And businesses now put a lot of focus on online presence for obvious reasons. But to operate globally, your business website needs to be accessed from your target locations and understood in different languages.
Localization is not simply a translation of the text but also a thorough study of the target country you want to expand to. It can either bring you success or doom to failure. To avoid the latter, keep reading the article to learn more about how poor localization can damage a company’s reputation.
Poor Literal Translation
When an item is translated literally, its meaning changes because the concept and context are lost. The text does not make sense in the target language. Literal translation ignores the purpose of the messages that you would like to convey to your customers. You can imagine how dull and dry advertisements can sound when translated word for word. The literal translation in technical documents (e.g., manuals or guides) can appear misleading or confusing. That’s why it is advised to use certified translation agencies. You can simply find them by typing in Google best translation services in Oxford or other cities where you are located.
The layout principles may vary from one language to another. For instance, the format of your text is different in German and English. Therefore, make sure that your website looks good in other languages as well. Besides formatting, there are other localization mistakes you need to avoid:
- Lengthy sentences – make sure that your sentences are shorter than ten words each. And try to use short sentences with active verbs.
- Grammar errors – make sure that you hire a professional localization provider that knows grammar rules in target languages.
- Typos – this may seem obvious, but it is very important to proofread all content carefully before publishing.
- Spelling – make sure you have someone from the target country review your website for correct spelling and punctuation.
- Capitalization and numbers – check if you used capital letters appropriately and if there are any mistakes in numbers (e.g., using 10 instead of 1 or vice versa).
- Regional terms – make sure you check if there are any regional terms in the language of your target country, like idiom or slang expressions.
Lack of Local Content
Your website must be 100% localized, which means it offers local information about your products and services and is available only in local language. In order to achieve this, you need to translate all content on your website, including images, video and audio files as well as product descriptions and prices. It is also crucial to offer the same service/product information to your customers worldwide. For instance, if your website presents a history of your company or an overview of your business model, it needs to be translated into local language with correct grammar and spelling. If this information is missing, it will lead to negative consequences for your company’s image.
How Can You Avoid These Mistakes?
Before you prepare your website for localization, make sure that you have a clear strategy and goal. The information on your website must be relevant and informative to the target country. If you are running a global business, it is vital to localize your website. Otherwise, you will lose customers, and it will cause financial losses as well. The main goal of a localized website is to attract new customers who are interested in your products and services.
Ensure that your company has the resources to translate your website into other languages and set up social media accounts for each new language. It can be quite costly, but if you do not have that kind of budget, there are still some ways to save money and invest in an efficient localization strategy:
Take Advantage of Free Online Translation Tools
Many free online tools can help you translate your website into different languages. For example, Google Translate is free and can be used to translate texts from one language to another. But it is not always accurate because it translates words by their meaning rather than their syntactical structure.
Use Machine Translations
If you are only translating your website’s text, using machine translations may save you time and money. Nevertheless, do not rely on these automated translations for important information like product descriptions or explanations of services. You can also use them for texts with simpler syntax, like product category names or call-to-action buttons.
The key to success is to have a strong online presence. But if you do not take time to localize your website, your business won’t succeed in the long run. Investing more time and effort into localization will help you attract customers globally and increase your company’s reputation.
Localization does not guarantee immediate success, but it can help you become more competitive on the market and attract new customers who speak other languages. Pay attention to mistakes during localization, make sure that your website has high-quality content. Lastly, experience the culture inside out!