3 Ways to Localize Site Content to Attract Global Consumers

Here’s a look at tra­di­tion­al web­site local­iza­tion, glob­al con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem inte­gra­tion and web­site trans­la­tion proxy.

Caitlin Nicholson By Caitlin Nicholson from LinguaLinx. Join the discussion » 1 comment

A web­site is a brand’s vir­tu­al store­front. But are your brand’s vir­tu­al doors open to glob­al cus­tomers?

As a mar­keter, you may wear many hats. One of them may be man­ag­ing your brand’s online con­tent, includ­ing site con­tent. Your web­site is an impor­tant vehi­cle for dri­ving prospects and cus­tomers to your brand’s prod­ucts and ser­vices. And in terms of glob­al mar­ket­ing, a web­site allows you to enter a coun­try with­out hav­ing to estab­lish a brick and mor­tar busi­ness. But are you doing all you can to appeal to glob­al con­sumers? In an arti­cle called “Is Your Glob­al Brand Mar­ket­ing in Your Customer’s Native Lan­guage?” Dan­ny Good­win asked read­ers to exam­ine the lan­guages spo­ken by their cus­tomers. Why is this impor­tant? Mar­ket research com­pa­ny Com­mon Sense Advi­so­ry con­duct­ed a sur­vey called “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy.” And its most recent find­ings show:

  • 55 per­cent of con­sumers pre­fer to only buy in their native lan­guage
  • 53 per­cent of con­sumers are more at ease buy­ing in their native lan­guage
  • 74 per­cent of con­sumers are more like­ly to make a sec­ond pur­chase if post-sales sup­port is offered in their native lan­guage

So if you’re look­ing to local­ize your web­site, what kind of options do you have? Let’s take a look at three choic­es:

  • Tra­di­tion­al Web­site Local­iza­tion
  • Glob­al Con­tent Man­age­ment Sys­tem (CMS) Inte­gra­tion
  • Web­site Trans­la­tion Proxy

Initial Self-Assessment

Before nar­row­ing down your choic­es, do a self-assess­ment. Exam­ine your com­pa­ny, your mar­ket­ing depart­ment, and your web­site close­ly. Ask the fol­low­ing ques­tions:

  • Do you have enough staff in your office to assess inter­na­tion­al­iza­tion of your site, man­age the trans­la­tion process, and host trans­lat­ed con­tent?
  • Does your IT depart­ment have the capac­i­ty to han­dle import­ing of trans­lat­ed con­tent into your CMS?
  • Is your web­site com­plet­ed by a third par­ty web­site devel­op­er?
  • Is your CMS mul­ti­lin­gual friend­ly? (A mul­ti­lin­gual-friend­ly CMS will allow for dif­fer­ent date, time, cal­en­dar, num­ber, and cur­ren­cy con­ver­sions. It will sup­port inter­na­tion­al-friend­ly forms, left-to-right lan­guages, as well as dif­fer­ent types of scripts and char­ac­ters.)
  • Can your CMS inte­grate with trans­la­tion tech­nol­o­gy used by your lan­guage trans­la­tion ven­dor?
  • Does your web­site update fre­quent­ly? (If so, you may need a way to auto­mate your work­flow process­es to make sure that trans­la­tions occur in tan­dem with web­site updates.)
  • Do you want to short­en the “time to mar­ket” for your mul­ti­lin­gual web­site launch?

Traditional Website Localization

First of all, what is it?

Tra­di­tion­al web­site local­iza­tion involves trans­fer of files (man­u­al­ly) from your CMS for trans­la­tion. Con­tent is export­ed from your CMS, trans­lat­ed, and then import­ed back into your CMS. Con­tent is then test­ed for accu­ra­cy and func­tion­al­i­ty with­in your mul­ti­lin­gual site. This is typ­i­cal­ly referred to as local­iza­tion test­ing.

How does it work?

Decide how you want to trans­fer your con­tent to your trans­la­tor. Most CMSs have an export func­tion. Com­mon file types are XML or HTML files. CSV exports are also used. Trans­la­tion tech­nol­o­gy tools can hide tag­ging and only pull text that is required for trans­la­tion. Files are some­times copied and past­ed into a Word or Excel doc­u­ment, which would require cut­ting and past­ing on your side. This may leave a lot of room for human error. Text is then import­ed back into your con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem.

Will this solution work for me?

