Localizing a website can require significant time and resources, but a strategic approach can yield increased traffic, conversions, and revenue. However, avoiding common website localization pitfalls is crucial to ensure success.
The following article will explore eight of the most prevalent website localization challenges and errors.
By identifying these potential roadblocks and providing guidance on overcoming them, we aim to help you optimize your website localization efforts and achieve your desired outcomes.
1. The quality of the translation
Research has shown that high-quality translations are critical for businesses to establish a successful online presence. A study by Common Sense Advisory found that 72.4% of consumers are more likely to buy a product or service if they can get information about a product in their primary language.
Accurate translations are essential for reaching potential customers in foreign markets. Poor translations can quickly turn customers away, losing sales and revenue.
While hiring a professional translation agency may be the most reliable way to ensure high-quality translations, it can be costly for some businesses, especially startups and mom-and-pop shops.
I recommend a hybrid approach which is powerful yet cost-effective. You can use an automatic translation tool like Linguise and hire a native speaker through freelance platforms to review and make necessary corrections.
So businesses must prioritize translation quality to succeed in global markets. By using a hybrid approach and investing in high-quality translations, companies can increase their chances of success and expand their reach to new audiences.
2. High cost of translation
Cost and quality are two sides of the same coin, and businesses must strike a balance between the two when it comes to website localization. While high-quality translations are essential, companies must also manage costs and avoid overspending.
Consider using automatic translation tools if you need more resources to translate website content independently or hire freelancers from freelance platforms. With modern website localization tools, it’s now possible to integrate your website with AI tools like Google Translate or DeepL easily.
This approach can help you save on costs and speed up the translation process by automatically translating your website content. You can hire a professional to review and refine the translations to ensure accuracy and quality.
3. Difficult updating and maintenance
One of the most common challenges faced by website owners during the localization process is the maintenance and upkeep of translations alongside the primary (native) version of the site. The lack of tools that enable easy updates makes this task more difficult.
While traditional translation agencies often deliver their translations as Word documents, this approach becomes impractical regarding smaller, ongoing updates. This can be frustrating for website owners who need to keep their translated content up-to-date.
Fortunately, if your website runs on WordPress, you can use Linguise as your translation engine. This tool lets you edit translations piece by piece through a user-friendly interface. This way, you can keep your translations up-to-date and maintain them alongside your primary site effortlessly.
4. Cultural nuance
Website localization is about more than just translating your website content into another language. While translation is a crucial process component, you must consider other factors.
Communication patterns that work well in one language may translate poorly into another. Common and effective expressions in the source language may be less effective in the target language.
Additionally, elements such as the date and time formatting, distance, and currency may differ from one country to another. You must consider these differences during the localization process to ensure the website is culturally appropriate and effective in its target market.
Let’s take a random date, like 03/08/2023. For a person in the US, this is March 3. For someone in Paris, for instance, it is the 3rd of August.
5. Not localizing images
Your images need some localization treatment to match the cultural nuance of your text. For example, if you’re writing for the French market, you might want to use imagery that reflects this and resonates better with the visitor. Or you might have images containing text in a specific language.
6. Not handling RTL scripts properly
Based on research data from W3, over 2.3 billion people globally use right-to-left (RTL) scripts, with Arabic being the most widely used language. This statistic emphasizes ensuring that websites are compatible with RTL scripts.
It is not merely a matter of displaying text from right to left. Instead, it is crucial to consider the site’s design to ensure that it remains coherent and effective in RTL scripts. Ignoring this aspect of web development could potentially exclude a significant proportion of internet users, making it imperative to prioritize RTL compatibility in website design.
Modern automatic translation tools like Linguise support RTL languages by default.
7. Broken characters and other technical issues
Computers can handle the Latin alphabet easily. You’ll hardly ever find websites that display Latin characters in any broken way.
Many languages, however, use all sorts of accents and diacritical marks (é, ë, ø, ż, æ, č, ŭ, ą), which can create problems for sites that don’t support the correct character set.
8. Not doing multilingual SEO
SEO is crucial for the success and visibility of any website. However, more than a one-size-fits-all approach to SEO is needed for localized websites. To achieve the best results, each website locale must be treated as a separate entity with specific optimizations for the primary language version and all additional languages.
Unfortunately, most translation engines do not have built-in capabilities for these specific optimizations. Website owners must proactively optimize their website(s) for each language version.
This may include conducting keyword research in each language, optimizing meta tags and descriptions, creating language-specific sitemaps, and developing backlinks in each language.
If your site runs on WordPress, you can work on multilingual SEO through a solution like Linguise. The process itself is very approachable. Check these two guides: Multilingual SEO and Google Search Console tips for multilingual SEO.
I hope this list of the eight most common website localization problems will help you improve your site and ensure that audiences around the globe can enjoy it. And most importantly, it will purchase your products and services with confidence.