Advantages of Website Localisation
23rd June 2014
Website localisation is the process of adapting your existing website to the local language and culture of the foreign territory market place. It enables your business to expand its customer list with members from outside your country.
The process of adapting a website into a different linguistic and cultural context involves much more than the simple translation of text. This modification process must reflect the specific language and cultural preferences in the content and images, whilst maintaining the overall integrity, design and requirements of the site itself.
Breaking Linguistic Barriers
The greatest challenges for international businesses are the language barrier and understanding of the culture. A 2015 report, compiled by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) revealed UK businesses are missing out on £48bn a year in revenue to foreign markets because of the failure to address language barriers.
The bottom line is that the target language significantly influences purchases, given that most people prefer buying in their own language.
If you have an e-commerce website, the main purpose of which is to sell your product, you shouldn’t think twice about having it translated into other languages. It will open new markets for you with endless opportunities.
Up to the present time it has been quite standard for businesses to invest in translation and localisation services but with the recent enhancements in automated translation technologies, many businesses are tempted to reduce costs by turning to cheaper solutions.
What many can’t see is that the automated translation tools aren’t reliable enough and the risk of error is still very high. They will not communicate to overseas consumers effectively and this can lead to businesses missing out on sales.
(If you want to read more about machine translation failures, read our articles here.)
If you’re struggling to decide which languages you should translate your website into, read our previous article ‘Why good translation is important in international digital marketing projects’. It will help you analyse your online audience and decide which foreign markets you should approach first.
Credibility is built, based on user experience. Being recognised as an international market player and having website content that is clear and understandable to your target audience is a fundamental sign of credibility. Think of it from the customer’s point of view. Would you submit your credit card details on a website you can’t understand?
Online reviews are a powerful and free online tool that can truly affect your credibility and trustworthiness. According to a survey delivered by BrighLocal, 97% of online users read online reviews of local business, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more.
Why not ask your foreign clients to review your products and services? By providing comprehensive and credible information useful to other users via your website, you only add to your company’s international reputation.
Online users connect so much better with websites in their native language. They find them easier to understand and navigate, and therefore are more likely to complete a purchase and come back again in the future. Client retention is important for sustainable business. If your visitors had a good experience, they are more likely to come back and use your business again.
Having a website that contains cultural variations in terminology, phrases, metaphors and sayings invariably means your foreign customer stays twice as long on the page. Using native translators is critical during the translation stage, as they know the most common phrases used by your foreign speaking audience and are more likely to entice them to convert.
Naturally, you would want your site to rank in local search but for the website to rank it has to be well optimised. Localised content with good levels of keywords density, optimised urls, headings and meta data, combined with high value external links, will increase your domain authority and your organic positions. There are of course other ranking factors you need to consider but having well optimised content on your site is a great start.
The easier it is for people to find you; the more revenue or conversions your website will generate.
Building a Strong International Image
If your website has many selective language options and attracts viewers from all over the world, it will build a strong international image. As new nations join the European Union and workers from across Europe relocate, many companies have been quick to address the different language needs of these newly created migrant markets.
As a business you will want to approach website localisation as a long term investment.
With more and more companies seeking to tap into these lucrative markets, website localisation has become increasingly profitable. Bear in mind that website localisation is not only about translating your onsite content; it is also about doing in-depth research into your target market, adapting the design, technology, images and layout, and ensuring a great user experience!