Website localization: why you can’t afford to ignore it anymore

Say you liked Indian food and decided to try making a dish at home, on your own. You search for a paratha recipe on the internet and find it on an Indian blog. Perfect, it’s in English, so you don’t have to google translate it. A scroll and a swipe later, you stumble upon the ingredients list. Wait, what? Two hundred ounces of flour? No, that’s grams. You keep on scrolling through the list, your despair growing with every line. At the sight of two deciliters of milk, you shut the laptop lid and grab the phone. That’s it: you’re ordering in from your favorite Indian takeaway. 

Now you know how your customers feel when they land on your unlocalized website. Still think website localization is useless?

Website localization: how does it affect your revenue stream?

We’ve recently covered the topic of mistranslations and how they hurt your business. Not localizing is no less harmful. Granted, it won’t lead you to massive lawsuits, but it does erode your revenue stream slowly and steadily— with every missed click of the checkout button.

A study by Common Sense Advisory in 2014 found that over 75% of respondents prefer buying from a website if the product or service is in their native language. Fast-forward six years, and we bet this figure has grown even higher. With an increasing amount of content out there, customers have become even pickier about who they buy from.

You’re targeting Latin America. Should you save money by localizing into Universal Spanish?

Localizing your website means more than just translating the text. It’s about adapting the visuals, the layout, the currency, and the tone of voice. All these items work together to resonate with the cultural context of the market. When looking at the localized content, it should feel as though it was created from scratch in the target language. 

The nuances of each Latin American Spanish variant start at grammar level, but they touch vocabulary choices, too. You’d use banano if you were targeting  Colombia, but you’d be bananas if you used the same word when targeting denizens of Mexico, Cuba, or Peru (where they call it plátano). 

That’s why skirting localization by translating your website into Universal Spanish won’t do the trick. While this variant is understood by all Spanish-speaking Latin America, it won’t convey the specific tone and style you desire. Nobody uses Universal Spanish in everyday communication.

Does your localization partner know your website CMS?

This is a fundamental point. Translation is usually done in a translation management tool. Which one–it’s really not your concern. You send the text to your language agency, and they send you the translated text back. Whether they’re using Trados, Memsource, or any other tool doesn’t affect you in the least bit. Website localization works differently. It has to be done directly in your CMS, or else you risk ending up with distorted layouts and unrecognized special characters. So apart from language and market knowledge, your localization partner must have a great technical know-how of your website’s CMS.

Wrapping it up: website localization is a key success factor

You’ve spent time and bucks perfecting your marketing campaign and your product specs. It would be a pity to throw all that hard work away because you failed to convey the power of your message in the local culture. The good news is that with LingPerfect, you can localize your website for any LatAm country, and we can do it in any CMS software: Drupal, WordPress—you name it. Give us a call to find out more.