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Four Tips to Successful Localization for Global Travel Brands

The online travel and hospitality industry is highly competitive and there is an imperative need for compelling content to reach international audiences, using the latest digital technologies and platforms. Global travel brands need to rely on a robust, scalable, cost-effective, quality-driven and worry-free globalization and localization services. Once this has been established, clients can focus their attention on succeeding in a crowded market and focus on what’s coming up next in this ever-evolving industry.

Understanding a client’s travel brand and product range is of utmost importance. Translators need to translate linguistically and culturally adapt content and adopt the appropriate tone of voice. This ensures the right message reaches and engages the target audience, whether the audience is business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C).

Providing on-demand and rapid turnaround of translations is key for Welocalize clients in this sector, so that regular content and marketing updates reach international audiences as quickly as possible.

Regardless of industry sector, the key to a successful localization solution is partnership. By forging a trusted relationship between client and vendor, brands can build a mature localization model, transparent to all parties, which is driven by the top business objectives and priorities.

A true example of a successful localization partnership is Welocalize’s relationship with low-cost airline, Wizz Air. We developed a scalable localization solution that would deliver to Wizz Air’s growing international objectives. In 2016, with a robust localization process now in place, Wizz Air accomplished their goal to launch their rebranded website on all platforms in 23 languages across 38 markets.

Download Welocalize case study – Wizz Air: Culturally Adapting Web Content to Reach 38 Markets and Enhance User Experience

Having worked for many years overseeing localization programs for clients in the online travel and hospitality sector, there are a couple of key pieces of advice.

#1: Hold a Discovery Session

Rather than rushing straight into translation and localization, it is advisable for global travel brands to engage in a discovery session with their localization service provider (LSP). During this session, clients can share valuable and relevant information so that their LSP can build a customized localization program. This involves developing a sequence of events that will lay the foundations for a robust, cost-effective, quality driven and most importantly scalable localization solution.

A discovery session should be an open and frank discussion to address questions and related topics, such as:

  • What are the key business and localization objectives?
  • What are the immediate challenges?
  • Who are the key stakeholders?
  • Brand and product overview
  • Overview of content types (legal, UI, emails, SEO, marketing)
  • Overview of technologies (CMS, connectors, client portal, file types)
  • Review language assets, including the status of existing language assets such as glossaries, style guides, translation memories, SEO, and keywords
  • International and SEO strategy
  • Localization budget, contracts and invoicing process

#2: Develop Localization Program Plan and Sequence of Events

Once the discovery process has been completed, a localization program plan and sequence of events can be built using expert insights from localization specialists in technology, quality, talent and project management.

This team are accountable for the successful rollout of the localization solution. Further in-depth and often on-site discovery sessions may be required in order to build a technology driven automated workflow that will interface with the client’s CMS and relevant translation management system (TMS).

#3: Perform Program Maintenance

Once a localization program has started to be rolled out, it is vital to perform regular maintenance to ensure new locales, file formats and technology changes are fully supported. The ongoing update and maintenance of the language assets, including translation memory, glossaries, style guides are crucial.

#4: Look Ahead

Regular communication between client and LSP is highly recommended. The online travel and hospitality sector is a very fast-paced industry and demands are evolving all of the time. If LSP’s are in tune with client’s short and long term plans, then more preparation and resource allocation can take place.

For ongoing success in the travel and hospitality sector, it is important to fully understand this market and the importance of quick turnaround of content in every target language. I hope this advice will help global brands enter new and emerging markets with their travel products and services.

Paula

Paula.carey@welocalize.com

Based in Dublin, Paula Carey is a Senior Project Manager at Welocalize

 

 

Trends in 2017 Impacting Marketing Localization

As we move into 2017, we look at some of the emerging and ongoing trends that will affect global marketers who are responsible for targeting new markets and driving digital branded campaigns to audiences all over the world.

Growth in Messaging Apps

Messaging apps are growing very fast and more businesses are looking to embrace this trend and seek revenue opportunities. Monthly active users across WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Slack and WeChat have grown a lot faster than some social networks such as Instagram and Twitter. Facebook Mobile Messenger now has one billion active users and Snapchat, only five years old, has gathered 150 million daily active users. With the millennial population continuing to increase and influence, use of messenger apps will continue to increase. Global marketers need to engage and listen to what is being said on the most widely-use mediums that are influencing their brands. People all over the world sharing the good, bad and indifferent experiences with global brands over these messaging apps. WeChat in China has such broad functionality, influencing and facilitating online shopping and restaurant reservations. Global marketers have to ensure they drive localized campaigns to capitalize on the leading messaging platforms to gain consumer attention and engagement.

Chatbots

One other growth area is the use of “chatbots.” Chatbots are computer programs that you interact with by “chatting,” by providing information or helping humans with certain tasks. They can resolve issues, answer questions and give the consumer the feeling they are speaking with a human. Chatbots are gaining popularity and are becoming a useful tool for global marketers. Chatbots increase consumer interaction and enhance the overall user and brand experience. With a global market, full of impatient consumers who want things done immediately, a chatbot can assist straight away. They are also an important tool for collecting data and analysis of consumer habits and purchasing patterns. From a localization standpoint, a chatbot needs to speak and type like a real person – and that means speaking and typing in the target audience’s local language and culture. If chatbots are to play an important part in global digital marketing campaigns, then language and localization play an increasing key role in their development to ensure you are reaching your global audience.

Video Revolution

More and more multimedia is being consumed on a daily basis, driving communication and influencing global business in B2C and B2B. According to YouTube statistics, 3.25 billion hours of video is watched on YouTube each month. Innovation in this area is rapid with many of the large technology platforms like Amazon and Netflix are delivering addictive content in new, exciting ways. This will continue to impact how CMOs, content producers and learning managers will develop and distribute media to audiences around the world. Budget has always played a key influencing role in localization of audio and video content types. Producing quality brand videos is getting easier and less expensive for global marketers, as new production software and media channels open all the time. We will continue to see video playing a bigger role in marketing communications in 2017.

From a localization perspective, we’ve seen great advances in multimedia localization, which have reduced the cost and time of developing multilingual videos. Text-to-speech (TTS) and increased use of transcription and on-screen-text (OST) has enabled more brands to distribute more language versions. For certain communication pieces, the quality levels required for the translation and localization of video are now more flexible. For high impact-branded materials, quality still needs to be high; however, there are options for lower level productions such as internal communication, social media campaigns and or quick-turn training videos. Techniques like TTS, subtitling and OST can deliver the right message and quality levels, making production costs realistic and within budgets.

The video landscape is continuing to change for markets. In late 2016, Facebook Live rapidly grew to be a key video streaming service for global marketers and advertisers. With 1.5 billion users worldwide, Facebook has one of the largest interactive content platforms for UGC and brands. Innovations in this space will continue to drive new user experiences in 2017.

