How many languages do you speak?
Personally, I was raised bilingual, and English is my THIRD language. But still, I have to heavily depend on it in order to remain informed in this tech generation, where it is easily assumed that English is sufficient as a communication tool, and is understood by most.
I do think I’m fluent and understand almost anything pretty easily, even cultural references.
If you speak more than one language, you know the relief when you see content in your mother tongue.
If you know that feeling, then today I’m here to teach you how to make use of it to engage native speakers of languages that you don’t even speak to love your product.
And if you don’t know that feeling, or if English is your first language and you make smart choices like providing people content in their preferred languages, then I’m going to aid you in how to do it.
In short, I’ll talk about the following in this article:
- What is localization?
- How is localization different from translation?
- Why is localization actually much more important than you think?
- And X tips for finding the best localization tool.
- Localization is the process of adapting your business to different cultures and languages by going beyond translation and adopting a new strategy for that locale.
- Even though many people don’t know the difference, localization and translation are not the same. Translation is only a part of the localization process.
- If you haven’t done it yet or if you aren’t sure whether you should go global, you should. Because:
- The SEO competition for other than English keywords is lower,
- Because you want to double your sales and 40% of people won’t buy from you unless they get content in their own language,
- Because whatever you sell, people outside the USA and other English-speaking countries need it too while the competition is much lower,
- And because it’s just very easy.
- If that’s not convincing enough, you should also bear in mind that most 3rd-party tools come with their own localization feature so that you don’t have to deal with them as well.
- UserGuiding, for instance, allows you to create smooth and engaging onboarding flows that convert more users, and saves you from the burden of doing any of the translation yourself!
What is Localization?
Localization, or language localisation, is adapting a product or service and turning it into a good fit for a different locale (group of people that share the same language and culture). Overall, localization goes beyond a simple translation process, includes conversion of standard rules, and could go as far as adopting a whole different content strategy for a target language or culture.
Many people use “localization” and translation interchangeably, but no.
I feel like I studies translation and interpreting studies and became a marketer just to confirm that translation is just a small percentage of localization, and they are not the same.
How is localization different from translation?
👉Translation is the process of communicating a message from a source language to a target language.
- In most cases, two different cultures that speak the same language should be able to understand the same translatioın and respond to it.
👉Localization, on the other hand, is a much bigger project of recreating a campaign for a whole new culture.
- Even if two cultures speak the same language, you might have to create two different localization strategies for those cultures.
For instance, both the USA and the UK speak English. But when you mention “the office”, they will think of two separate things that resemble each other.
If you know you know, The Office UK consists of dark humor and is s short series with a single season.
The Office USA, on the other hand, is full of smiling faces, and character development, and lasted a whopping 9 seasons long.
Here is the tea ☕: The first season of both shows are very similar. They are dark, don’t have a happy ending, and make humor for the sake of humor. But the American folks didn’t dig that, and the show almost got canceled. But then, the show changed its focus to making humor for the sake of teaching a valuable lesson and developing the main characters as individuals, and that is why it was able to last 9 seasons long.
You see, localization is just like this.
If you want to succeed internationally, you have to adapt to the ecosystem you’re going.
You can’t present the same ads you use in Spain to reach the hearts of people in Colombia.
And that’s why:
5 Reasons why localization is more important than you think
So yes, localization and translation are very different things. Localization includes taking a whole mindset into account, and shaping your strategies around it while going to the market in that part of the world.
I’m not saying “country”, because a country can consist of many locales, and a locale can also expand beyond a country.
If you still aren’t convinced that you definitely need more accessibility than what’s the “default language”, here is a good list of reasons that could (and should) change your opinion:
1- Because you want to dominate Google in more languages
B2B or B2C, doesn’t matter. If you want to survive in 2023, you have to have an online presence, a website, social media, etc.
And I’m 99% sure that you do incorporate SEO strategies for marketing.
If so, you know that the competition for English keywords is immense. In some cases, you have to beat Amazon and Etsy with domain ratings of 95+, or blogs with more than 4k backlinks in your domain.
That’s not the case for other languages.
Let’s say that you are selling cat food. For your primary keyword, “cat food”, here is what the Ahrefs keyword finder results look like:
The traffic potential is 14K, but you have tons of competitors to beat and to rise to the top to get those 14K people to visit your website, only for a handful of them to make a purchase.
