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Knowledge of Cultural Differences is Important in Website Localization

by Aug 4, 2014blog

Sean Hopwood
MBA President and Founder at Day Translations, Inc.

Globalization means you are targeting different audiences. Website localization will profit greatly from your knowledge of cultural differences.

Website localization is a top priority for today’s businesses that are going global and the best way to profit from this is to have knowledge of the cultural differences to make websites responsive to the specific target audiences. Website localization is an investment that needs to be carefully thought out before the contents are translated.

Business owners must define the target audiences for the website localization and the languages into which the website will be translated. Website localization simply means that the main company website will be modified for foreign users by using text in their language, together with culturally-appropriate layouts, designs, colors, symbols, photos and graphics. Language barrier is overcome by website localization, which could result in greater target audience reach and increased web traffic.

Advantageous to business

Website translation and localization demonstrates that you are a credible entity vis-a-vis competition. It announces that you understand the culture of the target audience and their life pattern, habits and needs. It also shows that you respect the country’s culture when you have your website translated and localized.

When your website has been localized and translated, your website will be added on the search engines in a foreign language, and you will have additional visitors to your site, which could eventually turn into sales. Website visitors stay longer on websites that are available in their own language, which will generally benefit your business.

Website localization means that you will be able to cross language barriers. While 32% of Internet users worldwide are not native English speakers as of now, the figure is bound to increase with the rapid rise in PC ownership in Europe and outside North America. Your business will be available to other continents through website localization. While English is still dominant other languages are getting popular, such as Chinese, Arabic, Spanish and French. If your website is not yet localized by now, you will be playing catch up pretty soon.

Investing in website translation and localization increases your revenue. When your website is localized, it is easier for potential consumers to understand your company and your products and services, thereby giving you more access to foreign customers.

Meticulous process

Website localization is not easy to do, that is why it is also considered as an investment. A very good translator is required – someone that understands the target culture and language’s idioms and phrases, beliefs, symbols and value systems, as well as the regional variants.

Effective website localization comes from a better understanding of your target audience’s culture and language. This means that you will not be using colors and images that would be offensive, graphics that are confusing and text that have different meanings. There are also countries that decode messages based on their cultural expectations, with some countries falling either under high context or low context category.

High context cultures such as Greece, the Arab nations and Japan place emphasis on cultural values like working as a group and on family life. Visuals are more important to them than text. Their learning is done through group work and demonstration and messages are settled in the past. Change for these cultures happen slowly. They are drawn to websites that have plenty of interactive elements, graphics, sounds and animations.

In contrast, in the low context cultures such as the Scandinavian countries, Germany and the United States, a person’s identity comes from his or her personal achievements. They tend to put more emphasis on text and words, with direct and clear communication. They highly value individuality, personal space and privacy. They learn through instructions and later attempt to do it on their own. Changes in this category happen fast and speed is valued.

Website localization is much more than just translating the content into another language. It involves the understanding of the cultural expectations of the target audience for web design and visual communication, with materials that appeal to their cultural preferences and values.

Sean Hopwood
MBA President and Founder at Day Translations, Inc.

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2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Hi Sean! Thanks for sharing this article emphasizing the importance of cultural aspects in every localization project, I agree with that. It should be a principal priority when targeting new markets. According to a new report released by Lionbridge about the state of website localization, many companies are focusing their efforts on it, but there are still others without such a strategy. I’ve been reading here some interesting findings about this report : https://aboutlocalization.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/lionbridge-released-the-2015-state-of-web-localization-report/

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  2. Avatar

    NEEDS OF MASSES DEPENDS FROM PLACE TO PLACE, TIME TO TIME, AND REGIONAL ASPIRATIONS AVAILABILITY OF RESOURCES: – VS REMUNERATING FEW FOR PROMOTING DEMAND #CONSUMERISM FOR SELFISH BUSINESS GAINS IGNORIING MASSES.

    Gandhian TALISMAN AS GUIDELINES FOR DECISION TAKING

    Talisman of GANDHI FATHER OF the NATION INDIA as written by him in 1947 for Decision taking by all Resourceful PERSONS Corporates, NGO, BANKS & Parliament of India for upliftment of their Souls and Natural justice.
    WHENEVER You are having A NUMBER OF OPTIONS before You and unable to decide the Right Path Think of the weakest poorest person and think which path is going to help him the most and You will be able to choose the Right Path.
    Alas under influence of Pseudodevelopment Materialism Consumerism and Nehruvian path being different than Gandhian path we had ignored the same for decision taking by Financing policies of our Banks and other decisions of Parliament of India.
    Gandhiji further said on 15.8.1947 Freedom not yet received. We had never tried after 1947 for Freedom of his Dreams Empowered Partyless Panchayat with Right to Elect Leaders / Servants of India Elections of Nil Expenditure.
    May be he was able to guess the path of our leaders after freedom as being influenced by western culture ignoring his book of 1909-32 HIND SWARAJ.
    His Book of 1909 – 32 #MKGHINDSWARAJ Ignored Under INVASION of CAPITALISM PSEUDO DEVELOPMENT #CONSUMERISM Implemented via monpolistic BANKING Policies Financing Materialism vs financing production by Human Skills Work for All.
    GANDHIJI was able to foresee the side effects of this industrialisation as explained in Book of 1909-32 #mkghindswaraj by GREEDY TOP vs pyramidal form of power top drawing power from base. But in present system even father son duo are not accomodated in system for power game.
    So he resigned Congress in 1934 but sacrificed his life for nation till 1948 when he was fed up of NEHRUVIAN POLICIES and wanted to die due to BLOODSHED of Partition and Division of India.
    This fact is well explained in his message just less than 20 Hours before his death as per back cover of Book ASSASSINATION OF GANDHI FACTS VS FALSEHOOD.& Ignored even in Museums & Exhibitions.
    INDIAN Legal System is Same AS BEFORE 1947.
    Patriots Come Forward and think for NATION otherwise you will not have any time to REPENT for Global peace. Gandhiji was a Global Man and had not written HINDSWARAJ 4India only. Avoid Wastage of National Funds in Elections Media Leg pulling avoid in national interest. Burning foreign currency as fuel of vehicles vs swawalamban.
    FOLLOW #MKGHINDSWARAJ BE UNITED VS BEING DIVIDED ON LINES OF SEX REGION RELIGION PARTY WISE FOR VESTED #CONSUMERISM RESOURCES IN FEW HANDS.
    Gandhian Education system based on training of skills to next Generations to make them swawlamban is Missing we are unable to have Yoga in MBBS Education for Medical Practitioners going to take care of health of 125 crore citizens. Our Health care is capital intensive for few peoples. Why Cooking Education is missing in Schools to promote marketing of Junked food Pizza Burger Chips via marketing by Railways vs fresh home nutritious food. Media ignores information about his Economic Policies and Book Hind Swaraj from masses even on the date of his Birth and 30th January.
    Shri RAJIV DIXIT ji Contributed a lot for National interest but ignored by MEDIA TV CHANNELS & BHARAT SWABHIMAN TRUST OF SWAMI RAMDEV JI AASTHA & DISHA & Other Religious TV Channels.