Ad Blockers

Ad blocker usage will continue to grow into 2017, which will result in the reduction of banner ad consumption in certain geographies. According to Ogilvy, ad blocking jumped 34% during 2016 in the US. The continued growth in ad blocking may see a decrease in banner advertising, forcing advertisers to think differently in their outreach. Global marketers have to stay ahead of technologies and trends to ensure that their message reaches the right people. More effective content campaigns will become standard and enable global brands to reach consumers and not be blocked. For global marketing campaigns, this means knowing which markets are affected by ad blocking technology and ensuring any local campaign is built with this in mind, from a content, platform and media perspective.

Measure ROI Not Website Hits

Digital marketers have often looked to Google Analytics to measure website hits, clicks and sessions, as an indicator of campaign success. Global marketers will have to look at new ROI metrics, viewing digital marketing content from the perspective of consumption, engagement and investment. Measuring website hits from static web content is not a true representation of success today, as clicks can be “managed” to produce low quality returns. Whether marketing activity drives leads or engagement, revenue is a measure of success. Some dynamic content, like user generated content (UGC), must be monitored in all target languages and markets to get a good measure of consumer satisfaction and levels of engagement in social media campaigns. Global digital marketing is no longer just about generating static web content, it is analyzing online interactions and bridging the gap between content and ROI. Welocalize’s Adapt Worldwide specialize in helping global brands in defining ROI programs for digital marketing, PPC, social media and web SEO. Click here to learn more.

What do you think will impact global marketing and localization in 2017? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email louise.law@welocalize.com

Louise

Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.

Welocalize Case Study of Wizz Air Website Relaunch in 38 Countries

Welocalize works with many travel and hospitality global brands, helping them engage with a growing multilingual digital consumer that is searching for the “right” service to meet their personal needs and interests.

In this Welocalize case study, we highlight our experience in partnering with market leader Wizz Air and helping them relaunch their website by culturally adapting content for 38 markets, enhancing their overall user experience. You can read more here: Welocalize Wizz Air Case Study.

Welocalize brings all the latest localization techniques and innovation needed to help WIZZ grow and succeed internationally. We’re delighted with the partnership and look forward to more cooperation in the future,” Tamara Vallois, head of communications at Wizz Air.

Client Challenge

Wizz Air is the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, offering more than 450 routes from 26 bases, connecting 130 destinations across 38 countries. One of Wizz Air’s overall global business objectives was to enhance user experience, making it easier and simpler to book Wizz Air travel. The online travel and hospitality industry is a fiercely competitive market and it is crucial to create a great online journey to reach local customers and gain competitive advantage. The company wanted to relaunch its new website on all platforms in 23 languages across 38 markets.

Welocalize Solution

Welocalize worked with Wizz Air to develop a scalable localization strategy, creating source materials in English and delivering translated and fully tested web content into 23 languages for all platforms, including mobile. Localization work included in-depth market analysis and research by dedicated Welocalize experts to identify key words for multilingual SEO purposes in target locales.

Welocalize deployed GlobalSight, a proprietary open-source translation management system (TMS), to streamline and automate Wizz Air’s translation workflow including customized connectors to interface with Wizz Air’s content management system (CMS).

Welocalize partnered with Wizz Air to ensure all web content reaches new and existing customers, creating an intuitive online user experience while enhancing the Wizz Air brand.

We are delighted to see our new website fully implemented in 23 languages on all platforms as it reflects the innovation that WIZZ has delivered since its first flight in 2004. WIZZ constantly strives to stay ahead of the game when it comes to products and services we offer our customers. Today we operate flights to 38 countries in Europe and beyond, with base operations in 14. Offering localized web content for our customers is one of the crucial steps and we are satisfied with our fruitful cooperation with Welocalize that helps us to ensure that our global customers interact with the WIZZ brand in a linguistically and culturally appropriate way.” – Tamara Vallois, Head of Communications, Wizz Air

Case Study Highlights

  • Enhanced online user experience
  • Develop EN source materials
  • Translation and testing into 23 languages
  • New language – Georgian
  • Operational on all platforms including mobile
  • GlobalSight TMS for easy translation management
  • Streamline and automate translation workflow
  • In-depth market analysis and research
  • Multilingual SEO
  • 23 languages to reach 38 markets
  • Flexible and scalable solution
  • PM support 24/7
  • Full cultural adaptation of content
  • Global teamwork
  • Significant international growth

Client Profile

Founded in 2003, Wizz Air is the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe. The company has been always focusing on delivering outstanding customer experience at affordable prices. The new website features the Express Booking function that allows customers to purchase a ticket in just three clicks within 30 seconds. The company was recently named 2016 Value Airline of the Year by the editors of Air Transport World, one of the leading airline trade magazines, as well as 2016 Low Cost Airline of the Year by the Center for Aviation (CAPA), leading provider of independent aviation market intelligence. www.wizzair.com

You can download the full case study here: Welocalize Wizz Air Case Study.

 

Localization Trends for Travel and Hospitality Industry in 2017

The hospitality and travel industry has expanded and diversified to become one of the largest and fastest-growing industries. An increasing number of countries have embraced, and invested in, tourism, resulting in many new destinations emerging, in addition to the traditional choices of Europe and North America. Some regions rely on international tourists to keep their economies afloat.

According to World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), there is an expected increase of international tourist arrivals of 3.3% a year between 2010 and 2030. It is a huge, highly competitive market, covering multiple services such as air travel, car hire, hotel booking and travel insurance. This varied industry presents many opportunities for businesses to expand and grow their global activities.

Here are some global trends of the hospitality and travel industry to look out for in 2017:

#1 Growth in online booking. The use of online and mobile platforms grows in tandem with the growth of the hospitality and travel industry. According to the European Tourism Association, 39% of bookings in Europe and 44% of bookings in the United States will be made online by 2017, a rise of 5% and 2% from 2016, respectively. Travelers are spending more time online researching, comparing prices, reading customers reviews and booking trips. Research conducted by the Nielsen Company showed that an average of 53 days was spent to view 28 different travel sites over 76 sessions per customer.

There is also a significant portion of customers who do their travel research via social media, making social media an important digital marketing tool and platform for businesses. This makes it all the more important for online travel and hospitality companies to deliver the best online user experience and this includes driving clever digital marketing and social media strategies to drive traffic to the website. Every part of the online experience, from reading travel reviews through to booking and payment, must be understandable at a local level and culturally relevant. Globalization and localization must be an integral part of every step in a customers’ journey.

#2 Going Mobile. Mobile usage continues to rise rapidly among customers across all industries. While a lot of travel and hospitality bookings are still done on the desktop, customers research travel heavily on their mobile and smart devices. Travelers are more reliant on their mobile devices to be spontaneous once they arrive at their travel destination.

According to Think With Google, 85% of leisure travelers decide on activities only after they have arrived, and 50% of international travelers rely on mobile devices to make spontaneous decisions on what to do once they have arrived at their holiday destination. Therefore, it is worthwhile for businesses to invest in making sure that their websites are mobile-friendly in all target languages if they are looking to drive up their revenues.

