What is Localization?

HELLO in eight different languages

According to Chaffey, LOCALIZATION is the tailoring of web site information for individual countries or regions. But it is more than just translating. To be able to successfully introduce a website on a foreign market in the current pace of globalization, it is necessary to adapt to the linguistic, technical and cultural aspects of the foreign target market.

Culturally adapted web sites reduce the amount of required cognitive efforts from visitors of the site to process information, making navigation easier and attitudes toward the web site more favorable.

Translation
Website localization involves adapting any text being used into the language of the foreign target market. It is important that translation of information is ‘clear and understandable’ to avoid cultural misunderstanding or offense. In order to translate, the ‘target culture’ must be known.

Actual localization
Culturally adapted web sites reduce the amount of required cognitive efforts from visitors of the site to process information, making navigation easier and attitudes toward the web site more favorable.
To ensure that the adaption of textual material, visual displays, illustrations and graphics are appropriate for the target locale, adjustments must be implemented.

Internationalization
This involves making sure that the software being used is fully compatible with the technology of the country in question. Among the technical elements which can be localized are: date and time, currency, numbers, address and telephone numbers, units of measure and connection speed.

Displaying dates and times in the preferred local formats is also recommended as it avoids confusion and allows for an improved user experience.

An obvious example of this is the difference between UK and US date formats. If your site promises to deliver goods on 11/12/13 then UK users would expect this to be 11 December 2013, while American users would think the delivery date is 12 November 2013.

Similarly, in Japan, the date is written with the year first, then month, then day, so presenting the date as shown above to a Japanese user would make them think their goods were being delivered in 2011.

Users in different countries also have different payment preferences. For instance, iDeal is the preferred payment method of online buyers in the Netherlands while users in China prefer Alipay, Tenpay and many prefer to pay cash on delivery.

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