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Technology 03.06.17 BLOG 

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Localizing Your Website

By Johan Höök, Regional Director of Business Development

Localizing Website

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Localizing Your Website

Today, more and more businesses understand that a multilingual web presence has a positive effect on conversion, direct revenue, and long-term brand building, but few have a clear picture of how to get there. Before you dive into a new website translation project, be sure to fully explore these five questions:

  1. Why are you localizing your site?
    Before getting into the details of the how, who, and when, you need to be clear on why you are localizing your site. Is your goal to increase direct conversion/revenue in the short term, or is a localized web presence part of a longer-term brand-building initiative? How does the effort tie in to your company's overall global strategy? Understanding the why up front is crucial to forming a goal-oriented plan and measuring the success of your efforts in the future.

  2. What are your short- and long-term measurable objectives?
    Once you have defined the why, it's a good idea to define your benchmarks for success. If one of your goals is increased conversion, set your goal for improvement (a 30% increase over current conversions, for example). If you are looking to build your brand image, what are the objectives and metrics to measure? You will find that once you identify current baselines and future objectives, building the internal business case for the project will be much easier.

  3. Who should you work with internally and externally to create the most cost- and time-efficient process possible?
    How do you localize content today? Do you have internal in-market resources translating directly into your CMS or do you outsource to a language services provider? If you outsource, do you have your own in-country representatives you trust to "own" your brand voice and review the translated copy provided by the vendor, or do you need help to find these resources?

    Your desired timeline is an important consideration when determining how to allocate resources. A professional translator can typically complete around 10 pages per business day, while internal resources (who may speak the language, but have no background in translation) are generally half as fast. Translation teams can be scaled up to speed turnarounds, but at a certain point, quality and consistency start to deteriorate. (If one layman can build a house in 1,000 days, it does not necessarily follow that 1,000 professional builders can build it in one day.)

    Working with one central language services provider has time and cost benefits, but means it's harder to manage change and expectations within your organization. Using local suppliers is typically less politically sensitive, but requires significantly more project management effort and internal resources.

  4. When do you need the localized sites launched?
    The time/cost/quality triangle is just as relevant to web localization as it is to any other project, and overly optimistic planning of timelines can have a substantial impact on cost and quality. Technology and automation can significantly speed the translation process, but implementation processes must be factored in to the overall schedule.

    At the planning stage, before you set a hard date for when the localized sites must be launched, involve an experienced language services provider to advise on infrastructure, process, and resources, and work backwards from your intended launch date to arrive at a balanced plan that adequately weights deadlines against quality and budget expectations.

  5. Which solution is right for you?
    A web localization solution consists of three interconnected parts: infrastructure, process, and resources. The infrastructure—which supports your process and resources—can be configured in a variety of ways:

    • A hands-off proxy solution where all you need to worry about is your master language content
    • An enterprise-level translation management system integrated with your CMS, PIM, and/or marketing automation system
    • A hybrid solution utilizing some combination of the above

    The process is determined by your goals, objectives, available resources, and infrastructure. What resources you will need to allocate will depend on the infrastructure and process. Full-service language services providers—offering technology solutions, process consultancy, and expert language resources—can help you design the solution that best fits your requirements.

When you plan your localization process with the above questions in mind, the likelihood of reaching your goals—on time and on budget—is much greater. And the earlier in the process you can answer them, the better.

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