Localization Guidelines for e-Commerce Websites: Part Two – Content Adaptation and Culturalization

Miloš Matović 4 years ago 3 min read

Following our introduction into the entire e-commerce website L10n affair, we now take a look at further technical, cultural and marketing aspects that need to be considered if you want to make a strong foreign market entry and achieve positive global presence.

Device Independence and L10n

We all have our preferences, but the truth is that half of the global online population use smartphones and tablets for their daily browsing, and this number increases every year. Taking the mobile-first approach is therefore the most reasonable choice that will make your shiny new e-shopping website accessible and fully functional on every device.

For best results, localization needs to be integrated into the web development from day one, which means that you should develop your web architecture and produce your content with localization in mind, meaning, inter alia, that you should plan the support for variable string lengths and different writing systems in advance.

To retain the advanced features of your website across the different locales, you must remember that localization is many things, but simple it is not. Never.

However, there are advanced solutions that will help you optimize the process, cut costs and save great amounts of precious time and energy, and, most importantly, preserve the layout and code integrity across the localized versions through the integration of cloud-based CAT (computer-assisted translation) software and your online content management system.

These solutions are available for WordPress, Drupal and can also be custom-tailored for other CMS platforms.

Read a detailed overview of localization technologies and their benefits for your business in our feature article “How to Cut Localization Costs with Translation Technology”.

Content Adaptation and Culturalization

The purpose of any store, from a mega market to any tiny, friendly neighborhood grocery or thrift store is selling. But the thing is there are no sales if your customers can’t understand what is it that you are selling, and, even more importantly, if they can’t relate to the products and see them as something that adds value to their life and is in line with their lifestyles.

In other words, plain translation of the copies, product titles, categories, catchy phrases and product descriptions that you have so carefully developed for your home market will probably cause underperformance or failure on any foreign market precisely because they have been developed for a specific cultural and linguistic environment.

Every market has its specificities and requires specific approach, so you need to adapt your content not only appropriate, but also native to the target culture. To achieve this, you might want to consider sophisticated language solutions such as transcreation.

Wrap-up

Localization of any website, including the online stores, is a team effort that requires expertise and good coordination of all stakeholders, from website developers and content producers to linguists and editors. There is no such thing as translation of digital marketing content – it has to be localized, adapted, reedited and sometimes even recreated to blend into the environment of the global markets seamlessly.

Therefore, the one thing that you most certainly don’t want to do is approach the localization process as an easy and quick addition to web development because this is precisely the approach that will cost you dearly. L10n is a multi-phase process that is vital to the global success of your business and all its aspects – the technical, the cultural and the linguistic ones – must be taken into account from day one of any global business venture.

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