If your CMS is not mul­ti­lin­gual friend­ly, this may be an approach to con­sid­er. (Web­site trans­la­tion proxy would be the oth­er.) This also works best for sim­pler web­sites with few­er pages where con­tent does not fre­quent­ly change, or if you are only look­ing to local­ize into one or two lan­guages. If you want to have total con­trol of your con­tent and host­ing of your site, this is the best solu­tion for you. This solu­tion involves the least amount of tech­nol­o­gy.

Is there anything else I should know about this solution?

As not­ed, there is high poten­tial for human error. Con­tent is man­u­al­ly import­ed and export­ed. In addi­tion, once con­tent is import­ed, lin­guis­tic and local­iza­tion test­ing should be deployed. After text is trans­lat­ed and import­ed into CMS, a trans­la­tor will want to ensure that all con­tent dis­plays cor­rect­ly and func­tions prop­er­ly for your tar­get mar­ket. This may be charged at an hourly rate.

Global Content Management System (CMS) Integration

What is it and how does it work?

Inte­grat­ing web­site local­iza­tion with your glob­al CMS auto­mates the more tra­di­tion­al web­site local­iza­tion approach. Your CMS must pos­sess the abil­i­ty to inte­grate with a file trans­fer por­tal. (A lot of lan­guage trans­la­tion ven­dors have their own Trans­la­tion Man­age­ment Sys­tem (TMS).) This inte­gra­tion allows for a seam­less trans­fer of your con­tent from source to tar­get. Inte­gra­tion soft­ware is used as a bridge between your CMS and the TMS. For exam­ple, the use of a plug-in or mid­dle­ware.

Will this solution work for me?

If you have a large and/or dynam­ic web­site and a long-term com­mit­ment to glob­al mar­ket­ing, this is a good option for you. All infor­ma­tion is at your fin­ger­tips. This includes keep­ing track of your con­tent, the work­flow process, in-con­tent review, and revi­sions.

Is there anything else I should know about this solution?

Note that CMS inte­gra­tion can be a fair­ly com­plex process. There are ini­tial upfront costs in terms of time and mon­ey. Larg­er cor­po­ra­tions use Enter­prise Con­tent Man­age­ment Sys­tems (ECMs) and are most like­ly to use this type of web­site local­iza­tion.

Website Translation Proxy

First of all, what is it?

Sim­ply put, a web­site trans­la­tion proxy is cloud-based. It is a trans­la­tion lay­er of your web­site that sits between your web­site serv­er and the con­sumer. In this case, your trans­lat­ed site mir­rors the lay­out of your exist­ing web­site.

How does it work?

The proxy serv­er “crawls” your main web­site and pulls strings of text out for trans­la­tion. Trans­la­tion is com­plet­ed by pro­fes­sion­al trans­la­tors and placed back into the proxy lay­er to replace source text for the local­ized ver­sion of the site. This process can be updat­ed reg­u­lar­ly when edits are made to your source site.

Will this solution work for me?

You may find that your CMS does not sup­port mul­ti­lin­gual capa­bil­i­ties. No prob­lem at all! With the web­site trans­la­tion proxy, this does not mat­ter. In short, web­site trans­la­tion proxy is more of a hands-off approach. (If you were a car buy­er, this would be the leas­ing option!) There is very min­i­mal involve­ment for a mar­keter, which leaves you more time for your core respon­si­bil­i­ties. If your con­tent updates fre­quent­ly, web­site trans­la­tion proxy pro­vides an auto­mat­ed work­flow to make sure that trans­la­tions occur in tan­dem with web­site updates. This is also the best solu­tion if you have a short “time to mar­ket” for your mul­ti­lin­gual web­site launch.

Is there anything else I should know about this solution?

With the web­site trans­la­tion proxy solu­tion, the local­ized site mim­ics your source site. There­fore, any changes made to the local­ized site will have to hap­pen to the source site first. Also, any add-ons such as cat­a­logs or any upload files or PDFs will need to be trans­lat­ed sep­a­rate­ly and uploaded to the proxy site. Today’s glob­al envi­ron­ment demands a mul­ti­lin­gual com­po­nent to any online pres­ence. Hav­ing a local­ized web­site is absolute­ly nec­es­sary to com­mu­ni­cate with inter­na­tion­al audi­ences and com­pete in the glob­al busi­ness are­na. As a mar­keter, weigh the options you have avail­able and decide which solu­tion works best for you and your com­pa­ny.

Caitlin Nicholson

Written by Caitlin Nicholson

Business Development Specialist, LinguaLinx

Caitlin Nicholson is a Business Development Specialist at LinguaLinx, a translation and global marketing service provider that works with thousands of clients and linguists around the world.

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