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90% of EU internet users prefer websites in their own language.

Localisation is the process of making something culturally acceptable for a specific target audience. Translation is the process of accurately representing a source text without the creative licence to localise for the intended audience.

Website translation vs. website localisation

In this time of economic slowdown, many companies are looking to international trade to increase business while the UK market is slow. Done correctly this is a proven way to penetrate new markets and increase revenue, benefiting from other currencies strength against the pound. Unfortunately, it is a common misconception that just translating web content will generate overseas business. This is the right place to start but there is more to website translation than you might think.

Translating website content will indeed allow you to communicate with your potential clients in their own language, thus creating the building blocks for a good relationship but, if the website cannot be found on local search engines no one will be able to visit your site to benefit from your language pages.

99% of people who do not have English as their first language will search on search engines in their native language. Search engines then ‘spider’ or ‘crawl’ websites that have relevant keywords and phrases throughout their site, in their metadata, content and page titles. If you only translate the content of your page chances are that vital local keywords will have been missed and the opportunity to generate traffic has been lost as a result.

Website Localisation

Once your new client has found your website (assuming it has been properly optimised for local search engines) the next battle is to keep your potential client on your site long enough to engage interest and generate a result e.g. an enquiry or a sale. The most off-putting discovery for a non-English speaker is a poor translation. We have all had at some time the funny mistranslations forwarded to us. Funny as it may be, this can have serious implications for your business. If the quality of the translation is compromised in any way, then your translated pages may as well not exist.

If you are serious about an international business you need accurate website localisation and cultural internationalisation, taking into account nuances for your chosen markets, not just website translation.

The solution to this is to ensure you use experienced translators to properly localise the text for an online audience, rather than just translate it word for word. To localise text means to make the new language version sound as though it were written by a native company to that country, including local phrases, appealing to a particular culture and being sensitive to different associations in different countries.

With these factors in mind you will be on a strong footing to secure international trade and emerge from the UK crisis stronger than those who chose to cut back during times of downturn. To discuss your localisation requirements further why not contact a member of the team?

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