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.
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.
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.