The “who” and the “how” in website localization

website localization

Building a brand is a long and strenuous endeavor. It requires a clear vision, determination and a solid strategy. Most branding strategies involve a core set of steps, from target audience profiling and market positioning to brand values, logos, taglines and marketing toolkits. And all this serves a company’s goal to enter their home market, and then gradually move onto entering new markets around the world.

In the era of internet and IoT, the web presence of any brand is key to reaching out to potential customers on a global scale. Research has shown that consumers tend to engage more with the brands that speak their language; thus, they are more confident to buy from the brands that “bother” to communicate with them directly and share with them the brand’s story like a local would.

Given this, website localization unavoidably becomes a necessity for successful global branding strategies, serving as the means to promote brand awareness to local markets in their native language and with respect to their native culture and customs.

We recently worked with a brand that wanted to achieve exactly that, while making sure that their own values and culture were equally respected along the way. We were excited to take on the task of communicating across the philosophy of their business and the features of their wellness products to new countries. And we did not work alone on this; the client was eager to participate, openly sharing with us their priorities, concerns, preferences and expectations through meetings, emails, guidelines and feedback.

Our client’s website serves both as a company presentation and as an e-shop, which ticked the boxes of a transcreation endeavor. We vetted skilled transcreators for the task and gave the client the opportunity to meet and talk with them, to ensure they have the right information and feel about the brand. The Project Management team combined brand and advert guidelines the client had provided, along with cultural profiling based on Hofstede Insights and consultations from our transcreator team, in order to optimize the website localization process and enhance the linguistic work and cultural adaptation involved in the project.

Throughout the duration of the project, the dialogue was ongoing among the PM team, the transcreators and the client, to ensure that everyone is aligned and up to date with the progress and the different steps of the project. Using a transcreation report and back translation, we provided full transparency to the client as to how and where their website copy was transformed, how their tagline and key brand messages were adapted, and how sensitive information about their products was conveyed in the target language. When the project was completed, the client knew exactly what their target market would learn about their brand through the localized website, despite they themselves did not know the language nor inner culture of the targeted locale.

Seth Godin describes brand as “the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another”. Our client had a solid idea about what they wanted their brand to bring to their potential buyers’ mind. Most importantly, they had the room and time to share it with us in detail, discuss it directly with our linguist team, onboard our culture-related feedback and build with us their gateway to a new market.

Trusting a team with your website localization initiatives, and ultimately with the voice and essence of your brand, is definitely a challenge. But there are key allies you can choose to have along the way, and these are: open dialogue, transparency, experience and expertise. It is the knowledge of the “who” and the “how” involved in each step of the process.

So, next time you find yourself in a similar challenge, ask yourself: “How confident am I about the “who” and the “how” involved in my challenge?”.