Welocalize’s multilingual digital marketing agency, Adapt Worldwide, specializes in mobile marketing and SEO, along with app optimization for the travel industry. You can learn more by visiting www.adaptworldwide.com.

#3 Growing Asian Market. According to Travel Industry Wire, there has been a double digit increase in international long-haul trips this year. There is a sharp rise in numbers of trips to destinations within the Asian region. Both China and Korea have performed very well this year, with each country having over 10 percent increase in international travels. China seems to be the driving force for growth, and this growing market still has much to offer.

The outlook for Asian outbound tourism remains positive, and the number of Asian outbound trips is predicted to increase another 6% in 2017. It is also worth noting that Asian travelers are gradually becoming more like ‘typical holidaymakers’ like in Western countries, as more preferred sun and beach holidays over sightseeing trips. For travel organizations looking to attract more visitors from Asian countries like China, any customer facing content must be published in the relevant language.

No matter which medium is used to communicate with the customers, travel organizations must speak the right language, linguistically and culturally. Looking forward into 2017, localizing for emerging markets in the travel and hospitality sector, especially the rapidly rising Asian market, is the key in the travel and hospitality sector. It is worthwhile for businesses to work with an experienced language services provider to ensure that they are ready to stay competitive and meet customers’ ever-growing demands and expectations in the travel and hospitality industry.

You can learn more about, click here: Welocalize solutions for the travel industry.

Cecilia

Cecilia.tang@welocalize.com

Cecilia Tang is a member of the Welocalize Global Marketing and Sales Support Team.

 

Six Key Considerations for Social Media Localization

global communicationThere has been a huge growth of social media usage across the world. With booming social media e-commerce and the increased sophistication of social media paid amplification tools that allow you custom personalization and targeting, social media is now one of the key digital channels for global brands.

Building a localized social media presence with a strong and engaged loyal community around your brand can be a powerful way to expand globally, increasing awareness and getting people to your website resulting in lead generation and increased revenue. However, identifying which markets and channels to drive a localized social media presence can be a daunting task. It is important to make sure you look at a range of things to develop your localized social media strategy to make sure you get the best return on your investment.

Define business goals

First, determine what are your long-term objectives that you would like to achieve through social media. For example increasing awareness, building a long-term community, driving people to the website, increasing leads, or providing a localized platform for customer queries. Certain activities like paid ads can be done from global channels but if you want to build a long term community, then localizing your social media channels is key.

Undertake competitor analysis

Understand the markets and channels your direct and indirect competitors have localized social media. Identify if there are any other local players that do really well and on which channels they are present on.

Pull out data in terms of performance of your competitors’ localized channels in terms of followers and engagement. Which channels do your competitors perform the best on? Map your overall goal of where you would like to be in terms of followers and engagement compared with your competitors if you were to localize social media activities.

Once you have identified the top performing channels and local markets for key competitors, understand what content types and themes perform the best in terms of engagement. This will give you insights into frequency of posts, type of content, how content is localized and what are the key seasonal events that you should be aware of.

Observe general market social media statistics and trends

Understand what are the most used channels in local markets by number of monthly active users vs total channel users and identify what social channels show a growth in terms of usage. Understand whether the overall opportunity is large enough to make it cost effective. Although competitor analysis can give an indication of which channels are popular with competitors, there might be other channels that show future opportunity that others haven’t started taking advantage of. A better understanding how people consume content in your market, for example desktop vs mobile, ecommerce usage, can also be a key insight when building a localized social media strategy.

Scope out resource capability

Understand how often content should be produced, the time taken, the type of resources needed and the required budget. Good performance on a few, key social media channel is much better than posting poor, irregular content on a large number of social media channels. You need to look at content creation, imagery, channel monitoring and customer management to make sure that resources are in place to produce effective, culturally relevant quality content. If localized content is posted, any landing page or website must be available in the appropriate language. If you drive people to your website in their local language, you have to carry on the language experience to keep them there and gain conversions.

Understand local market regulations

Certain markets, like China for example, have tighter regulations for opening social media accounts without a business presence in China or when running activities like paid amplification. Before you open a channel, make sure you’re aware of the necessary local regulations and have all the relevant documentation available.

Develop a list of prioritized social media channels

Finally, based on all the above insights define a prioritized list of social media channels and markets that could provide best return on investment for your global digital marketing activities.

Alina

Alina.anghel@adaptworldwide.com

Based in London, Alina Anghel is SEO and Social Media Manager at Adapt Worldwide, a Welocalize multilingual digital marketing agency.

 

Welocalize International Web Content and SEO Checklist

SEO Concept in Tag CloudBefore investing time and money into developing an international web content and SEO (search engine optimization) strategy, there are a number of different things to take into consideration. Expanding the global reach of your website and digital marketing activities is no small feat and covers a number of different disciplines.

Take a look at the Welocalize Checklist for International Web and SEO Activities:

Use existing research. Review existing web analytics and site traffic reports to see what the interest is from other countries, what currently works and what doesn’t work. There may be an emerging country not yet on your radar that you need to pay particular attention to gain traffic. This will help you decide whether to invest in more language websites, targeted local digital campaigns and SEO work.

Take operational factors into consideration. If you are generating interest in Asia or other emerging markets, then check you can supply, deliver and support the local payment system and trading regulations.

Partner with a multilingual marketing agency. They will have the experience and expertise at driving traffic internationally. They will have the inside track on cultural preferences, navigation techniques, unique content and SEO considerations. Visit Adapt Worldwide, a Welocalize Multilingual Digital Marketing Agency to learn more.

Localized domain names. If you are setting up a new language website, make sure you retain the localized domain name. Even if you don’t use the localized domain and end up utilizing a sub-folder targeting strategy, which is effective for SEO, it is always worth ensuring you own the local domains as well. Check where your site is hosted to confirm they can can deal with the increased international demand. You may want to switch providers or have a more locally hosted site.

Identify local keywords. Look at the keywords you have for your source language website, then think again! Simply translating existing keywords won’t work and may be out of date anyway. You need to be in the mindset of a local customer.

Awareness of non-Latin characters. This applies for web content and also SEO. Existing web and digital activity may support western languages in the Latin alphabet; however, may not support writing systems in Asia and Arabic countries.

Create individual properties for each language website. For each language website, you need to establish separate web “properties” and digital assets which will benefit search engine rankings. This will ensure the right language website will rank in a localized search.

Text expansion. If you’re looking to translate your English website, then remember that other languages can be longer. Russian and German can be up to 40% longer than English, and this should be taken into account when trying to align SEO and UX considerations.

Use Hreflang tags. One for the more technically minded, Hreflang tags tells Google which language you’re using on a specific page, so the search engine can serve that result to users searching in that language. Read more about Hreflang tags here.

Are all images culturally appropriate? Certain corporate images and diagrams may be suitable in certain cultures but not in others. Check all graphics, diagrams, photographs, cartoon and interactive elements do not contain any offensive material.

