Why website localization is important?
We were lucky to have such an opportunity for easy and quick access to suppliers from all over the world and delivery methods that people could have imagined a couple of decades ago. Doing business and technological progress, especially in the field of information technology, have brought radical changes to our lives. Today, even a small business owner can work with foreign customers. People all over the world buy products and services from virtually anywhere in the world through the Internet. So, ambitious business owners should try to enter the international market.
Before delving into the details of the site localization process, let's consider benefits deriving from this (and whether it is worth undertaking this business at all). The most obvious plus of localization is an increase in the loyalty of those user groups who prefer to perceive information in their native language. As we can see from the statistics, the percentage of such users in non-English-speaking countries is very high.
Of course, it is important to consider the general level of English proficiency in a particular country. For example, if the audience of your site is in Sweden or Denmark, then most likely you can get by with the English version because, in these countries, the majority of the population speaks good English. If you want to reach users in China, Turkey, or Saudi Arabia, then you should already think about the translation. An idea of the level of English proficiency in a particular country can be obtained from open sources.
Another nice consequence of localizing a site in a couple of languages is improving the brand image. A multilingual site evokes thoughts that your company, at a minimum, can afford it and thus takes care of customers. In case your company is positioned as international (even if only in the CIS countries), the local language versions of the site go into the category of necessities.
So, it’s worth localizing a site if:
- Your company has foreign customers and/or partners
- You do plan to expand abroad
- You position yourself as an international company
Integrated localization: website translation
Integrated localization of sites involves the translation of all pages of the site, special forms, documents, catalogs, articles, news blocks, as well as the translation of the site menu, to facilitate navigation. The proper translation of company websites allows you to adequately present the company's products and services to a foreign target audience, to make brand policy more understandable to carriers of a different mentality.
How does localization work?
Localization is not limited to the translation of texts from the site - it is a much more complex process, including both linguistic and technical tasks. No programmers and testers can not do is here. Our Drupal services includes wide spectrum of possibilities, so if you do not go into details, then shortly, the process of site localization can be divided into three main stages:
- Translation and layout
- Testing and fixing bugs
Let's take a quick look at each of the steps.
At the preparatory stage, you have to evaluate which sections of the site need translation. This is not such a trivial task as it might seem. Of course, you can create a new language version of the site that will completely duplicate the original, but is it necessary? It hardly makes sense to translate the entire archive of news for 5 years, user comments, articles focused on the local market, descriptions of services or goods that are not yet available abroad, etc.
Once you have agreed the sections to translate, you need to prepare the files for translation. Ideally, the customer provides the source of the site or opens access to the admin panel of the site. If for some reason this is not possible, the customer can send links to the site pages and interface lines that need to be localized. After extracting the text strings, the exact cost of localization is calculated.
- Translation and layout
So, the site files are sent for translation. Most localization companies use automated translation systems, or CAT (Computer Assisted Translation), which greatly simplify the lives of translators and editors :). For the customer, the use of such systems is advantageous in that they allow you to track repeating segments of text, which are usually discounted.
A separate point is the localization of graphics, video and other multimedia content that is usually present on sites. These types of work may include translation, layout, design, subtitling, or dubbing.
After the translation is completed, and if the contractor cares about quality, all texts are read by the editor and proofreader, and only after that they are sent to the customer. At the same time, it is very desirable that the site translator will be a native speaker into which they were translated. Then, after the translation has been approved by the customer, a new language version of the site is created. This is usually done on the customer side by programmers, but in some cases, the localizer can also do the job.
Testing and fixing bugsThe last stage is designed to rid the localized site of possible shortcomings, bugs, and under-translated fragments. To do this, testers go through all the links on the site, identifying problems and fixing them in a special report. At the same time, linguistic testing is distinguished, which focuses on the linguistic component, and functional testing, which identifies technical flaws. Sometimes the testing phase is bypassed, that’s a bad idea - without it, you can’t be sure that your site is completely ready to receive foreign-language guests. For example, a user may stumble over an incorrectly placed comma in a number (where there should be a period), or he will be too lazy to convert feet to centimeters. So we recommend that you still thoroughly test the site before launch.
Web analytics systems that can track the geography of site visitors can be useful in choosing languages. Focus on the rating of the most common languages on the Internet. But there are some subtleties, please consider several possible situations:
- Several official languages in the country
For instance: Canada (English and French), Singapore (Malay, English, Putonghua and Tamil), Switzerland (German, French, Italian, Romansh).
Of course, common sense should be guided first: it is unlikely that anyone would think of translating the site into all 22 official languages of India. However, it will be useful to learn which languages are most in-demand in your sales markets, as well as familiarize yourself with the language policy of a particular country.
- Different dialects of one language
Examples: Portuguese (Brazil, Portugal), Chinese (Cantonese, Putonghua, Jin), English (USA, UK, Australia).
The dialects in different countries and regions can vary significantly, so it is always useful to clarify which language option you want to translate. By the way, in this way it is possible to identify an unscrupulous localizer: if he does not ask clarifying questions about dialects, this should alert.
- Non-state language is widely spoken in the country/region
Examples: Spanish in the southern states of the USA, Russian in Latvia
It is not necessary to stick only to the state language of the country. To cover the region as fully as possible, sometimes it’s reasonable translate site into the unofficial languages. This can be a good competitive advantage in the fight for the audience.
Basic options for Drupal localization
- Your web resource has to be properly configured, site layout must displays correctly in different languages. English is a universal language that is understood all over the world quite well. A site version in this language never hurts.
- Translate the website into one or several state language. When translating (or to verify the translation), hire a native speaker.
- Be sure to buy the country domain. Your site will not look like a black sheep and will less scare away from clicking on it in advertising. The cost of a domain is usually $ 10-50 per year. It will be good if the purchased domain matches your main domain.
- Place the site on a hosting and test it from the selected country. In your hometown, the site may open quickly and completely, but in another country, there may be errors. Check if the pictures open, if the site loads quickly if the site’s elements aren’t blocked by the government.
- Set the correct dates format: month, day, year or day, month, year.
Time: 12-hour format or 24-hour.
Color: Think about the color perception of the local audience.
Currency: pay attention to conversion and formats.
Phone numbers: formats are different around the world.
National holidays: holidays of the country and region-specific.
Language codes of sites: it is important to know the ISO code
Drupal as a powerful CMS, in its 8 version, already contains the translation module. Drupal development focuses on designing custom solutions, but Nonetheless, there are contrib modules available, that help translating user interface, content, blocks, other site elements.
Drupal 8 core translation modules:
- Configuration Translation module - Provides a translation interface for configuration.
- Content Translation module - Allows users to translate content entities.
Your company's localized slogan can be an effective way to strengthen relationships with potential customers in new markets. Therefore, if you want to achieve the maximum, you must know the target audience from and to.
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