Web localisation is a key practice for any business targeting audiences in multiple countries. Whether your mobile app is built for users around the world or your eCommerce brand is expanding to nearby countries, your content and software platforms need to be localised for each market.
The concern for many businesses is the growing list of web localisation tasks needed to maintain a website, publish content, run advertising campaigns and everything else it takes to market your brand. The key is having an efficient website localisation process that hits targets with minimal fuss – and here are five ways to improve your own.
Create everything with web localisation in mind
The biggest mistake many companies make is leaving it too late to consider website localisation. The danger is you end up making more work for yourselves by creating material that increases the time/workload of localising it later on.
Let’s say you’re building a new website. If you wait until you’ve finished the English version to start the localisation process, you’ll have to start picking apart code to rethink your navigation, edit content and translate your page copy – none of which sounds like much fun.
It’s far more time and cost effective to localise your designs first and build your site in a way that’s easy to implement other languages in the future. This way your web localisation process will be far less painful and you’ll be in a better position to add other languages/target audiences in the future, too.
Get developers with website localisation experience
We talked about code a little bit in the point above and you’ll be calling upon developers a lot as a modern business. Aside form your website, there are mobile apps, email marketing campaigns, chatbots, API integrations and all kinds of new technologies you’re expected to keep up with.
So it’s important you’re able to call on developers who have solid localisation services experience. The way they structure their code is pivotal to any kind of software/platform localisation and getting this stage wrong can make a real mess of things for you.
Keep records of everything
Great web localisation is a process that never ends; it’s constantly improving and streamlining the process. Which means you need to keep records of everything you do throughout your localisation projects.
First of all, this helps you go back and update your localisations as market environments evolve – but that’s not all. Chances are you’ll want to target additional audiences in the future and having data on all your previous localisation efforts is the best way to improve your process over time. This way you’ll learn from your mistakes and successes, but also get more productive at repeating similar localisation tasks.
Get audience feedback
Internal data is great for improving your localisation process but user data is even better. So don’t be afraid to get feedback from your target audiences because these will often reveal your biggest mistakes – and ones you’ll never spot yourself.
Show your audiences that you’re constantly trying to improve and listening to their concerns. You’ll find your customers keep coming back for more, stay loyal to your brand and recommend you to others in a flash.
Automate everything you can
Fundamental to our own localisation services is being able to automate a wide range of key tasks. We’re able to do this thanks to keeping records of everything we do for our clients (as recommended above), having years of experience in the field and having built our own software platforms to make localisation more efficient.
We’re not talking about machine translation here or any piece of software that claims to do localisation for you. You’ll want to avoid anything that promises to do that kind of stuff.
Instead, we’re talking about automating the workflow between different departments and your localisation experts. Things like collaboration tools and project management platforms that keep everyone in the loop. You can also save coding templates that are optimised for localisation so your developers don’t need to write everything out from scratch. Or automate your data collection so you’re constantly learning from everything you localise, without taking anyone needing to collect the information manually.
Improving your localisation process is never about cutting corners or taking shortcuts. Quality should always be the priority and your long-term aim is to hit the same targets at a lower cost and/or in a shorter space of time. If you’re not able to do that or in-house localisation isn’t an option, then your best bet will be to find an agency with a track record for getting localisation projects done in an effective way.