Understand specific country web and social media regulations. Each country has its own set of web standards and regulations. Being familiar with these at a local level will help you get the best reach for each language website. For example, certain sites and web content are blocked in China.

This checklist is not exhaustible but we hope it will help organizations to ensure some of the basics are covered when setting up multilingual web activities.

Louise

Louise.law@welocalize.com

Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.

 

 

Ten Insightful Tips for Good Web Content Localization

Creative abstract global computer communication and internet business telecommunication concept: macro view of crystal Earth globe on laptop or notebook keyboard with selective focus effect

For every web user, it’s all about content and experience. Regardless of where a user is based, the “quality of translation” will mean nothing to them. Web users simply want good content that gives them a natural online experience. Translated web content should not be considered an extension of the original source content. Each language website is a separate and valuable digital asset. Web content must be tailored to target, multilingual and multicultural audiences.

Here are some industry expert tips for website localization:

  • Know Your Audience. First and foremost, know who will be reading and engaging with your web content. This must include definitions by country, language, demographics, cultural preferences, access to technology, dominant payments systems, legal and financial regulations and much more. You may need more than one language variant for each country. For example, in Switzerland, there are four language spoken with varying cultures. Giving the user the option to choose a language rather than country allows better targeting.
  • Cultural Adaptation. Local language web content must be developed for that specific audience. This process will involve a combination of localization, translation, internationalization and transcreation. Some technical content, for example product support FAQs, must be accurately translated and stay close to the source. For more subjective marketing content, linguistic copywriters can provide content, which retains the overall concept and brand values, utilizing marketing copy that is written specifically for the target, local audience.
  • Teamwork is Global. Work with cross-functional teams. This means many internal teams working towards similar goals and objectives. Localization and language service buyers, as well as marketing, IT, web design, development all play an important role in developing web content and must establish good communication and teamwork. Sharing the same goals and objectives at a cross-functional level will help working relationships and produce effective multilingual web content.
  • Be Discovered. Having an awesome multilingual web experience is a waste of time if no one can find you. Multilingual SEO and SEM are keys to success. It’s not a case of translating key words used for the source web content. Unique key words for SEO purposes that are specific to the target audience must be identified in advance of publishing our web content.
  • Support Local Payment Systems. Not everyone uses PayPal. In China, Alipay is the most widely used online payment method. In the Netherlands, people are used to paying through the secure e-commerce payment system, iDEAL. If e-commerce is part of your web experience, understand the security and global restrictions in currency and payment methods.
  • Listen to Users. Once you have launched multilingual web content, pay attention to what users are saying about you in social media and online forums. If there is a glitch or cultural error in web content, you can guarantee it will be openly discussed. Understanding user generated content (UGC) in all languages can help stay aligned to users and customers.
  • Reading Styles Matter. People consume web content in different ways. In the west, many people read a web page in an F-shaped pattern. Arabic countries read right to left therefore F-shape approach will not work. The same layout for every language version will not work.
  • Text Expansion Rules. Allow for text expansion in spacing. Russian is 40% longer than English! How much character room do you need on a web page for it to be consumed and adherent to your style guidelines? Prepare and plan for all languages or you will need to create customized sites per language.
  • Use Internationalization Standards. The process of adapting software to different languages to meet national standards. Elements can include UI, date displays, calendars, currencies, public holidays, address layout, telephone number format and much more. Good internationalization not only meets the needs of users, but also may be a legal requirement for local regulatory standards.
  • Accommodate Mobile Platforms. If users are accessing web content via mobile devices, then your web content has to be adapted for mobile too. Reading content from a mobile device is totally different from reading content on a laptop. Mobile users tend to look at images more than text – remember they could be on the move. The same applies for scrolling. Key messages have to stand out at the top with concise messaging to avoid scrolling.

One final word of advice is remember to keep refreshing and developing new content for all websites. This will keep online users engaged and also keep sites ranked high in the relevant search engines, whether it is for Google, Baidu, Qihoo 360, Naver, Yandex or Yahoo! Japan. When you need expertise in web localization, give us a shout! Our web experts can help guide you through the right questions based on best practices and proven digital marketing industry leadership.

Good luck!

Louise

Louise.law@welocalize.com

Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.

Five Localization Tips for International E-Commerce

iStock_000085058143_MediumLocalizing your e-commerce site and any associated digital marketing strategy is an effective way to expand and reach new customers and local markets. Research consistently shows that online customers prefer to research and buy items in their own language and culture. According to independent research firm, Common Sense Advisory, 56% of consumers say that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.

It’s important to not only know your online customers, but to understand their cultures and preferred behaviors. By approaching new customers in a non-localized way, this can create an alien like feeling to which most customers dislike and in the highly competitive world of e-commerce and online retail, they will soon find alternative online outlets who speak their language.

When expanding and entering into new global markets, it is important for online businesses and retailers to know what local customers really expect, from their global brand, as well as the service, product and website. It is all about creating the right online customer experience, wherever your customer is located in the world.

Here are our five localization tips for expanding e-commerce programs into international markets:

Tip #1: Speak the Same Language

When considering expanding into new markets, it is important to consider language. What is the primary language within the country? Are there different dialects and cultures to consider? How do customers prefer to be approached? Is it informal or formal language? How do other businesses speak?

Research into the target country’s language and buyer culture is vital for success in driving a view to action. Studies have shown that failing to communicate to customers in their native language can have a serious effect upon the performance of the business and the perceptions that customers will place upon the brand or product.

Tip #2: Localize the Whole Customer Experience

Although it is important to speak the same language it is also vitally important that all a product or services marketing content and web and ‘shopfront’ content are also translated. All touch points of the buyer’s journey should be localized. It is no longer acceptable to simply localize an e-commerce website. Everything must be included in the overall strategy, from online help, payment systems, customer service and labeling to all digital marketing campaigns used to promote and communicate the brand.

The technical content on a website should also be localized. When moving into new markets, use local domain names, translate and localize keywords, meta-tags and titles. By developing fully optimized content on a local domain it will not only help increase the websites rankings, it will also give the user a better experience and have more familiarity with their interactions.

Tip #3: Research Marketing and Communication Channels

Any digital e-commerce marketing campaigns have to be culturally adapted to gain the attention of the local audience. Key to online success is to know which channels are used by your target audience and to make sure any content published in these channels is easy to find.

A lot of e-commerce consumer brands use social media to reach target customers. In the West, the most common and well-known channels are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram. A lot of popular social media sites in the West cannot be accessed from countries like China, Japan or Korea. The most popular social media channel within China is a platform called Weibo and has over 140 million users with over 50 million active users a month. That is nearly three times the amount of Twitters users (56 million) and nearly double the amount of active users a month!

Tip #4: Know the Local Laws and Regulations

If you are planning to launch an international business program, companies must consider any potential trade considerations and product adjustments they might need to make in local markets. It’s important to know the local laws and regulations. Consider tax laws, custom laws, import restrictions, corporate organization, custom laws and liability laws to name a few. There may also be governmental or regulatory barriers along with intellectual property concerns and quality control. It is important that all your business, products and services and any standards and regulations are localized to suit the desired market. Ignoring a countries laws and regulations can cause serious problems, including expensive marketing repercussions for a company.

