Which web content should be localised?

Once you make the important decision to localise your website for a foreign market, and select a provider to deliver the project, your work is not quite yet done. It’s equally important to identify which sections of the website should be included in the localisation project, not least from a budgetary perspective.

We usually advise clients who are embarking on their first localisation to omit the following sections:

– News

– Meet the team, or equivalent

– All blog posts

The reason being that this type of contact can quickly become out of date, unless a strategy is in place to manage multilingual updates.

Some sections usually need editing before being localised, to remove any details specific to a domestic market. These include:

– About Us

– Contact us

The way to decide whether content is relevant for a particular market or not is to think “Do my international clients need or want this information?”. If the answer is no, then don’t localise it – you’ll save time and money, and your conversion rate will be higher because the content you’ve provided is targeted and relevant.

When it comes to localising a product catalogue for an ecommerce website, the best approach; and the one that will see the fastest return on your investment; is to select the best-selling products that have already done well in your domestic market, or in other overseas markets you already operate in. If you have conducted market research in the country you intend to target, this will also inform you as to which products will make for a successful launch in that market.

By launching a select range of carefully chosen products in a new target market, you can measure the performance of the localised website over the course of 3 months, and then decide whether to add any more products, or make any other changes.

When managing a global web presence, there are some things you should always localise when creating a multilingual site.

  1. File and directory names: Label files and pages with meaningful names in the target language. This will help your SEO and enable your visitors to navigate easily. A multilingual-compatible content management system should allow this.
  2. Page titles and metadata descriptions: These should describe the page content and be keyword-rich in order to improve your page ranking in search engines.
  3. Images:  Images need to be culturally sensitive. In-country managers will be able to advise on what is appropriate for their market.

To make the best impression; whether you’ve opted for a one-page “Welcome” site with a contact form, or a more comprehensive website with your 50 best-selling products; is to remove any content that is not localised. Leaving text in English looks unfinished and messy – your audience won’t know whether it’s deliberate, and will feel that they are unimportant to your company.

It’s also good practice to label any links so that your international visitors don’t arrive on English content unexpectedly. Managing their expectation in this way will result in visitors staying twice as long on your site, and they will be more likely to make contact with you.

For more tips and advice on localising your website, please get in touch: sales[at]web-translations[dot]co[dot]uk/ +44 (0) 113 8150460.

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