Knowing and following best localization practices is critical to successfully accessing global markets.
When mapping the essential steps a company has to follow to succeed in its internationalization, it is common to focus on a number of key points: from studying the potential new market to choosing the expansion strategy to follow.
In these operations, localization might be overlooked or relegated to the background. It is, however, as we have said, a step that must be taken.
Localization can be succinctly defined as the set of operations that a company carries out to adapt its messages to a specific language and culture. From your website to your marketing and communication campaigns, it consists of making any changes needed to language at all levels (campaign messages, tone, images chosen) to ensure that the company connects with its new customers.
All the data point to the fact that different localization efforts and practices pay off. Several studies estimate that companies that have localized their websites see their sales increase by between 25% and 70%.
With its acute awareness of the importance of localization, SeproTec has developed this guide covering the main best practices in localization and laying the groundwork for successful international expansion.
Best localization practices: why localize?
Despite living in a globalized world, end customer decision-making is still largely driven by the need for information in their own language. Some 76% of consumers say that if they had to choose between two similar products, they would pick the one with the product information in their own language. (Source: CSA , Can’t Read, Won’t Buy – B2C Study, CSA).
In other words: effective (and successful) communication in global markets means offering services and products in the customers’ own language. And this is precisely what localization does.
Applied to web content, apps, digital marketing campaigns, multimedia files, or customer communications, best localization practices create the groundwork for an extraordinary customer experience in the new marketplace that results in positive outcomes.
Top 5 best localization practices
1. Having specialized translation services
In terms of quality and clarity, not all translations are equal. Achieving smooth and frictionless communication with new customers requires finding the right words, grammar, and even tone.
Best localization practices therefore include putting the linguistic services of translation and interpreting center stage and building a strategy up from there.
2. Guaranteeing a consistent user experience
Consistency in the user experience is another basic tenet of branding in a new market.
It ranges from the company’s ability to effectively manage content (e.g., distributing materials correctly across all its digital platforms) to ensuring that it doesn’t contradict itself in its brand or product messaging.
One of the key tools here is creating company-specific glossaries, determining which terms and phrases should be used to describe your products or services.
3. Consider machine translation
Machine translation consists of using different technologies to automate much of the language translation-related work. Today, the formula involves creating an effective collaboration between humans and machines, so that their forces combine. Professional machine translation engines are trained and are fed new content on a regular basis and although they allow for different levels of service depending on the client’s needs, we highly recommended opting for the service option that includes light or full post-editing by a professional translator.
The introduction of machine translation has opened the door to faster and more economical translation services, which can be the right answer for certain business needs.
4. Analyze and adjust your brand’s tone and “voice”
The tone and “voice” of a brand are, in a way, what determine the personality of a branding strategy. A more formal tone conveys seriousness and authority, while using more informal language means you want to be closer to your customer.
One of the most important best localization practices is for companies to analyze what kind of tone or “voice” in their language is being used in the current market, and how it will work in the target market. Some minor adjustments might need to be made if you see that the tone you’re using won’t work for the new market and its culture.
The work of expert translators and interpreters in this area is, once again, crucial.
5. Keep localization in mind in your design, too
A company’s visual identity should have a place in the top localization practices.
You should study the type of images that will have the greatest impact on the new culture. You should also remember that some languages require more space for writing, some less, some are written from top to bottom, some from right to left.
To ensure the best result, web and graphic design work should take this into account and work hand in hand with the translation and interpreting team.
Best localization practices: when should you start localizing?
Best localization practices dictate that ideally all localization processes should be in place and ready to go from the very beginning of a company’s global expansion. That said, it’s never too late to start: with the right support, you can transform a company’s communication strategy and successfully localize it.
At SeproTec we work to become a key partner in localized content management. In addition to our translation services we also provide language consulting and localization services.
Through the alliance between our human team and state-of-the-art technologies, we guarantee successful localization based on the added value of our customer service and the reliability that decades of experience in the translation industry have given us.
Want to learn more about best localization practices and how to activate them for your business? Get in touch with our team and find out how we can help you today.