9 tips for localising your website

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Localising your website can be a very difficult and complex task. First of all, you will most likely need to have the content on your website translated. Then you must adapt the style, graphics and cultural norms, to reach your target market.

Whether you have an existing website, or you are building one from scratch, these steps should help you in your quest to localisation. Good luck!

1. Examine your web traffic and sales statistics to see where your visitors originate from

To best make use of time and resources, have a look at the countries and areas people are visiting from. Depending on these results, you will need to decide which languages to translate into, and if it’s possible to internationalise your website without having to do any translations at all.

2. Talk to your website developer

Have a discussion with your website developer to talk about the project, its feasibility, cost and timelines. You should put them in touch with your translation company in the first stages of the project, so technical requirements can be decided upon before things become too complicated. For example, your webmaster will need to make a decision on the character set code, which will depend on the languages you intend to have the website translated into.



3. Appoint one person to be in charge of the project

You need one go-to person in your organisation. They should be in charge of communication between the translation company, the website developer and your company. Hopefully, this will reduce confusion and make the whole project much simpler.

4. Plan the management of the project, and be detail oriented

Centralisation and version control of files ensures consistency, and are vital to reducing the stress surrounding the project. Trust me, it’s a real pain to wade through several version of the same document, especially in a foreign language.

5. Ensure the source text is written in a simple, easy to understand language

Try your best to steer clear of any ambiguities, jargon, acronyms and colloquialisms because they can be quite challenging to translate.

6. Maintain consistency of terminology throughout the text

Especially when referring to the same concepts in different areas of your web site, consistency is key. Prepare a Glossary of Terms, and include a list of items such as titles or names that you don’t want translated.

7. Allow for text expansion or reduction of up to 30%

Depending on the languages you have chosen, the layout of your website may have to be slightly altered to allow for additional or less text. This is especially important for graphic files such as buttons containing text. If there is text with a graphic, separate the text from graphic files and the code. Be sure to indicate whether the graphics contain text and will need to be translated.

8. Provide a list of fonts and consider symbol use

Your translation company and graphic designer will need a list of the fonts you use so that they can be matched with the original text fonts. Also, please consider the issues of dates, currencies, tax, measurements and sizing and postage, and how you would like them translated and displayed. Avoid using apostrophes, ampersand, exclamation and quotation marks in strings.

9. Keep meticulous records of your project

Keep track of what has worked and what hasn’t, so you can measure the outcome of your efforts once the website goes live!


I hope you are successful in you endeavor to localise your website, and I would love to know if you found my tips helpful. Please leave a comment below sharing your localisation story.


xx Miss Translation

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