Lost in translation?

For international trade, the translation and thus localization of the company's website is mandatory. This applies to the B2B sector as well as to the B2C sector. A 2020 survey conducted by CSA Research reveals that 67% of all consumers prefer to buy products on websites that are in their native language. If you want to be successful internationally, you won't be able to avoid localizing your website content.

Martin Bauer - Managing Director COCO Content Marketing Agency in Munich

Martin Bauer, Managing Director
+49 89 450 993 50

How does website localization work?

Localization and content marketing are closely linked. The translation of texts on the website is an essential part of localization. According to the Harvard Business Review, the majority of users spend time on websites in their language with 72.1% on the Internet.

Of course, there are a variety of translation programs. This means that entire sections of text can be translated relatively quickly. Nevertheless, a good localization requires the post-editing of someone who knows the cultural background of the target group. Especially when it comes to translating wordplay and a certain tone of voice, translation software fails miserably. Especially in online marketing, when translating claims or call-to-actions, people should always be involved.

You should put your language experts through their paces and choose wisely. Languages are constantly evolving and vary depending on where you live. For example, the grammatical structure of Spanish in Latin America is greatly simplified and the vocabulary is often different. Your expert should be proficient in the standard or high-level language. He or she is then responsible for the individual, linguistic adaptation of the content to the cultural background of the countries. This may include adapting product names. For example, Chevrolet made the mistake of selling its "Nova" vehicle model under this name in Spanish-speaking countries, where it translates as "doesn't go." Accordingly, the vehicle was hardly sold there.

Depending on what you offer on the Internet, you should also discuss what language style your translator should implement for you. If the contact with your clients is casual, perhaps in the case of services, a collegial language style is probably appropriate. If the client contact is more distant, the translator should use high-level language with polite forms such as the formal term of address. In English this falls flat, but in almost all other languages it plays a major role in communication. 

Localization behind the scenes: SEO, metadata and the URL structure parameters of the website.

Content that is not immediately visible on the homepage must also be adapted. This concerns scripts, file names, keywords and snippets. A professional website localization requires a lot of competence, perseverance and precision. Nevertheless, the increase in success outweighs the effort of the companies. We as an agency are happy to help you with the localization of your website!

The choice of CMS is also crucial. Some CMSs offer localization plugins that automatically translate the website into the other language and can then be adapted by a professional translator. Depending on the structure of your target audience's language, the CMS should also be able to display other characters correctly. Also, certain changes may need to be made to the text format, such as dates, addresses, phone numbers, time, and units of measurement. If you sell products, prices must also be displayed in the currency of the country. 

To reduce your bounce rate in the countries, you should also adapt your payment method for the products to the habitus in the countries. Do not choose a payment method that is not common there, otherwise your new customers will bounce right back.

In preparation, you should perform an international SEO analysis and also adapt the keyword research to the language and culture of the target audience. A good SEO tool will give you the option to adjust the keywords to the respective countries. For the analysis, you also need some inventory of your website traffic. Find out who has visited your website from which countries so far. For countries that have good traffic even without localization, it is definitely worth expanding the whole thing.

In order for Google and customers to properly assess your site, the URL should definitely contain a language indicator. This can be done either as a subdomain or as a subdirectory with language abbreviations. Of course, there is still the possibility of a country-specific top-level domain of your website, i.e. URL endings that specifically refer to the countries such as .de, .uk or .ch. This would of course be the optimum for search engine optimization in the countries. Also, you should not mix multiple languages on the same page. This confuses Google and the customers!

Lifehack for graduation: Before your freshly localized website goes live, you should put it to the test. During the test run with native speakers, you can make sure that all content is rendered without any flaws.

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Martin Bauer - Managing Director COCO Content Marketing Agency in Munich

Martin Bauer
Managing Director

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Development of the website, appropriate content and meaningful infographics

Do you finally want to conquer the international online market? Then get started with your website localization!

Then we convert all content, such as landing pages, blog posts, etc. into the language of other countries for you. As language experts in your target countries, we formulate or translate your website text so that it conveys the intended message in each language and appeals to the right people. Your company gets a new digital haircut that can be seen worldwide. You've probably noticed it yourself in other media, like poorly dubbed movies: Some statements simply lose their meaning when translated literally, e.g. by translation software. The tonality can be completely changed and therefore your multilingual content needs to be individually revised and developed.

We have the necessary language skills and background knowledge of the cultural requirements of your target countries to properly optimize your website for good localization. By working on the localization of your content, you maximize your reach on Google and gain new customers in all countries!

Frequently asked questions about localization

Originally, the term was associated with location information. However, its function in the network has expanded its meaning. Transferred to the Internet, it describes the process of internationalizing website content. This means the adaptation of an existing website to the international market. Especially if you want to reach a worldwide audience, localization is necessary. First and foremost, localization is characterized by translation into the language of the target audience. Since the translation should appropriately reflect the linguistic and cultural customs of the country, this cannot be done only through translation software such as Google Translate. 

It is not a must, but it makes a lot of sense for many websites in this globalized world. Even if you are not selling a product, but maybe a service provider, you want people to find and read your site on the Internet. You should always keep in mind that while language is the key factor, localization is more than just a rigid website translation. If you decide to localize in countries where you already sell well, try not to make too radical changes. Your customers should not get the feeling that you are now selling a completely different product. However, a thoughtful adjustment certainly can't hurt and will help expand your conquest of the market. In this post you'll find tips on what good localization looks like and what to consider for it.

The more intensively you adapt the content culturally and linguistically to the target group, the better it will be received and rank. You might also want to avoid focusing too much on search engines like Google in your globalization project. In China, for example, a large proportion of people use the search engine Baidu, in Russia Yandex. Therefore, the internationalization of backlinks is particularly important. Every search engine is happy about that, no matter in which country. Image and video material on the website should also be adapted. Symbolism plays a major role here. For example, while in Germany babies are brought by storks according to mythology, in Japan they ride down a river on a peach. For the international brand Pampers, it played a major role in the localization to adapt this image symbolism on the Japanese website. This can avoid unwanted associations. Colors also have different meanings in this world. In China, white is considered the color of mourning, and orange is the color of Protestants in Ireland. If you want to use colors in claims in the content as signal colors, you should also localize the content and make it culturally affine. Especially when localizing a website. After all, this is the digital flagship for companies abroad. 

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