12 Localization Mistakes to Avoid for Hassle-free Global Success
By: Ricky vela
Different countries of the world have distinct cultures that shape their consumer behavior. Global companies that are successful in the world try to launch things in a foreign market according to the customers’ preferences. Altering your products and services according to demands and regional intricacies is called localization.
In every localization project, you need to add or alter the content and make your product user-friendly. For this, you have to know the language and consumer behavior of the target market. If the localization process is not according to the dynamics of the target market, then you won't be able to reach the potential customers and can face heavy losses.
Although English is a global language, do you know that 80% of the world’s population are not native English speakers? Therefore, to reach them effectively, many companies include localization in their business strategy. We are living in a fiercely competitive world where everyone is toiling hard to make their name in the global business world. Localization will help their brand to stand out. Before going through the localization process, you need to study the culture of the target market and try to work with a professional localization team.
Due to the pandemic COVID-19, many people have shifted their businesses from brick and mortar to e-commerce. Thus, e-commerce has become a flourishing industry in the world. For the success of an e-commerce business, you need to localize the content of your website. Therefore, for this, you must find a localization specialist with language proficiency. The culture of the target market should be depicted in your e-commerce website content. Multiple languages are spoken in the world. Therefore, you must localize your content into multiple languages regularly. For this, you have to work hard in the localization process. What is the use of all these efforts, if you make mistakes?
Let’s identify 12 localization mistakes to avoid for hassle-free global success.
1- Considering Spaces
Do you know that translated content merely fills the required space after translation? Because of this reason, translation and localization should be taken into account from the start. This is because different languages consume different spaces. For example, a basket in English is written with 6 characters but when it is translated into German, it turns into 13. You must consider the difference in space during the website design & development, otherwise, you will ruin the graphics of the website.
2- Integration of Different Links Together
It is the most common localization error that is made by the developers. Integrating links is suitable for the native language, but when you try to translate a website into multiple languages, then it creates a problem. Integrating the string is just like not considering the space. This is one of the biggest errors that occur in the localization process. Each string of the website should be coded separately. In this way, the translators can work with them easily and can translate the website into any required version.
3- Not Using the Unicode
Unicode is a type of program that deals with different languages. Therefore, if you want to localize your website in multiple languages, then Unicode will restrict the translation of the content into other characters. To get this error rectified, you must use UTF-8. This ensures the use of UTF-8 for each line in your database. It standardized the coding from the browser to the server. 85% of customers will not browse your website because you have bad designs with long texts. Make sure you don’t make this mistake.
4- Use of Odd Idioms
If you have to communicate with potential customers in a friendly tone, you don’t have to go for word-to-word translation and don’t take the help of translation memory because they translate idioms and metaphors word to word and ruin their essence. This mistake was made by KFC while entering the Chinese market. They translated the slogan Finger-licking, saying eat your fingers. Therefore, instead of word-to-word translation, you should go for transcreation services so that the intended message of the text is not changed.
5- Considering the Language and not a Locale
One of the most important localization errors is to consider language and not locale. In this way, you will hamper the opportunity to reach potential customers. If you are creating the Spanish version of a website, then why not go for different versions of Spanish. This is because Spanish people speak different dialects. Moreover, Spanish people that are living in different parts of the world have different beliefs and preferences. You need to go for a different URL structure if you want to target the market of Spain, Peru, and the Hispanic community of the US.
6- Not Translating the Names of Places Properly
The names of the country and the places hold great importance for the potential customers. The names of the countries are changed when you translate them into another language. For instance, England when translated to Danish turns into İngiltere. In the same way, Italy, when translated to the French language, is called Italie. Therefore, you don't make the mistake of transliterating the names of places from one language to another. For this, you need to carry out thorough research to avoid mistakes in such translations. Otherwise, people of the target country will feel insulted.
7- Not Supporting Different Text Orientation
Not every language script is written from left to right and top to bottom. For example, Arabic and Hebrew are written from right to left. The Japanese language is the only language that is written vertically. In addition to it, East-Asian languages like Vietnamese and Korean have a background in vertical writing. To accommodate all such types of writing orientations, your platform should support them otherwise, the localization process will become a great hassle.
8- Not Changing the Payment Modes
Many payment modes are used in different parts of the world. Despite including things in their cart, potential customers back off if they don’t find payment mode convenient. Make sure you don’t make such a blunder. People in North America use credit cards and PayPal. Polish people like to pay through PayU. Moreover, the Sofort is the preferred payment mode for German shoppers. For selecting the preferred payment mode, you have to do market research in the target market to know popular payment modes.
9- Including Images with lots of Content
Images included in the localization process helps to reduce the costs. Moreover, it helps in a better understanding of the products and services. Sometimes, it happens that you include so much text in the images that it becomes difficult for the translators to translate. It slows down the entire translation process. Moreover, it costs you more. It is better not to include text in graphics and treat text as a separate entity. Also, give attention to detail to cultural and regional images, as they carry different connotations across the borders.
10- Keeping Content in One Language Only
Website content that also includes blogs, and posts plays an important role in the success of your business. Unfortunately, if you keep this content in the English language only, then you will not be able to reach the masses that speak different languages. To create awareness about your products and services, you must do partnerships with local bloggers and professionals to provide information to potential customers in their native language.
11- Not Considering the Local Regulations
Legal obligations and e-commerce practices vary from region to region. You must know these regulations so that you can abide by them easily. For this, you can hire a legal translator from a professional translation agency. They have experience in handling all legal issues, and they save you from legal repercussions in a foreign country.
12- Updating the Content
With the consideration of local regulations, you also need to update the site with the latest trends that are prevailing in the target market. Updating the content will enhance your ranking in the SEO search engine, and you will be in a better position to know about customer demands and can add those features to the site accordingly.
Localization is a complex process. It requires your time, effort, and money. What is the use of your effort, time, and money if you don't avoid localization mistakes? For this reason, you have to give attention to detail in every step of the Localization process to mitigate the errors and get hassle-free global success.