Our Guide to Localization & Growing Abroad
Unless you’re dabbing in the circles of the translation or localization industry, localization is probably going to be a pretty alien word. The thing is, if you’re looking to import, export, or do business abroad, it’s a pretty useful one to know about! So, if you want to grow abroad, read on – we’re going to teach you how localization can help.
What is localization?
Imagine you’re a travel agent with 2 different target audiences – 1 of them being people coming to Ireland on holiday, and the second being Irish people booking holidays abroad. If one of your marketing strategies is content, you can’t do 1 blog post for both groups of people. People from abroad would love to hear about Paddy’s Day, but Irish people would much rather hear about the Oktoberfest. This is how localization works – taking your content/marketing and adapting it to the needs of your target audience in terms of language and cultural suitability.
How do you go about localizing?
Localization can be construed as a fancy word for translation. However, instead of just focussing on the language, a lot more goes into localization. It encompasses the whole process of adapting a product or business offering to a new country. So, what you’d need to do is think about what you’re looking to achieve – and then go about making sure you set those KPIs up for the target market. So, some things you could think about include:
- Choosing different graphics for the target market
- Changing your content to fit around the tastes and behaviour of your new audience
- Adapting the design around the new language
- Changing to local currencies and date formats etc.
- Making sure you have local language support, post, and payment options
- Making sure you adhere to local regulations and legal requirements
Globalization vs localization?
Have you heard of the term globalization? Well, after looking at localization, it sounds pretty similar to globalization, doesn’t it? Globalization is simply the process of “going global”, and localization is one of the processes needed to get there.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – every single country needs a different approach, That’s why you’ve got to use localization. Each nationality has different tastes and even if they speak the same language or neighbour each other, you still need to localize.
Let’s take a look at some keywords in the UK and Ireland to prove the point. You’d think they’d be exactly the same as we all speak English, right? Well, you’d be surprised 🙂
|Keyword||Search Volume UK||Search Volume IE|
|Black Nike Runners||260||590|
|Black Nike Trainers||27,000||110|
|Kitchen press handles||0||260|
|Kitchen cupboard handles||6,000||10|
The keywords above show that you really need to use localization for your keywords as even English-speaking nations search differently. In the UK, you’d need kitchen cupboard handles, but in Ireland kitchen press handles.
This is why you should never translate your keywords. Each country has different tastes, and you need to appeal to these. Especially if you’ve got a product like something for pest control. In Ireland, the biggest pests we can think of are rats, but in Europe, it’d be moles. This is why you need a partner who can understand both marketing and the target market and help you put together a special strategy for each country.
When it comes to content localization, rather than focussing on getting your documents translated, you need copywriters/marketers who can help you with KPIs. Not every country will be interested in the types of content you’re doing, so you have to adapt them. Using us as an example, if we did a post on marketing to an Irish audience most of you at home would find that boring – whereas you’d much prefer to read up on how to market to Germans etc.
When you’re doing case studies and references, rather than translating your Irish success stories, once you have some from whichever country you’re expanding into, use them. Mr. Kraus from Germany would much rather hear about Mrs. Scheider’s success with your product instead of hearing about Miss Murphy’s experience in Kiltipper.
Now that we’ve covered content, let’s move on to website localization. Web localization covers pretty much everything we’ve spoken about so far, sorting out the linguistic and cultural adaptation of your website. Now, if you’re looking to save money and market your business successfully, you should make sure that your website localization includes SEO by a proper international digital marketing agency. If you just get your website translated, it’ll look cool, but potential clients/customers won’t be able to find you, which makes it a bit of an expensive investment if you’re not going to get any ROI from it.
Website localization and SEO will basically set the same KPIs as you have for your home market, which is great if you don’t have anyone on the ground to do the hard work for you. You’ll get people coming straight to you when they’re looking for a new service, you’ll look super professional, and you’ll get that all-important ROI. Plus, if your partner’s anything like us, it won’t cost any more than a translation!