(Originally posted on June, 22, 2015)
I’ve been asked a few times to speak about the benefits of successful website localization. Thought I’d explain my top ten tips on the ALC Blog.
All of these items are great value adds for your clients and offer you the chance to offer your client more.
Here are my top ten. I know there are more… please add them to the comments.
#1 Avoid Concatenation
Concatenation (taken from the Latin concatenare, which means ‘to link together’) is taking two or more separately located things and placing them next to each other so that they can now be treated as one thing.
When you translate a website you’ll see this with character strings (sometimes called strings). They are concatenated to save space or so that they are addressed as a single item in the code. This makes the code more efficient in the English version but gives us real problems when we localize as groups of words are put together dynamically based on English rules. We all know how complex and different each language can be.
It simply doesn’t work. Please avoid.
#2 Native Files
We say this every time and almost every time we don’t get them. Please include all of the native files in the localization kit. Just think how tricky it is squeezing expanded text onto images and then times it by ten because you have airbrush out the English text first. If you don’t send them in we sometimes have to originate the images. And no, a PDF doesn’t help.
#3 Split A/B Test
Split A/B testing your pages means you show two versions of the same page to the end user, measure which one works the best and then improve. Repeat until your page is perfect. Its a great value add for your clients as they have invested the time into localizing their website a few specific tweaks on the content or design for each region will improve conversion ratios.
#4 CMS Support
Its very rare actually now for a CMS to not support multi-lingual versions of its pages. This can either be out of the box or via a 3rd party plugin.
At a very minimum you’ll want to look for support for, XML (or other structured) export/import, full unicode support, ability to input non-English text directly, media management support and the ability to push/pull content an FTP site (or similar). A great tool for comparing CMS is CMSMatrix.org.
#5 Local Domain
Google has worked a lot on localization and in any country where you will market the site (for instance with, link building + AdWords + other ads) it is worth having a localized domain name. The benefit of localized domain names is not only the algorithmic benefit of being a local fit, but also the perception of increased relevancy. When you use a local extension people are more certain of currencies, shipping norms & other cultural marketplace issues.
#6 Rank Locally
We want your clients’ localized websites to appear in the local search engines. To do this there needs to be a local marketing campaign for each language version of the website. Would also recommend hosting each version in-country and reputation servers. There may also be specific webmaster guidelines for each search engine (not everyone using Google).
Google tells us that duplicate content is spam, spam is removed from the search engines. So what about translated content? The answer here is to use the correct schema. How to do this? I great place to start is Google Webmaster Tools.
#8 Test Using Natives
Once the site has been localized, re-built and is ready for release testing it with natives in-situ is a great idea. This will help you spot specific things that you only ever would in-context. For extra points test with the local demographics that the site will be aimed at.
#9 Agile Project Management
Agile Project Management is an iterative method for the management of fast pasted projects. It works very well in Software and as an extension works very well in website development and localization projects. Using this methodology will help you to become closer with your client and get localization involved earlier on in the project (always a good thing).
#10 Localize Social Media
A great way to drive relevant traffic and gauge what local consumers think of the localized product in-country is through Social Media. For it to work it needs to be in the relevant language. As with all things what works in one country might not work in others, for instance social media in China is very different to the US.
So there you go… Its my top ten (or ten things I do when I’m localizing a site for a client). I know there are others… why not show my you’ve read the post and leave a comment below, would love to hear from you.