website localization steps

5 steps for effective website localization

Athira Mohan

Athira Mohan

India, a multilingual country with thousands of languages and even more dialects, is becoming the largest market for localisation. Businesses encounter a large gap while reaching out to customers as most of their products and services use English as a language for interaction. Out of the 1.3 billion Indians, there are no more than 100 million that speak English. 

According to Statista, the number of English internet users in 2016 across India stood at about 175 million and was projected to increase to 199 million in 2021. For Indian language users, this number was about 234 million users in 2016, projected to reach around 536 million in 2021. These figures indicate that India has a high internet penetration rate and an increasing demand for regional language content consumption by Indian internet users. 

As the Indian language user base grows, more and more online businesses need to effectively communicate with the right message to the right user across all messaging channels in their preferred language.

Customers’ primary interaction that makes or breaks their decision with your brand is the website – one of your strongest digital assets. That rose to the importance of website localisation. 70% of Indian internet customers trust local language content; with so many languages and buying preferences, offering a personalised, local experience to your customers will help you win their loyalty and increase customer engagement. 

Localisation is vast, and localising your website involves more than just translating the language; it also includes cultural adaptation for the target market. Although the process can seem overwhelming at first, it is painless and rewarding if done correctly the first time. This blog contains insights that may help you decide on the best direction for your website localisation.

Stay ahead of the competition by following these five steps to get your website localisation started.

1. Analyse your target market: 

Determine your localisation strategy before spending on localising your content. Start identifying the target region where your product or services will be more successful, and ask the following simple questions about your target market:

    • What is the growth rate of the target market?
    • What is the literacy rate?
    • Is there an interest in your product?
    • How much is the competition?
    • What are the preferred languages?
    • What are consumers’ buying habits?

Exploring these questions will help you decide on a cost-effective website localisation strategy. Website localisation ROI depends significantly on how well the local users accept your localised message with the same wit and wisdom that your original message contains. At the preliminary stage, start with 1 or 2 languages to see the performance of your multilingual website.

2. Chalk out your multilingual SEO strategy: 

After identifying your target market and language, the next step is coupling your localisation efforts with a robust multilingual SEO strategy. Since each language has its own set of words, expressions, and phrases, you must choose the right keywords and avoid the exact translation of keywords, as this leads to a higher risk of misinterpretation of the website message.

For example, the banking industry uses terms such as the fund, the loan, the deposit, the account statement, and so on. When translated into other Indian languages, these terms have different SEO values and versions. Therefore, your content should be tailored to the local audience and the way they communicate. With the rise in popularity of voice searches, which are more conversational than desktop searches, it’s more important than ever to choose the right keywords, keeping your target market in mind. 

Customers are constantly searching for websites that speak their native language, so it’s important to keep developing your SEO strategy. Assign a local SEO specialist to prepare keyword lists and provide your linguistic translators with a comprehensive glossary of the keywords for translation into the local languages in the right context.

3. Choose the right localisation partner:

The most crucial step in the entire process is choosing the right localisation partner to enable your website localisation process to be faster and more budget-friendly. How will you evaluate which localisation path to take? Here are the paths for you to choose:

                  1. Manual Localisation:  

Many businesses believe that getting a localisation team in-house is both convenient and cost-effective. They can respond to immediate and last-minute changes due to their understanding of organisational needs. 

However, this comes with many complexities. For example, you plan to manage your website localisation in-house. In that case, you should consider creating a centralised setup and workflow that translates and manages day-to-day operations to make your localisation process quick and accurate.

Since this is a manual process, it requires resources, effort, and expertise. If the translation infrastructure, the right resources, or the right technologies aren’t in place, the website can take longer to launch.

Another example is that you have voluminous content to localise, but your in-house team has little experience with the target audience or industry. As a result, the team would find it difficult to connect with the local market. Since localisation necessitates a thorough understanding of both culture and industry, this will result in a higher margin of error in localised content.

You will hire high-priced localisation experts in several Indian languages to meet your market requirements, which will add to your long-term business overhead costs. Furthermore, as project complexity increases, meeting deadlines, maintaining high-quality work, and staying within budget will become exceedingly challenging.

Additionally, once your multilingual website is live, the process does not end. Website localisation is a continuous process that occurs in real-time alongside with the website development and content updates; for example, when the source site receives new content, the localised site must be updated in real-time as well.

As a result, manually carrying out the localisation processes is an expensive and ongoing effort. You’d see a rise in turnaround times and costs as well. Moreover, localisation is such a complex job, finding gaps at any given time will trigger a delay in publishing the localised website. Hence, having a scalable and automated solution would assist you in addressing the manual localisation challenges.

