Web content localization is an advanced translation strategy because websites require constant updates and changes throughout their lifecycle. Navigating your entry into a new market while preserving all the work completed is rarely easy. Strong content localization services will simplify your rollout while helping you build the infrastructure needed to grow.
Starting early in the early growth stages of your site is the smartest way to approach content localization–the larger the website, the harder it is to localize. Even if you’re not planning international growth now, you should start dedicating some time to work on a strategy. With the right processes in place, you can enjoy continuous localization that reaches near automation.
Gauging Web Content Localization Needs by Maturity Level
The success of a web content localization strategy becomes much more elusive with website growth. Business leaders may focus heavily on developing their content in primary markets, but this strategy won’t necessarily carry over during international expansion. Most websites can be broken down into one of three growth stages:
Early website projects typically include one to 40 pages of content. Site size may be small in the beginning as the team develops a growth strategy, SEO, and customer service.
A website in its growth stage has between 20 and 250 pages of content. At this point, it expands rapidly as the content department has established processes and will publish faster.
A mature website will have over 250 pages of content. These sites will be the most challenging to manage as pages undergo constant updates based on business needs.
One major problem is that most business leaders don’t consider their web content localization strategy during the early stages of development. Instead, they reach full website maturity and try to roll out a massive localization plan. Meanwhile, as they’re updating their content, their website just continues to grow in size.
One of the first instincts business leaders have is to go with a proxy service. In this, a program creates an overlay for your content that translates to a specific language. As this is an easy-to-use tool, those who are in a hurry to complete their localization often favor it. However, there’s a lot of limitations including:
- No portability: A proxy program is just a mask so you can’t take the content with you if you decide to leave. You’re trapped in whatever terms of service and cost structure the company chooses.
- Limited flexibility: The proxy layer is dependent on the English content behind it. As a result, you can’t customize your web content for a specific language–you’re tied to the origin content.
- Poor SEO results: Proxy programs are dependent on temporary URLs, which are not Google crawler friendly. Any SEO strategy you design isn’t going to carry over to a new language.
An enterprise content localization strategy needs to rely on solid processes and infrastructure to ensure success. This growth plan will allow companies to take a scalable approach while still managing budgets for the long term.
Is Your Strategy Strong Enough to Grow?
No successful website will stay small forever–a strong content localization strategy will take that into account by planning out the infrastructure early on. Creating a sustainable architecture means establishing directories and sub-directories in target languages. With these, you can set up connectors that will help funnel content for translation to linguists and back onto the website.
When it comes to the translation of content itself, one of the biggest concerns is usually the budget. Companies either have to plan to keep their project small or allocate a massive budget to ensure coverage as the site grows. It’s a choice between low budget and low complexity or high budget and high complexity.
However, there is a way to have a low budget with high complexity. It requires leveraging localization tools like machine translation and learning how to prioritize high-need areas. In this, you would have the entire website machine translated, and those pages will get indexed by Google, allowing your business to set a foundation. Then, you can choose the highest-priority areas for human translation to improve the overall user experience. By working backward, you establish a presence in a foreign market, even with a highly complex website, while also limiting your expenses.
Successful web content localization is something that is both scalable and sustainable. That’s true from a technological perspective as well as a budgetary one. With a continuous process that doesn’t rely on proxies, companies create highly engaging content strategies for every market.