Localization is a complex process that involves adapting content to fit a target audience's linguistic and cultural context. Growing businesses looking to expand globally must be aware of key issues and challenges in localizing content for international markets and approach them strategically.
In this article, we'll explore the most significant localization challenges and provide actionable solutions for each one of them. By understanding and addressing these challenges, global brands can achieve effective and efficient localization, improve communication with their company's target audience and drive success in international markets.
Challenge no.1: Wasting time on manual processes
The localization process can be a slow and manual task involving repetitive and tedious work. For example, developers can spend hours extracting translatable content from an application code, while marketers may copy-paste text chunks and organize content manually.
Relying solely on manual processes can lead to errors, missed deadlines, and lower localization quality overall. Not only is it outdated, but it is also inefficient. Furthermore, manual processes can create a chaotic situation with endless spreadsheets, links, and lost files. Therefore, businesses must look for efficient and automated ways to simplify the localization process.
Automating the localization process is crucial to improving productivity and reducing errors. According to most translators, the utilization of translation management software that incorporates the latest computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools can increase productivity by at least 30%
By relying on high-quality automation tools, businesses can see an immediate improvement in workflow deliverability and a significant decrease in errors. In addition, the best translation management software
solutions also offer an efficient and user-friendly system that keeps all files and team members in one centralized digital location. This way, localization teams and businesses can streamline their localization process and save time while ensuring high-quality results.
Challenge no.2: Miscommunication and handling cultural barriers
Localization goes beyond just ensuring correct grammar and involves conveying subtle meanings and being culturally relevant through slang, references, and allusions. Nothing is "untranslatable" in localization because you can adapt everything to the target language to bridge cultural gaps.
A well-known example of cultural misinterpretation is the name of the Japanese car Mitsubishi Pajero,
which has a strong, pejorative meaning in Spanish-speaking countries. This example shows the importance of localizing content to avoid cultural misunderstandings. Cultural differences can also lead to miscommunication between project managers, translators, and content creators regarding communication style, work management, and work expectations.
To ensure high-quality localization, it's essential to work with native or bilingual speakers with profound knowledge of the language and cultural nuances. While machine translation can be helpful, it's insufficient for handling complex terms and ideas, so human proofreading is essential for locating inconsistencies stemming from cultural differences.
Additionally, encouraging open communication and collaboration among team members is crucial for getting the localization right. This facilitates feedback, discussion, and the ability to ask questions and challenge translation choices, leading to a more comfortable work environment for employees from diverse cultural backgrounds and eventually getting the localization and translation right.
Challenge no.3: Failing to satisfy the SEO specifics of the local market
Localizing each website's SEO requires understanding the differences in search habits and practices between markets. In that regard, blindly translating and publishing website content can produce low organic traffic to your new international web pages. In addition, key phrases and trending search keywords vary based on the local market demands, while different CMS and domain types may be more effective depending on the country.
It's also important to consider that Google isn't the most dominant search engine
in every country. Therefore, failing to address these local SEO specifics can decrease your visibility in the new market and hinder your ability to create unique, relevant content for local users.
Localization is crucial regarding SEO practices, as each market has unique trends and habits. Therefore, research is essential to adjust your content according to the specific country. In addition to optimizing meta titles and keywords, linking to local content and making sure your content is discoverable on popular search engines can also increase organic traffic.
Moreover, implementing marketing translation to tailor your content to local audiences can increase the click-through rate of ads by a significant percentage. Addressing these local SEO specifics will improve your visibility in the new market, and your content will be more relevant to local users.
Overcome the challenges of localization effectively
To avoid potential issues that may arise during localization, it is essential to rely on the expertise of bilingual translators and native speakers, conduct thorough research of the local market, and automate your work where possible. Localization technology can streamline and consolidate your efforts, leading to a more efficient and effective process.
By implementing best practices and utilizing the right tools, you can avoid the pitfalls of localization and successfully expand your business into new markets.