The terms website translation and website localization may seem similar in nature, however, their impact on a website and their significance are quite varied. As businesses and organizations have become more international, designing a website for one country and one language simply isn’t the norm anymore. Websites are not only translated into various languages for users around the world (English, French, Spanish etc.) but they are also adjusted and “localized” as the term says for culture, preference and taste depending on the industry your website targets. Localization refers to many different variables that are taken into account when adjusting a website.
When it comes to people around the world reading a website, the language of your content is a crucial part to their understanding and enjoyment of your material. If you only have one language option, chances are, you are deterring many people from viewing and enjoying your content. The translation occurs when content (that can consist of text, multimedia, ebooks or apps) are translated into a different language.
This method is a more simplistic approach to adapting your website, but still useful when trying to attract a global audience from various countries.
Website localization refers to adjusting not only the language of the content but the website as a whole. When localizing a website to different countries, culture is an important factor that is taken into consideration. Culture goes beyond simply translating the language, but localizing a site tailors the website to a particular country or culture. Aspects of culture can include icons, symbols, colours, foods among many other things that have significance or importance to a group of people. Localizing a website can include improving the customer experience and appealing to a customer’s cultural preferences by adjusting their content accordingly. When adjusting visuals such as colours, shapes, sizes, styles, images, icons and graphics small adjustments may need to be made. In terms of content things such as humour and etiquette are taken into consideration and adjusted to fit societal norms, values, and beliefs. Correcting slogans and catchphrases to enhance cultural appeal can avoid devastating embarrassment if it should become offensive.
The consequences of not localizing your website to different cultures can be dire in cases where translation occurs incorrectly and a joke may become offensive if not adjusted. Several companies have encountered mishaps when not localizing their website content and a phrase that seems completely normal becomes offensive.
In conclusion, top brands and businesses are understanding these days that there isn’t an option to not localize different content as it is good for business and pleases customers. Globalization has affected the world in such a way that people around the world want to access all of the content they possible can and although the process of localizing a website in comparison to simply translating may be a longer one initially, the process will pay for itself in the long term.