Tip #5: Consider Adding a Localized Mobile App

In 2014, the number of cell-phones to people exceeded one per person. According to GSMA Intelligence, there are over 7.6 billion cell-phone devices in the world, and according to the US Census Bureau the current approximation of people on earth is between 7.2 and 7.3 billion people.

Although not everyone may have a mobile device and some may have more than one, it is hard to deny that mobile has grown in popularity and usage. Today, 50% of people use their cell phone as their primary Internet source. Mobile-based purchasing has grown so large that it now has its own name m-commerce. On Black Friday, November 27, 2015, mobile purchases made up 40% of sales for that one day. Data from the 2016 Mobile 500 report projects that m-commerce will grow nearly three times faster than U.S. e-commerce overall in 2015.

If you want to successfully integrate and expand into international sales and markets, it is worth considering the development of mobile applications within your localization strategy. By making your e-commerce business and brand adaptable, accessible and understandable on all platforms and devices, it greatly increases your businesses chances of adoption within a country and or market.

When considering expanding into international markets through e-commerce, make sure that in-depth research has been conducted into the specific market and or country, and that everyone understands the sociographic, behavioral, demographic and cultural characteristics. Global language service providers like Welocalize can deliver world-class localization and multilingual digital marketing programs. We can work in a consultative capacity to help e-tailers identify future markets and tailor their online content and systems to successfully reach their global audiences and grow revenue streams.

Emma Cox
emma.cox@welocalize.com

Click here to find out more about Adapt Worldwide, Welocalize’s multilingual digital marketing agency.

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Localization of the Omni-Channel Experience

iStock_000069706991_LargeWelocalize recently attended eTail 2016 West Conference held in Palm Springs, California, February 22-26, 2016. It represented an opportunity to engage in conversation and share localization best practices with clients and colleagues involved in global e-commerce and online retail activities.

The eTail West 2016 event brought together over 2,500 retail professionals from several different industries and focused on some of the most talked about topics in the industry. These topics included: social media strategy, website aesthetics, mobile marketing strategies, in-store marketing strategies.

Welocalize experts were able to discuss strategies on how organizations can expand global reach through multilingual digital marketing solutions for web and in-store as well as mobile apps, SEO, app store optimization (ASO), pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and social media.

Here are some of the hot topics and key discussions that took place at the event:

#1: Omni-Channel Approach has Many Touch Points

There are many various ways e-tailers and retailers alike leverage all the different customer touch points to develop a holistic customer experience. From measuring a customer’s reactions when they visit a retailer website, to the various channels that are used to direct a potential buyer to make a purchase. Some of the biggest challenges are measuring the ROI for the chosen marketing strategy, and identifying the best practices for monitoring conversion rates for each marketing methodology and campaign. Due to the highly competitive nature of the consumer and retail industry, conducting business in one country, with an omni-channel approach, has many challenges.

Note: The definition of omni-channel is to take a multi-channel (touch point) approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by phone or in a storefront retail property.

#2: Going Global is Challenging

When you introduce global markets, for example for retailers wanting to expand outside of the United States, each retailer is faced with a whole new set of challenges to overcome. In several of the discussions at the event, when discussing global growth and customer retention, that overall opinion was quite bleak. This came as no surprise as the challenges to get the omni-channel approach correct in the United States are overwhelming and competitive enough, let alone in other countries.

The message here is to have no fear! Working with a multilingual marketing agency is very powerful, for domestic and international markets, and relatively inexpensive way to perform A&B testing in other countries to track the ROI. For example, if you have an email campaign that has a conversion rate that meets the benchmark for success in the US, this can be successfully delivered in new markets. With the right multilingual digital marketing agency, you can appropriately localize and recreate content to meet language and cultural requirements, aesthetics, and overall brand message within the email campaign. A specialist agency can work with you to determine what success factors will be the benchmark to realize the ROI of localizing the campaign into other languages and target markets.

#3: Where Do I Get the Budget to Go Global?

Many e-tailers face challenges in terms of securing budget for their own marketing activities within the omni-channel experience. How does the social media director make a business case to implement a social media campaign in German and Spanish? Is a ‘like’ on a Facebook versus a retweet versus a click-through on a banner ad, more or less valuable than having portions of your website translated? What will ultimately give your customers the best online and in-store experience?

The reality is that there is no silver bullet when it comes to knowing what your own brand’s multilingual omni-channel approach will be. The message at eTail West was loud and clear. The customer journey is always dictated by the customer. Each investment for localization and translation services needs to have a measurable output and this is achievable when working with multilingual digital marketing campaigns.

With global brand clients, including many in the consumer, e-commerce and retail sector, Welocalize first understands the critical business objective driving the need for translation and works to establish the most appropriate service line to ensure the critical business objective is met. Whether you are looking to increase revenue in China by 10%, or reduce customer complaints in Portugal by 90%, each goal must be recorded and tracked to ensure your multilingual approach is working. This will get you the business results the C-suite management is most interested in and that will get you the right levels of budget approval.

#4: How Do I Keep the WHOLE Customer Experience Consistent?

I made a sale in China! So how do my customer support teams speak with my non-English speaking customer now? Another big discussion at eTail West was consideration for how the customer service department and after-sales support will augment to serve non-English speaking customers. If an email campaign has worked in new language markets and has resulted in sales, you now have paying customers in another country that need product support in their native language. Hiring a dedicated bilingual customer service representative is an expensive investment.

There are inexpensive ways to apply an automated language translation to product queries coming in from your overseas customers. The right language services partner will help guide you through the most effective way to handle non-English customer service queries.

Welocalize understands that any investment to translate portions of the omni-channel experience require foresight and a business case to justify the investment. Welocalize’s multilingual digital marketing agency, Adapt Worldwide, helps global brands reach international markets through the cultural adaptation of content on multiple digital marketing channels. Whether it’s multilingual social media campaigns, email campaigns, web and mobile content, transcreation and copywriting or international SEO, CRO or ASO, Welocalize combines digital expertise and language services to help you take the best steps forward to growing globally and reaching new customers.

matt gaitan 2016Did you attend eTail West? I’d love to hear your comments. Drop me an email matt.gaitan@welocalize.com. If you want further information on Welocalize’s Adapt Worldwide multilingual digital marketing solutions, click here.

Matt

Based in Portland, USA, Matt Gaitan is Regional Enterprise Sales Director at Welocalize.

Multilingual Digital Marketing and Transcreation Leads to Increase in Online Conversions

A Welocalize and Powwownow Case Study

powwownow logoUse of global digital marketing and online advertising are powerful ways to reach new markets and increase market penetration. Many businesses use increased web presence to gain awareness and traction in new countries. Key to success is to ensure that any digital marketing materials are culturally adapted to suit local markets.

