No matter size of a company, international sales and markeing is one of the most important success factor which “Localisation” integral part of the factor.
A website can be used as facilitator of sales which not only cost-effective but simple to implement. It could raise brand awareness, impression and deliver value to customers directly.
Not only translating but localising a web site is necessary task. Providing versions of site in different languages facilities customers to be familiar with an organization and may increase percentage of online customers’ check out. According to the research, customers perceive a organisation more favourably when they see a website with their familiar language (Tong, 2001).
Huge investments should not only translating languages but localizing content of a website in order not to be downgraded their international versions. However, localization the content is one of the largest technical challenges.
Furthermore, different culture and preference in each country are usually overlooked aspect of a design of website. While focusing on artistic templates and brand messaging, many companies ignore a role culture.
What is LOCALISATION and INTERNATIONALISATION ?
- Localization (also referred to as “l10n”) is the process of adapting a product or content to a specific locale or market. Translation is only one of several elements of the localization process.
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
The aim 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.
- Internationalisation a design process that ensures a product (usually a software application) can be adapted to various languages and regions without requiring engineering changes to the source code. Think of internationalization as readinessfor localization. Internationalization can save significant expense, time, and headaches for everyone involved. Sometimes written as “i18n”, internationalization evolved from a growing demand for multilingual products and applications.
There are many benefits to i18n, including:
- Easier adaptation of software applications (or other content) to multiple locales
- Reduced time and cost for localization
- Single, internationalized source code for all versions of the product
- Simpler maintenance
- Improved quality and code architecture
- Reduced overall cost of ownership of the multiple versions of the product
- Adherence to international standards
Unless internationlisation and localization have been successfully implemented on website, internet users would not be fully satisfied.
Why focus on LOCALISATION ?
If a company enter to the non-English speaking countries, a carefully-launched web strategy need to be implemented in order to maximize effectiveness of the site and serve international customers.
How to ANALYSING and PLANING the localization of a website ?
First of all, examination of internet access of each international market and online presence of local people need to be done.
The amount of graphics used should be posted regard on download times and speed of internet in each country. However, pictures and graphics should be sufficient to impress and interest target customers, plus, basic, practical and up-to-dated content of website should be considered.
What to localize
All the pages need not to be translated as some may provide local information such as job vacancies or events. It is crucial to select which pages to be the central core of website.
Keeping a site up-to-date
Continually monitor should be done as some parts of the site may changed or updated.
The structure of a localised site
Structure of an entire site should be done first in order to simply remain several languages at once. The easiest to organize a multilingual site is to store each lauage at the same location which is convenience for both users and web co-ordinator. Typically, such a site will have a link to each different language on its homepage, so a single web address can be used globally.
Other approach is storing each language site in its particular country site. The advantage would be speed up download times locally. This method is used by huge corporations which have a strong presence and large resources in each country.
The translation and the cultural adaptation of the design
Each region has individual language, slang, images, fashion, history, trend, symbols, color sense and law. In order to make a good translation is barely on a literal translation but locally creative freedom need to be added. This would show an understanding of the countries where a company enter and increase trust and loyalty among local visitors.
Considering whether country specific content should be provided regarding on sufficient and strong interest for the site in each country which may be adding a great value to the localization.
Therefore, it is important that the translators are native speakers and living in that countries long enough to be specialize in not only languages or slang but to deeply understand local behaviors. The translators should clearly translate message and deliver the closest meaning of texts in that specific languages.
Marketing contents also require particular skill of translation, understanding most of the industrial terms , having target visitors linguistic background and ability to create marketing text. Transcreation and copy writing need to dissect the original.
Main aspects to consider when localising a site People from different countries are different and therefore users from around the world will use a web site differently. In order to exploited opportunity of web site, localisation is good planning and good understanding .
There is a list of what need to be concerned:
- Hard-coded Text
Hard-coded need to remain in the original language.
- Hard-coded Fonts
Similar to text if fonts are hard coded, then they cannot be changed. The company should create fonts which is similar to the original one in order to keep tone and theme.
- Cultural Issues and symbols
Website design should avoid culture-dependent issues, which are not understood by multinational audience.
American mailbox with a flag means that there is a new mail. This symbol is used on many sites to indicate e-mail but people outside of North America do not recognize the mailbox. For a web site, a better symbol would be an envelope, which is universally understood.
Moreover, avoid using graphics that represent holidays or seasons, such as Christmas trees, pumpkins, or snow. As a general rule, the following should be avoided in any graphics used:
- Hand gestures or body parts; graphics with multiple meanings
- Religious symbols such as stars, crosses
- Shapes that are tied to culture (e.g. stop signs, sports, mailboxes etc.)
Also, be culturally sensitive when choosing sounds for use in a site. While some users may find it helpful to hear a beep when they make a mistake, users in Japan may find a beep embarrassing, in that it calls attention to their mistakes. If there are any doubts regarding the hidden meaning of some symbols, it is better to use words instead.
The translations used throughout the site must be consistent with the terminology used throughout all product components, i.e. marketing materials, software, help, documentation, etc.
- Leveraging text
When translations have been approved they should be stored and re-used in later components/versions/products. This decreases turn-around time, reduces the translation effort and increases consistency. The usage of Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) tools is recommended in this task.
- Text embedded in graphics, video or animations.
Where possible, the use of text in graphics, video or animations is discouraged. Most localisable visuals consist of text on top of some sort of structured background. To localise any text in them,it is necessary to get access to the textual part of the visual. Localisable visuals should be handed off in a package that supports “layering” so that the text portion of the visual is on a separate layer and easily accessible for translation. If textembedded files are necessary, the designers should create a well-documented, layered source file with details of the fonts and colours used, keeping in mind that text within the graphic is probably longer for localised languages than for English so room for text to expand should be allowed.
- Sort order
Sort order is not the same for all languages, particularly for languages that do not use the Western alphabet. In Swedish, for example, some extended characters (e.g. å) get sorted after the letter Z. In many Asian cultures, characters are comprised by a prescribed tradition of brushstrokes and characters are sorted by the brush stroke order. Also, after localisation, the first letter of the word might change, changing its position in the sort order list. To build an internationalised Web site, it is necessary to either find a way to automatically sort the items (this can be a very difficult task) or ensure that the localisers can change the sort order of the list while they are localising the code. The optimal method for the end user is to allow the translator to personally sort the list.
- Quality assurance.
A linguist must check the translated site after it has been built. If the site is interactive, all functionality should be tested.
- Locale-specific content.
The following list provides some of the items that would need to be changed during localisation. These items are often hard-coded but should, where possible, use the system settings for the user‟s environment.
– Date formats (including calendar settings and day/month names)
– Time formats (12-hour vs. 24-hour clock etc.)
– Currency formats and other monetary-related information (taxes etc.)
– Number formats (decimal separator, thousand separator etc.)
– Fonts (names, sizes etc.)
For fonts, it is best practice to use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) whenever
possible. CSS allow fonts to be changed for all the pages in one place, and there will be fewer tags within the text for the localisers to sift through.
Other issues for consideration, which may not have formatting rules specified by the user‟s environment include:
– Address formats (postal codes, provinces, states etc.)
– Name formats (2 surnames in Spanish speaking countries, for instance)
– Telephone number formats
– Units of measure
– Paper sizes
– Use of colour for meaning (e.g. red = stop)