What is Website Localization?
Website localization refers to customizing your website to better suit your target audience—including the part of your audience that speaks a different language. Contrary to popular belief, language localization is not as simple as just translating the text on your site. Though translation is an integral part of the localization process, there are several other factors that contribute to a well-localized website. You have to tailor your website to the local culture of your target market and ensure other elements (such as currency, payment options, and character sets) are relevant to your target users. If you don’t, you risk losing out on that local business.
Why you Should Consider Website Localization for your Company
Advancements in technology and e-commerce have made a truly global market. Online commerce means convenience for customers and businesses alike (well beyond what was possible with brick-and-mortar stores). Although remaining physical stores have their own virtues, more consumers and organizations around the world are searching for products and services online. And they are searching for this information in their native languages.
As you would expect, English is the undisputed lingua franca among languages on the internet. However, don’t think this excuses English-dominant organizations from localizing their websites. Internet users who use English as their language of choice online make up 25.2% of the market share.  That leaves almost three-quarters of internet users who prefer other languages. If you have a global company who’s website has English as the sole language, you are tapping into only a quarter of your potential market.
China has the majority share of internet users around the world, coming in at 829 million people. India comes in second, with 560 million users.  Neither of these countries uses English as their first language. For a global brand, a good place to start is to localize your website to these regions.
Website localization is not just a feature that’s “nice to have,” either—it’s often vital for business growth. Your customers value the effort you invest in publishing websites in their native languages. In a research study published by CSA, 56.2% of customers revealed that they valued the ability to obtain product information in their native languages more than the actual price of the product. 
Taking all this into account, if you choose not to localize your business website, you should get comfortable with the fact that you are losing a big piece of the global pie. The demand isn’t disappearing, either—you’re just handing it over to your competition.
When should you localize your website?
When You’re Branching Out
If your business is doing well, congratulations! Maybe you’re thinking of taking up initiatives abroad and breaking into new foreign markets. If this is the case, now is the perfect time to localize your website to cater to your increasingly diverse target market.
When Your Company Has an Online Presence that Caters to Multiple Ethnic Groups
Even if you don’t have plans to take your business abroad, it might already cater to multiple local ethnic groups (or one location that is multi-ethnic). By localizing your website, you approach every demographic in your target audience and maximize the growth of your company. Localize your website as soon as possible to avoid losing out on potential opportunities.
Tips to Ensure Successful Website Localization
Know Your Target Market
Localization can be an arduous and pricey undertaking. You can manage costs by tailoring your localization project to your target audience. You should identify the regions where the majority of your customers reside or search for your product or service, and then localize your website for that region and language. Start with the biggest piece of the non-English speaking population, and then move onto smaller pieces until the localization for that particular region is complete.
Easy-to-Access Language Selection
A Well-Constructed Localized Website
Make sure your localized website is as good as your original website. Consistency between your websites will reflect favorably on your company’s name and increase the customer’s trust. Google will reward you for this by boosting your site in SERP rankings. For the highest-quality localization, be sure to translate all banners, brochures, or other images and diagrams, as well as the text of each page and element.
Do NOT Use a Free Online Translator
We cannot stress this point enough. Automatic and machine translations may seem convenient and cost-effective but they do not, however, provide 100% accuracy—and if even 5% of the words on a page are the wrong choice contextually, you will paint the wrong picture of your organization.
Furthermore, localization is not just the process of substitution of words into another language. If you don’t take cultural differences into consideration, you might end up offending your target audience.
How Can You Successfully Localize Your Business Website?
If you are considering localizing your business website, choose a reputable service like Acutrans to take care of it all for you.
Acutrans has been in the translation and interpretation services industry for over 20 years. Over the years, we have assimilated an experienced team of over 2,000 linguists dedicated to providing our clients with the utmost quality of translation and interpretation. Our reviews on Google are a testament to the loyalty we have towards our clients.
Our extensive team of experts can localize your website accurately to over a hundred different languages.