Taking your website global? Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to Website Localisation you can’t ignore.
Get country specific domains
If you plan to target a country properly, that country needs a website designed and built for that audience. For starters you need a local domain name so for example, .es for Spain or .cn for China. Also try and host your website on a server in that country.
Localise don’t translate
Make sure you tailor the language on your website and don’t just translate straight from English copy. English copy is written for English audiences so will be written with certain cultural baggage that may not be understood abroad. Localise our content through using a specialist in that country/language.
Prepare for Internationalisation
When going to the trouble to translate and launch your website, think ahead to other countries you may want to target. Build and design the functionality of your website to be flexible and adaptable so that you have a strong basis to move into other markets in the future.
Think User Experience
User Experience Testing (UXT) involves having people from a target audience using and testing a product; in this case a website. This offers great insight into how your users will react to your website and what elements you can improve to increase “stickiness”.
Target local search engines
As well as Google, Yahoo and Bing it is also important to get links or listing in other local search engines, business directories and the like. For example, if targeting China, you should target Baidu not Google.
Do research, read articles, search competitors online, look at keywords and study the marketplace, culture and language of the country you want to target. Rushing will lead you down the wrong path.
Try and do it alone
If you have never carried out a localisation project before; save yourself the time, energy and money and use a specialist. They will already know how to go about a project like this and can offer a complete service.
Overstretch your resources
Going global can get people excited. However, it is important you don’t do too much. It’s always prudent to start with a few countries to test success, processes and procedures. Once you are confident that things are working well, then start looking at other countries.
Ignore foreign language emails
Through going global you will start to get emails in other languages. Don’t ignore them. A translation agency can offer simple, cost-effective solutions or if budgets are non-existent then you could always fall back on Google Translate at least to understand emails.
Give yourself a tiny budget
If you’ve got a tight budget don’t go DIY and don’t use your friend that knows some Chinese to do the translations. This will lead to disaster. Plan your budget well and if it is still low, speak to some translation companies about alternative solutions.