Localisation Tips

Expanding your business internationally will lead to demands for effective translation of marketing material, business documents and service texts. Amongst these items, the business website and social media platforms will need to be translated and in order for this to be done effectively, a detailed focus needs to be applied to the target market and the way in which their cultures and behaviours can impact upon their preferences and decision making. With this in mind, all translated material should benefit from localisation considerations to ensure that results are effective, relevant and appropriate.

 

How successful your translated material will be will largely depend on how well your target audience receives you material and how easily it can be interpreted and empathised with. Localisation efforts aim to ensure that the human element of business is reintroduced in the translation process and strives to include target market cultures, laws, social behaviours and consumer attitudes into the final translated products. This means that the end result will have paid consideration to the buying habits of the target market, local grammatical considerations have been applied and that graphics are relevant to the target country. Without localisation, translated materials seem less relevant, ill-suited, unprofessional and do not promote confidence within the consumer. Below are some tips to consider with regards to localising your business translations.

 

Understand the Target Market

Successful localisation and translation, relies upon a thorough understanding of the target market. Through using tools such as Google Analytics, it is possible to gain a wealth of information about target markets by highlighting the demographics that are visiting your website and their location. With details such as these, you will be better placed to translate and use appropriate localisation to ensure that your marketing and business material is as effective as possible.

 

One Website or Multiple Websites?

When deciding to take on a localisation project, it will be necessary to decide whether to set up multiple websites under one domain or whether to allow each website to have a senior level domain such as co.uk. This is referred to as a TLD strategy and either choice can bring benefits to your business.

 

If you choose to have one website with numerous sites, management will be much more simple and operational costs will be reduced as you will only need to pay for one domain. Some of the world’s largest firms, such as Panasonic, have adopted this approach and this means that when a user visits an international site, they are directed to the company’s main site and redirected to the translated pages.

 

Alternatively, you may choose to set up numerous websites that are relevant to the target audience. This means that Search Engine Optimisation is dealt with more favourably as a single root domain will be given for multiple websites that are set up in numerous languages. It is important that Google is informed if you intend to target same-language countries such as the UK and America in this way as they may otherwise penalise your company for duplicated material and this will have an impact on rankings.

 

Graphics

When undertaking a localisation project, it is important to recognise that graphics are as important as words when translating material to suit a new market. Capturing the interest of an international audience will demand that you make all content relevant and this means that graphics should use models, images, scenery and locations that are applicable to the target country.

 

Using images of people, buildings, scenery and activities that are appropriate for a European market for a Chinese target are likely to make your project seem irrelevant, unprofessional and encourage your target audience to immediately discard your offerings. Instead, take the time to use location-appropriate graphics as this, married with the translated and localised text of your material, will ensure that the target market can relate to your offerings.

 

Consider SEO and Keyword Relevance

One of the prime mistakes that many companies make when translating their websites for international markets is to not consider keywords and SEO strategies. Even some who undertake localisation considerations have failed to recognise the importance of addressing multilingual SEO approaches. It is vital that as part of your localisation efforts, you invest effort into understanding the keywords for the target region as these will differ from location to location.

 

It is important to recognise that there are language differences within one country and that this can impact on the SEO strategy. A prime example for English speakers would be the use of words such as ‘roll’ and ‘bap’ or ‘tea’ and ‘dinner’. Ensuring that your content and SEO considerations acknowledge these differences will enable you to ensure that the keywords that you use are effective. Never assume that keywords from one country will be relevant to another and don’t rely upon literal translations of keywords as being effective as it’s highly unlikely that they will be.

 

It is also important to consider which is the most used search engine in the target country as each engine makes use of different algorithms which will determine where a site will rank. Although Google is the most widely used search engine in the West, Yandex and Baidu are more popular in some countries in the East and so it is important to understand how these engines work to ensure that your localisation efforts will be applied to the best capabilities.

Emma Tidey
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