Expanding a business internationally can be a complicated task. One critical dimension to successful outreach and conversion is a solid localization strategy. When you build your website for your home location you consider layout, design, images, font, and target audience. You shape your website to be engaging and approachable, with fluid navigation. You may think that all you need to do to expand internationally is translate the content. However, it is more complicated than that.
Localization is the application of location-specific standards to your content. Not all countries read left to right, for example. Not all words have the same number of letters or symbols or have the same connotation per region. Small local details like this can greatly impact the conversion effectiveness of your website. You want your customers to believe your website was made for them, specifically. That means understanding each market and localizing to their sensibilities and behaviors with cultural context.
Here are five important factors to consider when building a localization strategy.
Your target audience will always be the centre of your business strategy. Your target audience influences how much you spend in outreach. Consider your product - who is interested at home? Are those trends applicable in other countries? Why is there a need for your product in the new potential market?
For example, what may be useful in Mumbai, India, may not be of relevance in rural India. Where Indians officially speak English and Hindi, there are 121 ‘floating’ dialects spoken, based from 22 mother languages. Your localization plan may need to adjust to multiple dialects and communication styles to penetrate your target audience. Check out our blog on the top languages to target.
Determine the Market
Much as you have considered your target audience, you also need to consider your market entry strategy. Localization is relative to both culture and language. Creating one site for China might not be practical. Creating two, one in Simplified Chinese (for mainland China) and two in Traditional Chinese (for Hong Kong and Taiwan), might make more sense if all three locations are key market segments in the region. Are you selling something oriented towards city dwellers? What is their language and culture? These things are region-specific and must be taken into account while devising an effective market entry strategy. Perhaps consider starting small and testing the market with a MVP (Minimum Viable Product).
Know the Laws
Laws differ from country to country so ensure you’re up-to-date on local market regulations and guidelines. Many countries have restrictions on goods, including content. Consideration for religious and cultural standards play into market choices, shifting a culture towards one product and away from another, based on a range of laws and practices. Consider a culturalization review for website or games materials to ensure that you are operating on the right side of the law.
Translation technology has come a long way and may affect the determination of languages useful for your translation strategy. Translation Management Systems (TMS) can help manage your language projects across multiple languages and content types. The application of Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools, terminology management software and testing applications enable consistent on-brand communications across markets. Advances in Machine Translation technology have enabled high-volume content translations in even some of the most complex languages. Check out one of our blogs on the Best TMS systems.
Outsourcing to vendors can ensure that every detail of your localization strategy is covered. The professionals have been doing this kind of work for a long time and have amassed skills, data, do’s and don'ts. While one may use multiple vendors for each element, that may drive higher costs and products may not be congruent. One can work in-house, self-taught, but important details are likely to be missed, as is the case with anyone learning something new. One-vendor outsourcing is by far the most productive method, for timing and cost/ benefit ratios. You can ensure accountability, congruency, and experience when you go with one-vendor outsourcing.
Go with Andovar
Andovar is the best choice for outsourcing when it comes to localization and translation strategy. Not only does the team come with decades of experience, but packages include TMS and CAT, as well as website audit for improvements (such as the use of audio and video), flow, and Multilingual SEO. Andovar’s network and data collection can help improve conversion on your website by applying tried-and-true methodologies.
Contact Andovar today and get your international expansion on a roll.