2. Language technologies:

After understanding the complexities of in-house localisation, you should be looking for a method that will enable you to scale your entire localisation process faster and easier. Since website localisation is an investment, the localisation path you choose should act as a process coordinator to automate, coordinate, and monitor the localisation workflow. A multilingual website localisation platform will help you simplify the process of localising, hosting, publishing, and launching a website in multiple Indian languages.

Reverie has introduced an automated dynamic multilingual website localisation platform called Anuvadak, a user-friendly platform that automates repetitive tasks involving translating, hosting, and scaling localised websites. The platform allows users to make changes (including in real time when needed), and even build an SEO presence in Indian languages.

Users also have access to detailed analytics via Anuvadak, as well as the power of Reverie’s own neural machine translation engine for rapid localisation and the services of Prabandhak, Reverie’s unified translation management system on request.

As an automated platform, Anuvadak is user friendly and functions with minimal user intervention, helping platforms keep their localised Indian language presence up to date with changes and user requirements.

The platform can scale down website localisation time by 40% and save as much as 60% of the localisation and content management costs.

With Reverie’s Anuvadak 2.0, the entire user journey across dynamic websites like e-commerce sites can now be localised:

      • Anuvadak’s ability to integrate with AI-enabled translation management platforms reduces the website translation time to one-third of the time taken to traditionally translate content in Indian languages. 
      • With Reverie’s own proprietary Indic fonts built-in, translations delivered through Anuvadak will be visually more appealing.
      • Anuvadak reduces the dependency on IT, with no coding required to launch new languages.
      • Unlike on-demand Indic language plug-ins, Anuvadak ensures SEO compatibility for localised webpages, which means that a company’s localised website will start showing up in search queries as Indians increasingly search in their language.
      • Localisation of dynamic content such as e-commerce sites, social media feeds, real-time news feeds, stock updates, etc., is now possible on the fly. 
      • As and when a site or a page is being rendered, its newly visible content will also be localised accordingly.
      • This type of localisation is easy to adopt. It happens on the browser side, without depending on server calls, which means that it is faster for businesses to go multilingual now more than ever.
      • Language-wise, in-depth analytics with the custom timeline is now available as well.

Aunvadak can be integrated with any translation management platform, including Reverie NMT, Prabandhak, Google NMT, Microsoft NMT, or it can also work with manual translators.

Along with the evolving demand for localised content consumption, investing in an automated localisation process would help you achieve faster results at lower costs. Easily manage your website projects and streamline localisation with Anuvadak 2.0. Read more on Anuvadak’s capabilities in detail.

4. Test before launch:

The next step is to test your localised website and linguistic content before it is launched. Localisation testing is to verify the accuracy and functionality of a localised version of the website of your region. The testing includes (but this is not limited to inspecting):

    • Date and time formats (including numeric formats),
    • Interactive text input based on different locales,
    • Color schemes, symbols, and icons supporting various regions,
    • Text and graphics appropriateness.

The objective of this testing is to ensure that various components of the website are region-specific.

Another testing is linguistic testing that verifies the context and language attribute to ensure that the words fit your target audience perfectly. The testing includes (but this is not limited to inspecting):

    • Typographical errors,
    • Grammatical mistakes,
    • Presence of cultural taboos,
    • Inappropriate texts,
    • Misuse of keywords,
    • Usability of the UI,
    • Untranslated strings.

These testing processes make it possible to gauge the results and take the necessary steps if the target business objectives are not met. The aim of website localisation is to meet the cultural, visual, social, and linguistic needs of customers at the local level.

5. Track tangible metrics on your multilingual website:

Once you have effectively localised your website, the next step is to track your audience engagement and navigation across your multilingual website. Then, you can identify the user insight comparison across localised pages, and analyse how each language’s user base is being served and what can be done to improve their experience. You can analyse some of the important tangible metrics like:

    • Language-wise usage,
    • Translation progress,
    • No. of visitors,
    • No.of page views,
    • No.of word count, and more.

For example, If a language has lower engagement across pages, it may need better, more personalised content for its users.

The data collected through analytics can perpetuate your market research, improve website user experience, reduce bounce rates, and increase your conversions.

In closing

Since 90% of Indian language internet users consume content in their native languages. This upward trend is expected to continue; localising your website will assist your business in meeting immediate market demands. Anuvadak, a multilingual website management platform, simplifies and enhances localised content management across web platforms while prioritising scale, speed, and ease of use.

To see how Anuvadak can benefit your own website and make it accessible to Indian language users.

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