Going Global? The Importance of Localizing your Website

This is a guest post by Nick Strozza, Interpro Translation Solutions


go globalIf you want to compete in any market, you have to be able to communicate with your audience. When you consider a global market, there is more involved in this than just translating your website’s content — it means adapting your content completely. Selling online- doing eCommerce localization correctly is going to be critical. The same can apply to selling on Amazon, other platforms, and offline channels as well. All of this has to be done correctly, otherwise, you can risk offending potentially offending a culture, and you might never get a second chance to reach these customers.

To begin, let’s start by thinking about what the term Localization really means. According to the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA): localization (also referred to as “l10n”) is the process of adapting a product or content to a specific locale or market. While very important, translation is only one of several elements of the localization process (source).

Localization 101

GALA’s website also mentions that in addition to translation, the localization process may also include:

  • Adapting graphics to target markets
  • Modifying content to suit the tastes and consumption habits of other markets
  • Adapting design and layout to properly display translated text
  • Converting to local requirements (such as currencies and units of measure)
  • Using proper local formats for dates, addresses, and phone numbers
  • Addressing local regulations and legal requirements

Bottom line: The outcome of localization is to give a product the look and feel of having been created specifically for a target market, no matter their language, culture, or location (source).

Website Localization Process and Services

purchasing online


Keeping this definition of localization in mind, let’s tailor it to websites specifically. Website localization can take your content from being one-dimensional to a multilingual platform for your entire audience, no matter what language they speak. From web copy and multimedia to graphics and navigation, website localization services (when done correctly) promise to immerse your company into the local culture and language of your target audience so you can bridge the gap between your consumers and your business. Ultimately, this increases your chances of winning over business with multilingual consumers.



A business website is a no-brainer for any company looking for success. Global success undergoes proper research to ensure that your website is available for all cultures, languages, and regions. Website localization entails adapting your current website to the culture and local language, including regional dialects and nuances, of your target market. With more than half of all small businesses operating a website, and more than half of the internet population speaking a language other than English, it is well essential your time to consider if a localized website is worth the investment for your company


Website localization isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. It is typically continuous and requires more adjustments and improvements than meets the eye. No matter what your website entails, a professional localization company should be able to guide you through the entire process of localizing and adapting your online and interactive content, including graphics, multimedia, audio and visual components, and database content, including SKUs.


There are a multitude of options available for you to select from when thinking about localizing your website, and you will find pros and cons to any option. From automated machine translation options, to working with an internal resource or freelance translators, there are many ways you can go. Working with a Language Service Provider (LSP), such as Interpro, it ensures you will have a dedicated partner for all languages required. Scalability, turnaround time, quality, and reliability are some reasons why working with an LSP makes sense.

Files for translation

Each project and website is different. Typically, Interpro’s engineering team will work with our clients’ IT team or web development firm to optimize the file formats required for translation. Usually, a CMS that allows export and importing of localized files works best. File formats can vary from XLIFF, XML to CSV files. At Interpro, our team prepares files upfront where they can be localized and returned in the same file format provided.


people looking at laptopTranslators should be professional, full-time human translators located in the target country you are localizing for. For example, if your target is Canada, for the best quality possible, your translators should be located on the ground in Canada. Using in-country translators ensures that you are working with linguists who are immersed in the culture and up-to-date on the latest and greatest terminology. Translators should also be paired by subject-matter expertise. You wouldn’t want a manufacturing translator localizing nontechnical content. The translation workflow should entail translation, editing and proofreading, done by different sets of eyes in the process.


In regards to the translation process, an initial step can be to have your selected translation partner create a style guide and template to make sure that your localization is consistent throughout all of the pages, content, and other components. The style guide can help keep your business’ “voice” and brand, and can include the tone of your website, whether formal or informal, branding elements unique to your target language and dialect, and any specific formatting needs. Your translation provider should also manage the translation of static and dynamic content pages so that your audience feels comfortable, secure, and welcome from the first visit to your website, while keeping terminology consistent for the long term. Consistency and accuracy is critical in any type of marketing.


With speakers who embrace and live in the culture, they can be sure that they are creating the perfect localization of your website for your target audience. Let’s take a simple example.  If you own a wedding website, you may have several images of white dresses on the main page or as your logo. But if you’re targeting a Chinese audience, localizing your website may mean changing some of those dresses to red as that’s the traditional wedding color in China.


After your website localization is complete, the final step should be an online quality-assurance check which is also performed by a linguist reviewing the entire website side-by-side with the source English version. This happens before delivery, and is the final sign off of quality done by a native speaker.


Updating Your Website


Your website is going to change along with your industry, the growth of your business, and the needs of your target audience. This doesn’t mean a complete overhaul of your website every time to meet localization standards. There are two options at Interpro for updating your website once your localization services are complete.


  1. The traditional option allows clients to send us content as it changes. We scan the file, identify the changes, localize the new content, and send it back to you in the original format.


  1. The technology-based option eliminates the need to send files. Instead, anytime you add a product to your page or make a change, we are notified about it and the translation needs.


Website Localization done right


The website localization process isn’t as overwhelming as you may think. If you’re unsure of which option is best for you, look for a localization partner (like Interpro) who can be your guide to help. A localization partner will work with you to develop a customized approach for handling any and all changes to your website, as well as provide insight as to how to optimize the workflow of your localization and content. No website localization is the same and whether you’ve had your work translated before or are new to the game, a true partner can make it as seamless as possible.






1 Comment

  1. Nick ! I agreed with your point of view about website localization process in which you have rightly pointed out the understanding of target audience language and culture. If any firm or organization is still unable to understand it then they have to get a local partner on board. Thanks.

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