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Posted on • Originally published at strapi.io

Localize Your Content And Succeed Globally

Each global region has its customs, jokes, and different expectations of how content should be presented.

Launching your product into another region requires adequate and precise information about the region you are targeting. Creating content that can appeal to customers in their own culture is imperative as it leads to the success of your product in a different market.

Appreciate the cultural difference and localize your content for different regions that your product is present in.

What pleases a user in Johannesburg might not impress a user in Beijing:

Giant companies like McDonald’s and Nike win more customers through their websites by meticulously localizing their website content.

We will cover the following points in this article:

  1. Importance of localizing content
  2. Consequences of not localizing your content
  3. Factors of localization
  4. Best practices of localization
  5. In conclusion

And we will dive deep into factors and localization best practices that drive your website to localization success.

Importance of localizing content

Localization maximizes your audience globally. There are more than 3 billion people who are using the internet daily.

Localizing your content to many regions allows you to win more customers. Localization broadens product variety, breaks cultural and language barriers. It leads to an increase in sales and product success in different locations.

Consequences of not localizing your content

Once your website is available in any country, and the content is not localized. Cultural differences and language become barriers.

Potential customers are lost due to this:

Users prefer websites and mobile applications that are thoroughly localized to their culture. In the end, your competitor and rivals gain more strength to win more users.

Once your competitor has built a strong relationship with users, it gets harder to win customers in that region.

Preference to Native Language Statistics shows that 72.1% of internet users prefer to visit websites in their native language. Another stat shows that 90% of online shoppers prefer the native language when available on a website. And 78% of online shoppers will surely purchase if the website is localized.~ crystalhues.

Factors to consider when localizing content

SEO strategy

Americans wear pants and play soccer while the British wear trousers and play football.

As you shift your content to focus on various global regions, SEO strategies need to be revised and changed. Using the exact keywords in different locations could lead to failure. Use local keywords, phrases, and backlinks.

What is popular in one location won’t be popular in another location:

As you localize your website, it is imperative to revise your SEO strategy specifically for that location.

Many Chinese residents use Baidu as google, and other American sites were blocked. On the other hand, Russians prefer the Yandex search engine. Suppose you’re targeting any region that doesn’t use Google as its primary search engine.

You must prepare a list of keywords to enhance the website for those search engines. This list will go far in helping you to optimize your website and search engine results page (SERP). You will also need to know your potential customer and their needs when searching for your website in that region.

Cultural sensitivity

Colors have different meanings across the globe. In western culture, the color white symbolizes purity and innocence, primarily used in weddings. While in eastern culture, white symbolizes sadness, and it is often linked to death.

It is essential to question your choices on content if it is relevant to the cultural status quo. Talk to language experts or natives of the location to know more about a specific region.

Currency, numeric formats, and measurements

Nothing frustrates me as using a website that does not use my currency. Suddenly I have to start checking currency exchange rates online. Whenever selling goods and providing services online, use a specific currency for every particular country.

And finally, review tax rates and laws. Present any necessary information to the user regarding tax rates or the law.

People are willing to buy the key point when they don’t have to do currency conversions and calculations to know your online product costs.

Numeric formats differ across global regions. Optimize your website so that the number is suitable for the specific region and finally consider measurements.

In America, they use Miles, and other countries use Kilometers(km). A customer familiar with using Kilometres might underestimate the speed of 200m/h while comparing it to a car with a speed of 210 Km/h.

Customer care service

Product documentation, chatbots, and customer call center have to play a role also. Suppose you are going to localize your website. Customers need the assurance to assist them in a language that they can understand if they experience trouble with your product.

Best practices of localization

Keep track of localization results

Monitor and track localization results effectively to change the content strategy whenever necessary. Your implemented strategy might not perform well as you had expected.

So it is better to use language management systems to track performance rather than waiting for the user’s feedback or change in sales reports to know the outcome of localizing your content. Also, the content strategy should clearly state a backup plan.

Adequate planning

The first step to localization is knowing which content should be localized. What languages will be translated? Create a plan and decision to translate specific languages. Set a demographic target to avoid unnecessary work.

Above all, localization should also be involved in the website design process (at the beginning of the website development stage).

While planning, ask yourself questions such as:

  1. Am I taking the right approach?
  2. How can I plan my SEO strategy?
  3. What is my target market?
  4. Did I network with the right people who know more about the targeted market?

Test your software and proofread

The final content you have been working on has to be reviewed by professional translators and software/UI developers before rolling out the product to the public.

The complete look of the localized content matters the most. Does each piece of the content resonate well with the culture?

Localization testing involves:

  • Testing localization aspects such as content transition.
  • Linguistics.
  • Checking typography and verifying the cultural appropriateness of the user interface.

Externalize all translatable content

Do not hardcode strings. It should translate strings and content to be stored in resource files. In the future, you won’t have to break the strings again if you do this. This will allow translation to be easily carried out and also make the translation procedure highly effective.

This will also improve teamwork as translators work on the resource file containing the resource files, and the software developer focuses on internalization.

Using Unicode/UTF-8 encoding of strings and text expansion

Use the UTF-8 encoding when encoding strings. This encoding supports all languages.

Leave plenty of space for text expansion when translating languages. Translating English to Spanish adds more words, and this affects the user interface. Text contraction might also occur if you are translating English that has lower text length. Keep this in mind.

Conclusion

If you want to succeed internationally, you have to build websites and mobile applications that do not discriminate. Appreciate cultural differences and implement localization best practices.

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