One of the biggest challenges of localizing digital marketing content is recreating content to generate interest and impact in local markets. Straight translation and linguistic accuracy is not the main priority. Simply translating the source language website won’t cut it for today’s savvy consumers. Content must be culturally adapted and transcreated to drive the highest engagement.

Powwownow is the leading free conference call provider in the United Kingdom. The company is headquartered in the UK and operates in 15 countries. One of Powwownow’s overall business objectives is to penetrate more of Europe, including the French and German markets, to increase yearly global growth. Maintaining key characteristics of the Powwownow brand and concept is a priority to ensure the end-user has the right online experience. The majority of Powwownow’s business is in the UK; therefore ,the European Marketing Team needed support to better understand how to market their product to the French market and utilize expert in-country expertise to develop digital content that is culturally appropriate, while staying consistent to the brand.

Powwownow worked with Welocalize to generate transcreated content for their new French language website. The published content is used to drive awareness, improve user experience and increase customer engagement in the French market.

The results show the new French Powwownow website experienced a 30% increase in online conversions with plans in place to add more European languages, increasing international reach and engagement in target markets. Use of linguistic copywriters and in-country reviewers ensured website content resonated with the French market to establish the Powwownow brand. Part of the overall solution was to ensure overall online search-ability was increased, using keyword localization.

Welocalize is an extension of the Powwownow team. Their expertise and localization knowledge adds incredible value to our global expansion strategy and overall digital marketing activities. The Welocalize team are reliable, deliver a fast turnaround and provide support 24/7.” Hollie Bennett, European Marketing Manager, Powwownow.

READ MORE: You can find out about how Welocalize helped Powwownow to reach new markets using multilingual digital marketing. Click here: Powwownow Case Study – Welocalize.

Powwownow Case Study_Page_1

Further Reading: Transcreation and Linguistic Copywriting For Multilingual Digital Marketing

10 Steps to Building Localization into Your Global Marketing Automation Program

Marketing automation platforms (MAPs) are a necessity for any B2B or B2C company. A marketing automation tool is software that not only allows you to market via multiple online platforms, it also helps to manage campaigns, nurture leads, track website visitors website and much more. Research suggests B2B marketers have an average 20% increase in sales opportunities from nurtured leads vs. non-nurtured leads after deploying a lead nurturing campaign.

Making sure your content is translated and localized to your target market’s specifications is unfortunately not one of the features MAPs automatically possess. However, building localization into your marketing automation program can be easy if you plan ahead and it is definitely effective for reaching a global audience.

Welocalize’s resident marketing automation expert Lauren Southers guides us through with 10 steps on how to incorporate localization into your global marketing automation program.

  1. Understand the importance of localization. Localization is key for successful global marketing strategies and communications. It’s quite simple, if you are trying to sell something to someone, you have to be able to speak their language. This applies to products, services, ideas and even internal programs. It’s all about personalization. How can you relay a message if you can’t even speak their language? Common Sense Advisory says that customers are six times more likely to buy something in their own language, so to become profitable in local markets, it makes sense to localize.
  2. Be willing to invest the time and resources. Good quality translation and localization are important for protecting your brand and message. It’s essential to commit to a good quality translation program and event better if it integrates with your global marketing automation tools. It is the optimal way to drive the best return on your content marketing investments.
  3. Segment buyer personas. As with language, buyer personas can vary from country-to-country. Sometimes it can vary region-to-region. You must make sure that the research is done into your target markets and you understand all the demographic, sociographic and behavioral characteristics in order to best approach them. Marketing style guides should also change according to buyer personas.
  4. Be aware of salutations and cultural norms. This really does depend on the chosen language and how the communicator, whether sales or marketing, wants to address their clients and prospects. Marketing automation tools should allow you to store salutations in several different languages. For example, we utilize the German Herr and Frau. Both are stored and ready to be used with German, Austrian and Swiss client communications. Graphics should be reviewed, as well as use of language-specific phrases and abbreviations.
  5. Be prepared to restructure your material. Languages are as different from each other as are humans. In some languages, words and sentences could be longer or shorter, or use completely different characters. When localizing, ensure that the content fits well on the page and screen. Don’t be surprised if you have to move things around based on different languages to get the right fit. This can impact some of your predetermined formats and templates.
  6. Make use of your allies – sales people. The sales department and the marketing department should always be collaborating. It requires a constant outreach effort to lessen the gap between the two and learn to work together. One way is to leverage your talented sales resources and their in-market and in-country knowledge and experience. Let them review translated and localized content before going out to prospects and clients. Sales people know their market, and marketing knows how to speak to them. Global teamwork always pays off. Did you know that 2/3 of the sale is already done before a sales person even picks up the phone – if marketing have done their job properly?
  7. Send campaigns out at different times to maximize reach. We send our campaigns out according to time zone. Not only does this let us choose the optimum time per country to launch a campaign, this staggered approach ensures that if there are any mistakes in the content we can correct the succeeding emails in the later time zones, minimizing any impact. It’s also a good idea to separate campaigns by language to observe the performance analytics and final return on content.
  8. Memory can improve quality. Translation memory (TM) can help your brand to keep consistent by recognizing specialized vocabulary throughout your content, increasing its quality. TMs also ensure that you are spending less money the more you translate!
  9. Test, test and then test again. As mentioned before, the different characters and lengths of languages can mean that you have to restructure your content. It can most certainly impact the quality of your communications. If you don’t test and test often, your MAP may automatically do it for you, leaving the user-interface skewed. Test, test and test again to make sure that your content fits on the page and on the computer, mobile and tablet screen. Formatting can greatly differ depending on the device used for consumption.
  10. Embrace the future of marketing automation. The future of marketing automation will be about value. MAPs will continue to move in a target-based direction. Budgets and ROI will be tracked and scrutinized as we become more dependent on MAPs to deliver our corporate and branded communications. We will be able to see the cost of marketing more directly, down to the single click, in every language, across every channel, in all geographies. Monetary targets can be set for each campaign and we will actually know if we have met them in real-time. The cost per lead, click and open can also be set up to monitor performance. This can all translate into revenue, cost-savings and increase market share for your business. This is a great opportunity to shift your globalization and content marketing programs into revenue recognition activities versus the cost-side of the business.

Sending marketing communications has never been so easy with the growing number of sophisticated MAPs. However, if your brand needs to take that crucial step that guarantees its exposure to the global market, then you will have to put in time and resources into localizing your content and even your systems. Localization should be an integral part in any global marketing automation program, and it is not a difficult task to make sure that it is included, if you follow these 10 recommended steps.

Another important tip is to make sure that you work with an experienced language services provider that can help you by connecting your systems through APIs and integration technology. This will further automate your translation management and marketing programs. Welocalize can provide recommendations and demonstrate how we have integrated and connected marketing automation and language translation management systems like GlobalSight for global brands.

If you have questions about how to integrate your MAPs program into your translation and content management programs and processes, please drop us a line. We can also share our experiences in setting up automation tools to reach a global audience.

