How to localize your site?

This post tell you how to localize your site, which benefits you can from localization, what you need for cooperation with a translator. Well, let`s start.

Translation trends

Localize your site or not?

In the era of globalization and conditions of scientific and technological progress, each company has its corporate website. For a company, the site can play the role of a business card or information source. A website is an advertising tool or an internet platform for the sale of goods and services. Certainly, it is necessary to create a website in their native language. According to the international consumer preference survey conducted by CSA, the more complete the product is in the client’s native language, the more likely it is to be purchased. During site creating, you have to pay attention to your clients preferences. For example, their national and cultural characteristics. So, it is necessary to do site localization or localize some part of your site.

On the other hand, 61% of international companies face particular difficulties in promoting their goods and services in foreign markets. The reason is they face to cultural and communication barriers. In accordance with Common Sense Advisory study of 400 B2B clients, among corporate clients in 10 countries [where English is not an official language] 84% of clients tend to order goods and services online that are described in their native language. 85% of clients need technical support in their native language after making a purchase. For this reason, a translator plays a considerable role in a localization.

To help your business, you need someone who knows how to localize a site and have an experience in localization. Localization is a set of methods for linguistic and cultural adaptation of a software product for use by a user. For instance, this user can be from a specific region, country.

Which benefits can you get from the localization?

If you localize your site or find a relevant specialist, you can find that the most apparent advantage of localization is the increased loyalty of those groups of users who prefer to perceive information in their native language. Besides, it is the improvement of the brand image. A multi-lingual site makes your clients to think that your company can at least afford it and thus takes care of its customers. So, to localize the site is worth it, if:

1) Your company has foreign clients and partners;
2) You plan to expand abroad;
3) You position yourself as an international company.

Structure of site localization

The process of localizing the site can consist of a set of several stages:

1. Regionalization is about to bring the text into compliance with regional standards of the selected country—the local language, units of measurement, data formats, alphabetical sorting, etc. When considering the national mentality, note the use of color schemes. In Western Europe, red associates with danger, white with purity, black with gloom. In China, on the contrary, red means joy, and white means mourning. There are differences in the format of writing a postal address, date, and time. Thus, the pattern of address in the UK is as follows: house number, name of street, city, index, country name. In Russia, the name of the street, the house number, the name of the city, the country, and the index are different. In China, in other words: index, country, province (or autonomous district, city of central subordination), city, district, street, house.

2.  Translation of the site user interfaces into the target language.

3. Adapting the content of the site to the cultural specifics. For example, checking the acceptability of the symbols used, color combinations, audio files, etc.

How to prepare before site localization?

To perform the localization of the website must be prepared and transmitted to the translator:

1) Terms of reference for the localized version of the website;
2) Source files of the website in a specific format;
3) Terminological glossary (list of basic terms).

The Terms of Reference is the basis for calculating the cost of localization of the site. The customer can make a decision and specify in terms of reference what should be translated and what not. The availability of source files (HTML, XML, and doc) simplifies and cheapens localization, as well as saves effort.

The localization of a website may face specific difficulties: technical and linguistic. The first category should include the difference in the length of words in different languages, the level of localization of the website, checking the standards of website markup. The contrast of the word length in the source language and the style of translation cause the need to change the size, location, and alignment of elements of the user interface of the site.

For example, during translation from English to Russian, the word length may increase by one and half times, from English to German – by almost 30% more, from Chinese to Russian – by nearly two times more. “Exit” and “Выход” do not differ much in length; there is already a significant length difference between the German word “Beenden” and Chinese 退出, which affects the design of the website. Further, you can decide what translator will translate and what he will better leave unchanged. Incorrect translations can sometimes cause web applications to malfunction. Finally, one last type of technical problem: you should take care of the correct sorting, etc.

Difficulties of localization

As for linguistic difficulties in the process of localization of the company website, the following points can be highlighted: lack of context for translation, different rules for changing words in different languages, and the accuracy of translation of terms. A translator may face the problem of a lack of context.

Translation of linked texts or sentences is not tricky, while window names, pop-up prompts, and screensavers are often composed of predefined word combinations and multi-digit words, and it may be difficult for the translator to understand the context in which a word or phrase for use. In cases when the same term may be translated into Russian differently and the context is missing or insufficient, the translator should contact the customer for detailed information. The following aspect: changes and translations of narrative, subject, and numerals. Changes and translations of a predicate depend not only on the number but also on the type of item.

Linguistic testing

Linguistic testing is a significant step in localization and an essential part of translation quality control. The localized files are uploaded to the website, and then the translator looks at the screen by screen. He assesses the translations in context, makes sure that there is no cropped or untranslated text, examines the correctness of the fonts, and additionally checks the text for grammatical correctness, recording all comments in a particular form.

Further, the necessary corrections are agreed with the customer and added to the working files. It notes here that recently the development of any application is always accompanied by strict standardization of terminology. If the customer provides a ready-made glossary, all problems are solved by its preliminary translation and strict control of using only the recommended vocabulary. Harmonization of Help System texts and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is also essential to consider in the localization process. Description of these problems shows that adaptation of the application is a time-consuming work, which includes several tasks: translation of text files; adaptation of information to the specifics of the market and national mentality; “adaptation of the graphical interface and the code of the site – menus, buttons, code elements intended for search engines” and so on.

This publication dealt with issues related to the beneficial effect of localization of the company’s website, its necessity, and relevance, the order of localization, types of difficulties arising in the process of localization, the rule of interaction and cooperation between the customer and the translator. If you have any additional questions or want to place an order, Aleksandr is happy to provide you with a comprehensive answer and start mutually beneficial cooperation.