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How to Localize a Website in 2023

Verity Hartley at LanguageWire Verity Hartley , Marketing Specialist, LanguageWire ||  Reading Time: 4 minutes

Website localization is the process of adapting your website to speak to a specific local audience or target language group. This can involve translating the website's content into a different language, as well as adapting the website to better match the local culture.

In this article, we'll explore the importance of website localization and look at the key parts of a project to ensure that your localized website effectively connects with your target audience.

The Importance of Website Localization

In today's globalized world where everything can be reached online, it's more common for businesses to operate in multiple countries and regions. This presents a growing need for people to understand each other better not just only through language but also through cultural understanding. We may even speak variations of the same language, but still experience very different lives.

It is important for businesses to have a website that can speak to a global audience. A website that is not localized may deter potential customers in other countries, as it may not be accessible or relevant to them.

Localizing a website can help businesses tap into new markets and expand their reach. It can also help businesses better serve their existing customers in other countries by providing them with a website that they can easily access and understand.

Additionally, website localization can help businesses establish trust and credibility with their international customers. Customers are more likely to trust a business that takes the time to speak to them in their own language and understand their local customs and expectations.

The Process of Localizing a Website

So, how does one go about localizing a website? It is not a simple project and will require some significant changes to your existing website both in terms of content and technology.

In this article we are just looking at some key steps involved in a website localization project, but if you would like a deep dive, consider downloading our step-by-step checklist that will guide you through the process.

Here are the key stages involved in a website localization project.

Identify Your Target Audience

The first step in localizing a website is to identify the countries and regions where you want to reach customers. These may be in global markets, or new language groups within existing markets.

Making a list of who your website could reach will help you determine which languages you need to translate your website into and what cultural differences you need to understand.

Translate The Content

Once you've identified your target audience, you can start thinking about how your content will work in different languages. You need to consider what to change, what to remove and a what additional content to create in the target language.

Some content that you may not realize that also needs translating are your targeted keywords. These will also change as you attempt to attract business in global markets so ensure that you speak with an SEO professional who understands how to prepare your website for international search engines.

Human expertise is an important part of the process here. It's important to get advice from professional translators who are native speakers of the target language, as this will help ensure that the translation is accurate and reads naturally.

Make Changes to Your Designs

In addition to translating the content of your website, it's also important to adapt to local cultural norms and expectations. This may involve making changes to the layout and design of your website, as well as the tone and style of your content.

Colours and imagery can have very different meanings in other languages and need to be reviewed. Run your video content past native speakers to ensure that the visual message is the same and don't forget to add dubbing and subtitling so they are understandable to all audiences.

Localized Website Testing

Once you've localized your website, it's important to test it to ensure that it's functioning properly and delivering a good user experience. User experience plays a large part in how you rank within the search engines, so your website needs to be accessible, fast, and easy to use.

This may involve testing the website on different devices and browsers, as well as asking native speakers to review the experience and give feedback before you launch to a wider audience.

Website Localization is an Ongoing Process

Cultures and languages are always developing and changing and so should your global website. Website development and international SEO is never a one and done project, you will need to keep reviewing and changing all versions of your site throughout its lifetime.

Hopefully, this short guide has given you some insight into how to get started with the process of localizing your website. If you would like more insight into how to build a global website that engages your audiences, then please reach out via the form below and we'll be in touch.

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