Every year, reaching a diverse global audience becomes increasingly crucial for companies looking to expand their online presence. And it’s no surprise, as content is the linchpin in connecting with potential customers. But what if your target audience speaks different languages or lives in different regions?
The answer is obvious: take advantage of the art of content localization. Follow this guide, where we will detail the intricacies of content localization, tell you how to develop its strategy correctly, and make your content more relevant.
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Why is Localization Important for Business Development
According to The Future Shopper Report 2023, based on a survey of more than 31 thousand shoppers in 18 countries, 58% of consumer spending is now online. It means that the Internet has long been an influential space for communication, shopping, and transactions. Adapting content and products for different cultural and linguistic groups of consumers is no longer just an option but a necessity.
Thus, localization is a solid foundation for building an effective business on a global scale. Attracting new audiences from different parts of the world is only possible with proper translation and adaptation. Experienced companies understand that investing in localization is the key to success in a foreign market and an effective strategy for retaining and expanding their target audience.
Localized products exist inseparably with consumers’ culture, language, and lifestyle. It makes communication clear, compelling, and convincing. In other words, you must tailor your message to your target audience’s cultural, linguistic, and regional preferences.
You must realize that it’s not just translating but creating a deep connection that goes beyond words. That’s why a well-thought-out content localization strategy can play a significant role in increasing the relevance and reach of your brand. So, let’s look at this issue in more detail.
Improving user experience: Localized content shows the company’s respect for local values, creating a welcoming atmosphere and a sense of belonging. Customers are inclined to cooperate more closely with those companies that speak their language and understand their needs. And this dramatically increases the chances that they will explore your offerings and eventually become buyers.
✔️ Differentiation: Due to localization, the company can differentiate itself from competitors, as it provides a more staffed and adapted product.
✔️ Empowering SEO: Localizing your content impacts your SEO efforts. By including region-specific keywords and phrases, you can increase the visibility of your content in local search results, attracting organic traffic from specific regions.
✔️ Global expansion: Content localization is not an option for companies focused on international markets but a necessity. It lays the foundation for a strong presence in new regions, bridging the gap between your brand and local consumers.
These benefits are available if you properly implement translation and localization management to ensure continued success in international markets. After all, the speed and availability of information offer businesses great opportunities to reach audiences worldwide.
Now that you’ve seen the importance of content localization (we hope so), let’s move on to the most exciting part of our article: developing a solid strategy. For your convenience, we will provide this material as a table.
|Know your audience from the inside out
|Start by conducting in-depth market research. Understand your target audience’s preferences, cultural nuances, and pain points in each region. This knowledge will become the foundation for building your localized content.
|Create customized keyword lists
|Keyword research is at the heart of SEO, and content localization is no exception. Develop localized keyword lists for each target region. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner provide invaluable information on regional search trends.
|Localize content and visuals
|While accurate translation is critical, content localization involves more than just words. Ensure idioms, cultural references, and visuals match the preferences of your target audience. Consistency of language and tone promotes trust.
|User Interface Adaptation
|Consider adapting the user interface to regional language and cultural norms for digital platforms such as websites or apps — every detail, from navigation menus to currency and date formats, matters.
|Continuous testing and optimization
|Monitor the effectiveness of localized content regularly. Analyze engagement, conversion, and bounce rates for each region. Use the data to refine and improve the content.
|Use localization tools
|Use technology and specialized software solutions designed for content localization and translation management. These tools simplify the process and ensure consistency across all localized content.
The last thing we want to discuss in this article is the difficulties of localizing content or what can go wrong. The most challenging thing about localization is appropriately adapting the content to a specific audience. It’s not just about the text — images, interface, sound, and all the elements the audience encounters are localized.
For example, 05.10.2023 will be perceived differently in different countries: October 5 in Ukraine, the UK, and Germany, but May 10 in the US. Another important nuance is changing the length of words, sentences, and lines when translating into another language. For example, translating English into Spanish or French may result in a 20-25% increase in length and up to 35% in German.
Translated text from English into Swedish, on the other hand, is reduced by about 30%. If you are localizing into Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, or Korean), be prepared for vertical expansion of the text and increased spaces between characters. Therefore, leaving enough free space when designing interfaces and page structures is necessary to avoid future localization problems.
However, the main issue often encountered due to a lack of experience, budget, or time is mistakes in the cultural adaptation of content or its complete absence. The closer your content is to your customers, the more it matters. In some cases, non-localized content can lead to misunderstandings, product neglect, and even adverse reactions from customers.
For example, an English text imbued with extraordinary humor will “fall apart” when translated into German, and your global product will look like global nonsense. Images also need to be localized: the scorching African sun may not resonate with a Swede across the Arctic Circle; a stork carrying a baby will not evoke any associations with the Japanese; a girl with freckles is unlikely to appeal to Koreans.
And when you use certain emojis, colors, songs, religious symbols, or historical figures, you risk running into a wave of hate and accusations in regions where they have the opposite meaning or attitude. These seemingly trivial things are essential when entering international markets, so you must treat localization comprehensively and responsibly.
Content localization is not just about translation; it’s about creating meaningful connections with diverse audiences worldwide. By applying content localization, you can make your content more relevant, expand your global presence, and stand out in the competitive online arena.