Website Localization Techniques

By Chiara Grassilli
In Technical Translation
Mar 28th, 2016

Find out some of the most used Website Localization Techniques


Website localization is the process of adapting an existing website to the local language and culture in the target market.  This means that localization involves much more than the simple translation of text. It has to reflect specific language and cultural preferences in the content, images, overall design and requirements of the site, all while maintaining the integrity of the website. That’s why we need specific website localization techniques for this type of task.


A culturally adapted website will make navigation easier for the users, thus their attitude towards the site will be much more positive. The main purpose of localization is to customize a website in a way that it seems natural to its viewers, despite certain cultural differences between the creator and the audience.  People all over the world see the Internet as their main provider of information and even services. These people do not speak the same language. As a result, website localization has become one of the primary tools for business global expansion. It is clear that linguistic and cultural knowledge are essential for this purpose, but programming expertise is also necessary.


Techniques for website localization: 

1. SEO Localization

Including your SEO localization in the website localization process is always a good idea. The reason is simple. Most of the companies firstly localize their website and afterwards they start thinking about SEO and campaigns.  This takes more time and energy and it is less effective. It is advisable to plan early the website search engine optimization if you want the localization process to be more efficient.  Another good advice in this context is to create your initial keywords list which will help you optimize your content and Meta tags with the most effective keywords for the local markets.


2. Market Research

Another great technique is to start identifying the specific locale where your target customers are located. Afterwards, it is important to consider the value of market research in order to find out more about your business opportunities.  Consumer habits vary within regions that have shared languages, so local market research is also required.


3. Website graphics

The importance of design must not be ignored in this case either. A flexible design would be useful as it lets pages scale based on dynamic content. Compared to English for instance, some languages have words that are way longer or shorter. For instance, most of the Asian languages contain words that could be less than a half the source language width.


Due to the multiple difficulties that Asian languages may pose, you may need to include fonts of 120% to make sure people can read the words easily. So, as a general rule, it is probably for the best to avoid using fixed-sized containers with text in them. You need to make sure that space is flexible enough to keep up with the text character count.


4. Test your website locally 

For obvious reasons, it is essential to test your website in the actual locale for which your website is intended. Most of the prestigious translation agencies do so in order to make sure that your website’s characteristics are actually suitable for the preferences and cultural sensibilities of your target clients.

By doing so, you make your life easier and you have the certainty that your website will become popular and appreciated for its professionalism.


5. Glossaries

Glossaries exist to ensure correctness and accuracy in the translation and localization process, thus they are really important and must not be ignored.  If you are a translator, you must take into consideration the fact that your client expects you to use the latest industry-specific dictionaries, but also to make sure that the glossary is locale-specific.


6. Local Social Media Optimization

It is also recommended to optimize your website with the local social media. You need to add the buttons of the social media platform that are most widely used amongst your target audience in order to guarantee traffic from and to the local social networks. Some countries such as China have different social networks and it is very important to make sure that your website is optimized for those specific networks. This will help you gain traffic, as users will be able to easily share your content, offers and idea via their profiles.


7. Content management systems (CMS)

With the proliferation of translated and localized websites for all of your target global markets, it is now more practical to use Content Management Systems (CMS) which are able to handle localization and globalization of multiple target-language websites.

A content management system represents a multitude of procedures or a modern web solution used to manage workflow in a collaborative environment. They help to develop and maintain shared information, usually for websites but also for document and content control. Content management systems are also used to empower multiple users to the author and to edit and share information in multiple formats.


8. Location and Language selector

Visitors of your website need to be able to easily indicate their location and language.  Therefore, special icons should be included in the website design in order to indicate these choices. There are plenty of layouts and formats available, so you have where to choose from. Previous research in your project discovery phase should indicate which type of language indicator will be most appropriate.


In conclusion, it is obvious that using website localization is vital to any business seeking to move into international markets. With more and more companies seeking to tap into these lucrative markets, website localization has become a profitable field for translators.

The business side involves global and local coordination; production and operations, including finance; sales and marketing; language translation, including technology and linguistic coordination; software engineering, as well as design. The higher the technological abilities of the target culture, the more likely it is for website localization to be implemented and used effectively.

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About "" Has 116 Posts

Since an early age I have been passionate about languages. I hold a Master's degree in Translation and Interpreting, and I have worked as a freelance translator for several years. I specialize in Marketing, Digital Marketing, Web and Social Media. I love blogging and I also run the blog

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