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Software localization is the process of tailoring a software product to meet the language and cultural expectations of the end user.
Software localization goes beyond simple text translation. Everything from the imagery, colors, symbolism, and font size are tweaked to ensure a seamless user experience in every country and region where the product is available. Properly localized software should feel intuitive and natural to the user, as if it were built from the ground up specifically for them.
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of localization before diving into six localization tips and best practices for SaaS companies.
According to a Forrester report, information in a user’s own language is more important than price for 56 percent of consumers. But that’s not the only benefit of localizing your product — here are some of the reasons why localizing is a must for SaaS product owners with global ambitions:
-Localization eliminates cultural barriers, providing a positive and seamless user experience that keeps customers around the world loyal.
-Localization enhances your local reputation, as it shows audiences that you care about them and their needs and are willing to invest resources into meeting their expectations.
-Localization earns you trust and ensures your product appears credible to users.
-Localization ultimately boosts your revenue. It empowers you to move confidently into new markets, win over new audiences, and keep those audiences coming back for more.
Now, let’s explore our top localization tips for SaaS companies.
Ensure your payment methods work in your target market and consider introducing new payment options that reflect your audience’s preferences. Prospects may be more comfortable using currency and payment processors they are already accustomed to. What’s more, displaying your prices in the local currency enhances the user experience, reduces confusion, and contributes to a streamlined buyer’s journey.
Converting your prices from one currency is not always straightforward. For one, a target market in a foreign country or region may have different pricing expectations. So, you may need to raise or lower your price to reflect the reality of what people are willing to pay. One way to tailor your pricing strategy is to research local SaaS competition. How much are they charging for a comparable service?
Another challenge is currency conversion fluctuations. If your product’s price is different from one visit to the next, users may become confused and frustrated. Instead, lock your pricing.
Colors evoke different moods and meanings, and their connotations vary between cultures. Red, for example, symbolizes love and passion in North and South America and Europe. However, in China, red represents luck and fertility. In Thailand, it’s connected to the sun god Surya and signifies Sunday — every day of the week is allocated a different color. In some African cultures, red conveys ideas of death and grief.
So, as you expand your brand and product into a new market, consider the underlying meaning behind your color choices. Are your brand colors appropriate within the context of the target market’s culture? Do they send the right message?
Querying browser language or IP country can be inaccurate. Instead, take the guesswork out of the equation and allow users to select their preferred language. If possible, save these preferences and default to them every time a user logs into your product.
Localizing an SaaS product is a serious undertaking. However, you can ensure the ease and success of the process by making a few tweaks to your design approach. One best practice is to avoid putting text directly over your images. If you do, your design team will have to remake the entire graphic, which will add more work to the localization process.
In some cases, you might be able to create a separate layer for the text, which can be edited independently to the image itself.
Finally, keep in mind that even if you do keep text and images separate, you may need to rework some graphics. For example, symbols and images do not always have a universal meaning, so they may need to be removed or altered to preserve your desired messaging. In addition, avatars should reflect a cross-section of your target audience, so they may require updating, too.
Your SaaS product may be designed to support left-to-right (LTR) languages. However, there are many different languages that use the 10 right-to-left (RTL) scripts, including Persian, Hebrew, and Arabic. So, if you have plans for global expansion, consider how your product could cater to RTL scripts.
Another layout issue that can arise when text is translated within an SaaS product is text length. The phrase “get started” in English is 11 characters long, including the space. In Japanese, it’s “始める” — three characters in length. The phrase’s length would differ again when translated into Portuguese, Spanish, and Indonesian.
That’s just one example — your SaaS product likely contains paragraphs of text, all of which fit neatly into your sleek user interface design. When that text is translated, you will need to adjust and tweak the layout to cater for text length changes.
Dates and times are formatted differently around the world. Sometimes, the day is displayed before the month, like this: 24/09/22. Other times, the month comes first: 09/24/22.
In addition, when it comes to time, some countries use 12-hour splits, preferring AM and PM. Others have adopted a 24-hour clock, including France, Germany, and Vietnam.
Our localization tips for SaaS companies provide an excellent starting point, but the localization process is nuanced and highly dependent on the target market.
If you are ready to chase your company’s next phase of growth, get in touch. Our localization experts can prevent your messaging and user experience from becoming lost in translation. We can help you win trust and loyalty and ultimately lift your bottom line. Reach out today to learn more.
Want some more localization tips? Then download our guide “Localization 101 for Startups: How to Create a Global Business” for free.