The Internet is widely considered to be the most revolutionary technology since the printing press. This era of electronic communication has opened up one of the fastest growing business areas: cross-cultural marketing. As we have discussed in previous posts, it is crucial to make sure your website is comprehensible to those in your target country in order for your company to succeed in both domestic and international markets. Thus, an important factor is translating it into the native languages of your target audiences.
The Localization Process
However, translation itself is only one part of a very complex concept called localization. To make the website appealing to your target cultures, we need to go beyond translation itself. Localization is a multi-layered process which requires both linguistic and cultural knowledge as well as programming skills. Linguistic and cultural knowledge encompasses language knowledge, expressions , cultural perceptions, senses of humor, and pop culture. In addition, there are numerous other factors to take into consideration when modifying the content of a website. These factors include date and time formats, currency formats, units of measure, paper sizes for print-outs, sound files, legal conventions, and many other details that a company has to adapt to the target culture. However, all of these factors are vital to connecting with your audience.
Also important in website localization are design elements like images, symbols, and colours. For example, when adding pictures of personnel it is a good idea to tailor them in such a way that they will look appropriate for the target audience. Just like images, symbols can also result in misunderstandings because a particular symbol may be interpreted differently by different cultures. For example, the ‘thumbs up’ symbol has a positive connotation in Western cultures whereas in Sardinia this symbol is considered highly offensive and therefore should be avoided. In other words, localization is a wonderful tool that can help you avoid any cultural misunderstandings and let your website flourish.
Effectively Using Localization
Keeping in mind that the main purpose of a company is to establish international relations, try to answer the following questions:
- What are the aims of the client?
- Why does the client want to use your website?
- What can you offer your clients?
- How can you make your website comprehensible and attractive?
If you want to reach out to international markets, go for it! Website translation and localization is the perfect first step towards your goal.
At LingoStar, we have specialists all over the world that work with every aspect of your website to take it global. We can provide translation and localization services in over 100 languages. Call us today at 604-629-8420 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!