Degrees of Website Localization

To make their services attractive for an international audience and encourage cross-cultural communication, companies have started translating and localizing their websites. Website localization is a complex, multi-layered process which must be performed by industry professionals who know how to modify information so that it appeals to the target culture.

There are different degrees to which a website can be localized. A basic taxonomy proposes a distinction between monolingual, bilingual, and multilingual sites. Which option you choose depends on the language policy or marketing strategy that your company uses for business communication. Most often, the localization level depends on the importance or size of the local market or audience.

Singh & Pereira (2005) suggest five degrees of localization: ‘standardized’ (one website for all countries), ‘semi-localized’ (one site gives information on many countries), ‘localized’ (a whole translated site for each country), ‘highly localized’ (translations and culture-specific adaptations), and ‘culturally customized’ (a new site completely adapted in the target culture). However, we can also find many intermediary stages between these five degrees. For example, general website information can be translated, but specific terminology remains in the source language. Such a concept is called a mode of ‘standardization’.

How do organizations choose a particular option? In a market environment, decisions about localization degree highly depend on Return on Investment issues. It means that companies analyze whether the potential benefits of the localization process outweigh the initial investment needed for production of a localized version.

What we observe today is that localization is in very high demand and quite profitable because organizations benefit greatly from localized websites effectively communicating their values, products, and services to international markets.

If you would like to know more about how localization can help you expand your business and go global, check out our free ebook – An Introduction to Multilingual Website Translation Guide!

Here at LingoStar, we provide translation and localization services to any degree that you wish for your company website. We work with specialists all over the world who can perform translation, website localization, SEO optimization, and other website services into over 100 languages. Call us today at 604-629-8420 or send us an email at for more information on our localization services!