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Best practices that you must follow for successful website localization

best website localization practices

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Are you planning to localize your website to attract non-English speaking customers for your business?

Website localization is the need of the hour for businesses across various industries and it is much beyond the translation of texts from one language to another. According to Google, 90% of internet users in India prefer to consume their content in local languages.

When you localize your website, you make the content of the website culturally appropriate and cover all the linguistic nuances. 

Now let’s take a look at some of the best practices that you should consider while localizing your website in multiple languages.

Avoid hardcoding your website

As of 2022, 43.6% of websites on the internet were custom-made on a CMS platform whereas 36% of websites are still hard coded. Hardcoded websites are sites that do not use a content management system ( CMS) to manage the content of the site. When CMS websites allow users to log in from the back end and make minor edits to the website content, hardcoded sites do not allow that. The elements embedded in a hardcoded site can be edited only using specific tools. Any changes made on a static element of the website have to be manually replicated on all the pages. Embedding text in a hardcoded website can slow down the localization process as the entire code has to be traversed to determine the segments that need to be localized. This in turn makes the translation inconsistent. Even some of the elements in the CMS websites are found to be hardcoded and it can adversely impact the localization process. Files that contain hard-coded localizable content are difficult to maintain as well as version controlled.

Use text overlays in images for flawless translations

Text overlay refers to adding text to an image or video in your web page using HTML or CSS elements. Text overlays can be created as color overlays, gradient overlays, transparent overlays, etc. Using this technique the images and videos can be optimized and encoded effectively.

A text overlay can make your website’s images or videos stand out from the crowd and it can be shared very easily. When text is embedded into an image or burned into a video in a specific sequence, it is difficult to acquire it and translate. However, with text overlays, it can be easily comprehended and localized to any language without affecting the image or video.

Avoid partial localization of the website

Partial localization refers to the localization of only a certain amount of content on the website. One of the reasons for partial translations is that the company represents vernacular users as ‘provisional’. At times, companies end up localizing the website because of a government mandate and localize only the bare minimum content. Partial localization results in missing navigational and layout elements on the web page. When a website’s non-localized content stays in the site’s default language (English), the language users might need help navigating the site.

The framework and layout of the website might degrade or collapse and leave the legibility and usage of the website in question.  Non-localized content can result in gaps in the website’s navigation. If there are non-localized texts on a web page at places where there are design cues to the next page or for a call-to-action (CTA), it can cause confusion for the language users. According to experts, 72% of customers would prefer to learn about a product or service from a video. Therefore it is essential to localize multimedia elements like videos and infographics.

Importance of multilingual SEO

Multilingual SEO efforts optimize your website for different languages so that language users can find results through organic search. The ability to answer the same question in different languages gives multilingual sites topical authority and categorical quality. Since the advent of multilingual websites and other localized digital properties, search engines use various indexing and ranking algorithms to understand content developed in different languages. With the help of multilingual SEO, you can attract more traffic to your website from language-first users. Using dedicated urls with language indicators would make indexing your website easier for search engines. While devising the keyword strategy, make sure that each keyword is localized and adapted for the target market. It is important to strike a balance between translation and transliteration when creating optimal keywords. For example, product names like Titan or technical terms like Bitcoin should always be transliterated. As a best practice localize your website’s metadata along with the content for better ranking. 

If you are planning to localize your website in various Indian languages, it would be ideal to localize the alt tags for SEO benefits. An Alternate text  (alt-text) attribute is used to understand what the image is all about and how it is related to the website content. The alt tags enable the screen readers to read the information about the images and this helps people who are visually impaired. The alt attributes are identified as texts on a web page by search engines like Google and are displayed whenever an image fails to load.

Role of CSS in website localization

 

Localizing your website successfully relies heavily on the optimal implementation of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) files. The right use of CSS provides page control and element layout direction in multilingual websites. Many Indian languages like Tamil and Telugu have a bigger font size and languages like Urdu are written from right to left. Therefore it is important to set the right style for each language and set overrides for languages like Urdu which is written from right to left. By adding the ‘language class’ to the body of translated pages, locale-specific customized CSS files can be triggered when the user selects a particular language. While translating content in certain languages, using multiline wrapping and increased line height, etc can provide a better fit for the translated text. It would be ideal to use localized system fonts to get maximum character coverage.

Choose the right partner

Your website’s localization can take advantage of all the best practices mentioned above if you have the right partner. The language technology partner you choose should be able to seamlessly localize your digital properties and ensure flawless maintenance at all times.

MoxVeda is a phenomenal technology from Process Nine that can efficiently translate your website making any changes to the website code, database, or platform. The intuitive design of this technology ensures 100% CSS uniformity. In addition to its scalable service delivery model, MoxVeda offers flexible hosting options that include unlimited bandwidth with no investment in new servers. The platform supports all content management systems, development platforms, technology stacks, and architectural styles for developing websites. It is SEO-compliant and gives your complete control over your localized website.