This is an archived site
This site contains information from September 2006 - August 2020. Visit the current site.

Global Web Experience: Localize and Internationalize

Image(s) included
Post a comment

Companies seeking foreign audiences with their websites will want to either localize or internationalize their site, or provide a mixture of both processes. Forrester Research notes that "visitors linger twice as long [on international sites] as they do at English-only web sites; business buyers are three times more likely to buy if addressed in their own language; and customer services costs drop when instructions are displayed in the user's language."

Localization consists of adapting one’s website to meet the linguistic, cultural, and commercial requirements of a targeted market. Internationalizing a firm’s website enables the company to be multilingual and to be sensitive to cultural conventions without the need for extensive redesign. Localization or internationalization must be part of the online exporter’s corporate strategy for website and business development.

Features that should be considered include:

  • language

  • cultural nuance, such as differences in color association and symbols

  • payment preferences

  • pricing in the appropriate currency

  • web metrics and visitor reports

  • regular maintenance and updating

Before building a multilingual site, establish standards and an international corporate style guide to save you and your translators a great deal of time and money. This creates an organized structure for your web site content, reduces inconsistencies across languages, and minimizes edits. Overall, don’t forget the following:

  • Write clean and simple sentences.

  • Use boilerplate terminology, brand names, and legal information that has been “pre-tested” for any translation/cultural problems.

  • Avoid humor.

  • Avoid analogies that don't make sense in other cultures, e.g. “time is money”, “throw caution to the wind”, and “down to the wire”.

Globalizing online content is more important than ever. The total spending power of online consumers around the world is nearly $50 trillion, a recent Common Sense Advisory report found.

More information on localization and internationalization can be found at the Globalization and Localization Association or W3C website.

Image Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Sales and Marketing

Sales and Marketing

Conducting Business Online

Conducting Business Online

Technology and Business

Technology and Business