Louise Donkor and Lauren Southers, Welocalize Marketing Team

marketing@welocalize.com

Role of Quality in Four Stages of Software Localization

479077975Based at the Welocalize office in Beijing, China, Judy Chen is Technical Services Director. In this blog, Judy shares her thoughts about the role and focus of quality during software localization.

During our routine work in the localization industry, we live and breathe quality every day, everywhere. What is quality? ISO 8402-1986 standard defines quality as “the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.”

How do you satisfy stated or implied needs? For software product localization, final localized versions must be bug-free for final product sign-off. For any software localization program, as well as the software product itself and for each software launch, patch and new feature, there will be a range of supporting materials including marketing materials, internal training and communications. All require different levels of quality.

In this blog, the following details the quality focus used during the software localization process for all content types.

There are four main stages to every simple translation project or complex software localization project requiring translation, software engineering, testing, document engineering, multimedia, DTP and art work: Project Scoping, Project Planning and Preparation, Production Execution and Product Delivery and Sign-Off:

Stage 1: Project Scoping

This stage is to fully understand quality expectations, customize quality standard depending on client requirements. It is the foundation to help client to best utilize their localization budget and set localization plans in place.

  • Perform evaluation about source content
  • Define work types
  • Figure out localized languages and workload
  • Raise any source bug queries
  • Provide localization suggestions and quotation

The main input for all of the above activities is understanding the client quality expectations. If the client quality requirements are understood, we can carry out appropriate scoping: neither over scoping nor under scoping. Based on different purposes of localized materials, we can customize different quality standards.

Using some of the local terminology we have in Beijing, here are some examples of how quality expectations differ, depending on content type and impact:

  • If the localized materials are for company internal staff training, we can set quality requirements as “accurate translation, simple DTP/engineering.”
  • If the localized materials are for marketing or online customer support, we can set quality requirement as “accurate and beautiful translation, fine DTP/engineering.”
  • If the localized materials are for localization of product code, we can set quality requirement as “technically accurate, debugged, full of beauty for DTP/engineering.”
  • If the localized materials are high impact to the brand, like company slogans or taglines, we set the quality requirement as “perfect transcreation, full of beauty for DTP/engineering.”

Stage 2: Project Planning and Preparation

This stage is the process that transforms a client’s quality expectations to a series of production activities and measurable KPIs.

  • Workflow Customizing
  • Environment and Tools Deployment
  • Quality Measurement (SOPs and Checklist)
  • Work Scheduling
  • Risk Evaluation (Risk Factors)
  • Resources Reservation and On-boarding
  • Training of Involved Resources

All planning and preparation activities are based on exact quality requirements and those stated purposes confirmed at the scoping stage. Based on different quality requirements, we can customize different workflows, choose different resources and work out different quality matrices. For example, aiming at the quality requirement, “accurate and beautiful translation, fine DTP/engineering,” we can use standard translators and engineers to complete the work. We can arrange one cycle translation, DTP/engineering work with quick QA cycle.

If we are aiming for the quality requirement of “perfect transcreation, full of beauty for DTP/engineering,” we need to on-board experienced translators and engineers with specific skills and arrange more reviews and QA cycles to ensure final quality.

Stage 3: Production Execution

An integral part at this stage is the LSP management system, which must manage and track production activities for software localization activities, including a quality tracker and bug management system. This means all quality information can be extracted and checked for the following main activities:

  1. Production Process Control – All procedures are monitored to ensure that work is being handled according to customized workflows and using reserved resources.
  2. Inter-Operation Management – Constant team interaction to ensure no breaking within consequent work steps and processes. Client information is fully shared with all involved parties to ensure everyone is on the same page and aware of all targets and deadlines.
  3. Risk Management – Based on risk evaluation, routine checks are performed at the risk points with appropriate remedies used, if necessary. Version control method and bug management systems are put in place.
  4. Results Checking – Any work results are checked based on the defined quality measurement. Any non-conformity item should be evaluated and handled before delivering to client.

Stage 4: Product Delivery and Sign-Off

In theory, at this stage you have a bug free localized product. During this stage, final checks are performed and the product is prepared for sign-off. If in the unlikely event of bugs being found, careful risk evaluation is undertaken, especially for complex software localization projects. Each bug case is evaluated case-by-case and communicated with the client to decide whether to fix or defer. In stage 4, achieving quality means to deliver an acceptable product without introducing significant risks to users.

During each stage of localization, there is a different quality focus. By further strengthening our quality consciousness and achieving a deep understanding of the quality focus during our routine work, we will work smarter, more agile and produce quality levels that exceed our software client’s expectations.

Judy

Judy.chen@welocalize.com

Based in Beijing, China, Judy Chen is Technical Services Director at Welocalize.

For more information about software localization and bug-fixing, read Welocalize White Paper: A Bug is a Bug in Any Language.

Website Localization and the Rise of HTML5

Write Once, Deploy Everywhere by Ronan Kavanagh

523184357If your organization has multilingual websites and a large number of mobile device users, adopting HTML5 could be an important move for your business. Many companies are already deploying it to better manage their websites. In fact, HTML5 is coming on strong as a standard.

Why HTML5? According to Ian Jacobs, recommendations editor for the World Wide Web (W3C) Consortium, “There are two driving forces behind this evolution. First is the proliferation of diverse devices that, coupled with the variety of browsers, greatly complicate life for developers, who want to ‘write once and deploy everywhere.” He also noted, “…the Web has now embraced the social networking model and when you can tap into that, you can reach many more customers.”

So how does HTML5 fit into this movement? It makes development across multiple platforms more efficient. “Developers of software for the World Wide Web say the new HTML5 standard is revolutionizing the way the Web evolves, works and is used,” noted technology writer Gary Anthes. “It is simplifying the work of programmers, harmonizing access to diverse devices and applications, and giving users amazing new capabilities, they say.

HTML5 also includes new markup features that directly help the website translation process, improving formatting and making multilingual web content easier to understand.

  • HTML5 supports a more semantic style of markup that allows for meaningful tags, and simpler, more understandable coding when dealing with multilingual content. For example, HTML5 users can apply a new attribute – a simple “no” or “yes” code – to direct their translation partner as to which content to work on. This eliminates the previously drawn-out process of annotation or list making.
  • HTML5 makes it easier to handle both left-to-right languages like English, and right-to-left languages such as Arabic and Hebrew. Using other tools, developers often come across formatting problems, particularly when both kinds of languages are featured side by side. HTML5 includes a new ‘bdi’ element to help authors of bi-directional content override the Unicode algorithm that sometimes results in mistakes in punctuation, numbers and bullet points.
  • HTML5 offers an enhanced version of ‘ruby’ annotations commonly used when marking up East Asian languages that use characters. The markup is usually used to help explain pronunciation to readers. The new HTML5 tags are helpful when authoring content and in translation from, or into, non-alphabetical languages.

In truth, HTML5 isn’t the second coming and it isn’t an officially ratified standard — yet. The spec continues to edge closer to completion; however, and when combined with JavaScript and CSS3, HTML5 can do some really incredible things. This is particularly true for mobile devices.