    GANDHIAN ELECTION SYSTEM IN BRIEF (SYNOPSIS)
    •WE / MASSES SHOULD KNOW THEIR CANDIDATES / PROSPECTIVE LEADERS / SERVANTS OF INDIA PERSONALLY BY DEEDS VS SPEECH ONLY. THEY SHOULD BE WELL INFORMED OF THEIR ACTIONS THEIR ASSETS SOURCE OF INCOME WHICH IS POSSIBLE IF CONSTITUENCIES ARE TOO SMALL AND 5 PANCH + 2 REP FOR COORDINATION WITOUR H OTHER PANCHAYAT FOR SUBJECTS OF MUTAL INTEREST BE ELECTED.
    •DECENTRALISATION SYSTEM OF DEMOCRACY REPRESENTATIVES DRAWING AUTHORITY FOR DOING ANY THING FROM HIS ELECTORATE MASSES.
    •PARTYLESS DEMOCRACY OF GANDHIAN DREAMS WITH NIL EXPENDITURE OF GOVT PARTY AND CANDIDATES IN ELECTIONS.
    •7 REP TO BE ELECTED FOR SAY 3000 SUCH SMALL CONSTITUENCIES OF DELHI – EMPOWERED PANCHAYAT FOR DUTY TO DO WORK OF CORPORATION, JUDICIAL INVESTIGAATION AND RIGHT TO ELECT 70 + 7 MLA AND PARLIAMENT.
    •1 VOTE = OF THESE 7 REP VALUED = NO OF VOTES RECEIVED BY THEM IN ELECTIONS OF PANCHAYAT / MOHALLA SABHA / SAKHA TOLLI IN PRESENCE OF REP OF ELECTION COMMISSION.
    •IF THE NUMBER OF CANDIDATES INTERESTED TO CONTEST IN PANCHAYAT ELECTION IS MORE THAN 30-50 THEN TWO TIER VOTING IS POSSIBLE FIRST ALL CANDIDATES CONTESTING AND TOP 15-20 CANDIDATES AGAIN CONTESTING FOR ELECTION OF 7 REP.
    •INDIA AS A POOR COUNTRY CANNOT AFFORD TO WASTE HUGE EXPENDITURE FOR ELECTING CORPORATION MLA / MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT REP – WHO ARE UNABLE TO TAKE ANY RESPONSIBILITY VS NEGOTIATING WITH MULTINATIONS FOR DOING BUSINESS IN INDIA TO USE OUR MASSES TO BE SOLD AS CONSUMER ONLY.
    •THE CANDIDATES CONTESTING SHOULD BE TEE TOTALLERS WHO CAN SPARE THEIR AT LEAST 10 HOURS DAILY FOR SERVICE TO HUMANITY AND THEIR FELLOW BEING.
    •THEY SHOULD BE REASONABLY PAID REMUNERATION FOR THEIR BASIC NEEDS AS PER MINIMUM WAGES ACT APPLICABLE FOR UNSKILLED LABOUR. THEY SHOULD BE WILLING TO WORK FOR THEIR OWN AREA AND /OR NATION SELFLESSLY WITHOUT ANY PROFIT MOTIVE.
    •THEY SHOULD BE CONFIDENT ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO EARN THEIR LIVELIHOOD EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT ELECTED BY MASSES.
    •THERE CAN BE A RESTRICTION FOR MAXIMUM WEALTH OWNED BY THEM IN THE NAME OF THEIR FAMILY OR THEMSELVES.
    •THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO MOTIVATE RESOURCEFUL PERSONS / CORPORATES TO WORK / CONTRIBUTE IN LIGHT OF TALISMAN OF GANDHI SELFLESSLY.
    •BEING WELL INFORMED ABOUT GROUND REALITY OF TRUTH AND FACTS THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO INFORM COURTS FOR THE SAME SO THAT THEY CAN TAKE RIGHT DECISION VS BEING DEPENDENT ON WITNESSES PURCHASED BY MONEY POWER OR INFLUENCE OF CHAIR

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