When you’re ready to move your business onto the international stage, localising your website for global visitors is crucial to your success. The only problem is, localization isn’t always easy. Plenty of challenges stand in the way of creating a beautiful website that’s accessible and relevant in every language.
Below, you’ll find some of the most common obstacles preventing you from localising with ease and what you can do to overcome them.
1. A Modest Budget
Cost is always a considerable concern for businesses. Whatever your budget maybe, you have to follow your bottom line — whether you’re an existing conglomerate with headquarters on every continent or just making your first expansion overseas.
If you have a limited budget to localize your website, you may consider using machine translation to offset your costs. Professional machine translation software can compute large volumes of web copy under a short timeline as a faster, less expensive alternative to human translators.
Many international companies use a human-machine hybrid that leverages speedy machine translation software to translate the bulk of their project before a human translator proofreads the results. These qualified translators act as quality assurance, as they’ll catch any errors made by the algorithm.
This technique (called post-editing) helps you get the best of both worlds; you’ll reduce your localization costs without sacrificing quality.
2. Differences That Go Beyond Words
Although the language may form the biggest barrier preventing you from communicating with a global audience, some differences run deeper than words. You also have to consider cultural norms, expressions, and symbolism when localising content for international visitors.
Superstitions surrounding the number 13 provide an excellent example. Many elevators omit a button for the 13th floor in the US — not because there is no 13th floor in these buildings but because there’s a belief it’s unlucky to label a floor with this number.
In China, on the other hand, 13 is an auspicious number that means “assured growth”, so this number is present in every elevator across the country. However, you’ll likely see the number 4 missing from these elevators because it sounds like death when spoken in Chinese.
Catching differences like the one above is another role of the human post-editor in machine translation. As native speakers of the language and experts of the culture, they can suggest more appropriate alternatives in their place.
3. Web Design
After building an attractive website, you might think you only need to swap out translated text blocks to localize it. However, there are the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) factors to consider.
UI and UX are closely related principles. Together, they create a visually stunning website that streamlines design features that support easy browsing. If you don’t remember to involve these elements when localising, you can run into some problems. Here are some of them below:
- Failure to translate text overlaying images or infographics
- Site templates that don’t support right-to-left writing systems, such as Arabic, Persian, or Hebrew
- Navigation buttons that don’t fit the translated call to action
The Bottom Line:
Your website is a reflection of your brand. To make the best first impression possible, you should invest in a plan to ensure your localization project won’t run into these challenges.
Leave a Reply