But, if you spice things up a bit more, and you localize your website to a Spanish-speaking locale, here is what happens:
The 1K traffic potential and the 0 keyword difficulty here is waiting for you.
This is why you should prioritize investing in localization.
But that’s not all:
2- Because you want to double your sales
Investing in a proper localization strategy can double your sales, and this is proven by research.
The “can’t read, won’t buy” research by CSA research has been repeated 3 times since 2006, and the last one was in 2020.
Here is what people said, with numbers:
More than half of the people prefer content in their own language, even if they speak the default language, or even if the translation is made by a machine.
And 40% of people will not buy in other languages.
And since you want to double your sales by convincing the people that will buy in their own language, and the skeptical ones that prefer buying in their own language, you will accomplish your goal.
4- Because the competition around the globe is lower
It’s not only SEO that is easier to dominate when you switch to other languages than English.
It’s the customers, the search volume in-app store and google play, the number of competitors, and the level of those competitors.
And you don’t even have to change much to reach them, you won’t be setting up a new website after all:
5- Because it’s easy
Localizing your product isn’t that difficult. You only have to take care of the settings, such as changing placements or buttons for right-to-left languages, or cultural no no colors, etc.
Here is a good read from my favorite localization tool Phrase about how to localize your software.
Now, you should find your tool, and the translators, and you will have a whole new door opened for more and maybe better revenue streams.
3 tips for finding the best localization tool
1- Don’t! Many web products have automatic localization features now.
Don’t get me wrong, investing in localization is essential to spike your revenue up.
But, instead of getting a localization tool to “translate” your web page or your app, just choose tools that already have this feature built-in.
Do you have a chatbot? Make sure it provides answers in multiple languages.
Do you have ratings and reviews? Try to be diverse and collect it in multiple languages, not only in English.
And most importantly, if you have a third-party tool integrated to handle the onboarding, make sure that it can be localized as well.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to localize your onboarding as well 🔎
Let’s say that you have a website, web app, and you are going global in 2 new languages. You will add Arabic and Spanish to your stack.
You did the website, you did the app, you translated everything, formatted, revised… And you spent a good sum of money as well as a time equivalent to a few months to make sure everything is perfect.
Some time passes, and the results aren’t as satisfying as you needed them to be.
But you can’t seem to figure out why.
Then, you realize that your onboarding tool isn’t matching the changes and showing content in Arabic or Spanish.
And your customers are presented with English “Welcome!” messages.
I’m telling you, it is time that you ditch that useless tool that doesn’t even have a built-in localization feature.
Use UserGuiding instead, because with UserGuiding, you get this:
And you also get this:
While you also get:
- Resource centers,
- NPS and in-app surveys,
- Multiple integrations,
- USA and EU server hosting options,
- And a dedicated customer support.
UserGuiding also offers free migration services for your in-app content created using other software to minimize your switching costs.
Schedule a demo with one of our experts or start your free trial now:
2- If you still need a tool, look for one that makes accurate unit conversions.
As I mentioned, there is a bit of detail work when you go for a different locale, and thus, a different language.
For instance, the date 06/07 represents the seventh of June for Americans, while in Europe, that date is the sixth of July. Such conversions aren’t made automatically in all tools. At least, not in translation tools.
So make sure that the tool has all the necessary functionalities when you select the tool you will trust your whole business with a market with.
There is actually a list with 10+ things you should look out for while selecting the tool, so, I’m stitching it here.
And as a translation studies graduate myself, I have to add that the following is very important:
3- See if translators and developers are familiar with the interface and make sure it won’t be a hassle for them
There are a huge ton of tools out in the market, most of them with similar functionalities.
But did you know that the translation and localization tool you use shouldn’t be a “uniquely perfect” one with all the differences from others?
Please, don’t do that to your team.
If you want your localization process to be smooth and fast, make sure that the translators and your developers that are participating in the process can get ahold of the tool you choose easily.
Localization is an underrated growth hack.
This is what I claimed and will keep claiming until AI takes over and eliminates the need to do manual localization.
Until that time, be sure to make use of tools that have built-in localization features – or else, you will miss out on a huge portion of the world that could be interested in your content, but doesn’t prefer English sources.
Be smart. Don’t miss the opportunity.