A de facto requirement for any modern mobile operating system is the inclusion of a modern HTML5-compliant web browser. The leading modern mobile platforms — iOS and Android — both use WebKit as their bases. Likewise, BlackBerry and HP/Palm are also using WebKit and Microsoft has released a mobile version from Internet Explorer 9 for Windows Phone 7 and above.

What this means is that out-of-the-box, modern smartphones and tablets support the bells and whistles that make HTML5 so special. It also means that developers can feel free to use those technologies when creating their applications and not have to worry that the device itself won’t support a particular function.

We are already seeing and advising some of our major clients on how to approach the conversion and localization of online content, such as Flash courses to HTML5. With Welocalize’s in-house experience and expertise, we are truly plugged-in to key, emerging technologies that help develop and localize truly brilliant global websites.

Ronan

Ronan.kavanagh@welocalize.com

Based in Dublin, Ronan Kavanagh is Software Lead Engineer at Welocalize. He has a degree in multimedia and web mastering and has over 10 years experience in the localization industry.

Three Considerations for Localizing Website UI

185519875Businesses are becoming savvier and taking advantage of the fact that localization opens up your brand to the world. With a reported $25 return for every $1 spent on website localization, it’s clear why it should be considered when thinking of global growth strategy.

Website localization can often be overlooked, especially if companies have already translated their website, believing that they are one and the same. Website localization is about more than making sure that you can offer several languages. Without realizing, some text in Urdu on your site could offset a drop down menu, or writing in German may create overlap on borders.

Taking this into account, you must be mindful of how localization and translation can affect your user interface (UI). Users in other countries will appreciate time spent in making sure their experience on your website is the same as everyone’s around the globe. Take a look at these three instances where website localization can affect your UI and we know for a fact, your international users will thank you for it!

Consider Different Characters, Sizes and Length

In order for your users from all over the globe to have the best experience on your website, you must be conscious of characters, sizes and lengths. Different languages can be different sizes, which can also skew the user interface. Be aware that languages like Thai, Russian and Chinese may need to be re-sized to fit nicely onto your website. Writing in a language like German can be about 20% more than English. Make sure your website can handle foreign characters like Ӂ, ᵳ or ὼ and not get corrupted. Not all languages are read left to right like in the Western world, such as Arabic and Chinese. This needs to be taken into consideration when localizing the UI. You may want your main drop down menu button positioned in a different place to the original source version.

Be Sensitive Towards Colors and Icons

Stick to universally acknowledged icons when using symbols and icons. For example, a magnifying glass for search or an X to close. If not, then make sure your icon has a label to describe what it is and how to use it. Something as simple as color can have a completely different meaning to your users in other countries. As an example in China, if a photo of a person has a black border, it means that person is dead. It is advised to no use black borders around photos of your showcased team members on your site.

It is still important to choose a color that represents your brand. There may be instances when the corporate brand color palette does not translate. It is important to know how to represent your company in universal or try to find a middle ground color that truly represents the brand in all your target geographies.

Formatting Matters with Dates, Times and Currency

Even the best translated websites can end up with glitches as a result of formatting. It may seem obvious; however, different countries have different date formats. It can be easy to get this mixed up, especially when using one language spoken by different countries. For example although American and British English are quite similar, the format for calendar dates differ. Also, do not forget about currency as well! The US, Canada, Australia, Belize, Hong Kong, Brunei and many more all use the dollar but just because it have the same name, does not mean it’s the same currency. Specify which type of currency you mean by writing the country abbreviation next to it to avoid confusion.

Taking these instances into consideration will help you create a multilingual digital presence that thinks globally but speaks locally.

Successfully integrating the UI into the overall website localization project will result in customers from all over the world being able to easily navigate your website, creating an enjoyable user experience. Remember, a successfully localized website is one the user can’t tell has been localized.

Louise Donkor

Louise.donkor@welocalize.com

Louise Donkor is a member of Welocalize’s Global Marketing and Business Support team.

Three Reasons Why You Should Localize Your Website

187454050The simple answer is because it’s the world wide web. According to independent research firm, Common Sense Advisory, 72% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language and 90% choose a native language website when available. Only 27% of Internet users speak English as their first language. Globalization experts note the fastest growing consumer market opportunities today are in developing countries.

The web provides a direct route of communications and business to billions of potential global customers. A company website is typically the main digital marketing asset utilized by an organization to reach people. The content on a company website forms the basis of a global business – not just branded marketing materials, it often contains e-commerce and customer service features.

A company .com presence has the highest reach potential impact of branded material, accessible by anyone, anywhere, providing they have Internet access. According to the United Nations, nearly 3 billion people around the world will have access to the Internet by the end of 2014.

When we want to buy something or have a query about a product or brand, what’s the first thing we do? We reach for our laptop, phone or tablet and look for that information on the web. The Internet is crammed full of sites and content, all competing and vying for attention and hits. Localizing your website, its content and user interface (UI), demonstrates your organization is truly global and shows respect to your international customer base.

What are the main reasons for website localization?

To create the best user experience possible. A localized website will increase web visitor retention or “stickiness.” Creating a web experience at a local level speaks directly to your customers and makes them want to buy into your brand promise. We all want to create the best user experience at every touch-point customers have with our brand.

Scaling up global reach of your website will scale up your global business activity. Launching multilingual versions of your company website is a quick and (relatively-speaking) economical way to expand global business operations. Localization can lead to growth and increased brand equity. Content posted on the main website can also be linked and accessed via the growing number of social media channels which enable more two-way conversations with customers. This also means you have to speak to your customers, in their language, in all communication channels that stem from the main website.

To reduce risk. Publishing material in the native language reduces the risk of content being misunderstood and misrepresented. Each geographical territory will have varying levels of standards, best practices and legislation as well as cultural and religious norms that have to be met in order to do business around the world. Access to support documentation in the native language prevents any ambiguous interpretation of content, technical and otherwise.

Many modern websites today go way beyond static information. Many host numerous dynamic elements, often including multimedia components such as video, audio and graphics. As well as hosting a variety of content types, a website also needs to be found and accessed on all popular platforms. Translating keywords is not enough. SEO localization is a key component of a website localization strategy as is adapting website content to be accessible and readable on all platforms, including mobile. Effective website localization requires a multi-tiered global team of web localization experts including globalization advisors, linguists, content reviewers, SEO specialists, web engineers, testers and project managers.

The return on investment of website localization can be measured directly by monitoring the increase in site visitors and sales to each language-version. This makes website localization easily integrated into the overall global business strategy and any budget justifiable to key stakeholders.

Louise Law, Communications Manager at Welocalize

Louise.law@welocalize.com

Welocalize specializes in website localization, working with the world’s leading global brands in driving awareness, reach and engagement across the globe. Contact us today if you would like further information about our web localization experience and expertise. Click here to see Welocalize’s Guide to Web Localization.