more informative content, such as terms and conditions and user instructions on how to fill your shopping cart, where accuracy of information is priority, translation is suitable. Most websites require a combination of translation and transcreation, depending on the subject area and where the content is displayed on the website.

What is fundamental to a successful website localization project?

It’s important both on the client and vendor side to get the right teams involved that understand how the website works. For example, starting from the initial engagement, often localization providers are being asked to provide a quick “ballpark” website localization quote by simply analyzing all the HTML pages of the entire site. Depending on the size of the site, this tends to yield very high word counts and can be quite misleading for customers. A lot of website content is often repeated and some content may not even be visible to customers. Some sections, such as blogs, may not be applicable to all markets. Such content doesn’t need to be included in the scope of the website localization. The best approach is to get the key stakeholders involved, who understand the scope of the project, including the CMS expert. This way, it’s possible to have a more accurate idea of the content in scope, improve the accuracy of the quote, streamline production and ultimately serve the customer better.

A lot of websites and e-commerce sites are image-heavy. How does this affect localization?

Many of our clients’ sites have low word counts and a high number of images. If you’re localizing a retail operation into 50 languages, some images will not be suitable for all cultural markets. For many projects, heavy image localization has to take place which can involve engaging more DTP expertise than translators.

What is your best piece of advice for anyone embarking on a website localization project?

To get the best results, combine SEO best practices and website localization best practices. For example, when localizing a site into 50 languages if you take into account SEO best practices, the website will be more visible, and your ROI more optimized.

Based in London, Andrea Barp is Translation Director at Adapt Worldwide, a Welocalize Multilingual Digital Marketing Agency. For more information on Adapt Worldwide and Welocalize’s digital marketing services, click here.

Interview conducted by Louise Law, Welocalize Global Communications Manager