You’ve probably heard globalization and localization talked about alongside one another. You’ve probably even listened to these terms misused when discussing translation and other language services. But while these services may have similar and related functions for an international business, critical differences must be understood when creating content, especially website content, that serves global markets.
If you want to put your best foot forward in international markets, you’ll want to use globalization and localization to build effective business websites. Here’s a look at each of these services, how they differ from one another, and why they’re most effective when paired with one another.
Understanding Website Globalization
Website globalization involves many changes to a website that are only sometimes visible to the average viewer. While it’s essential to translate content that online visitors read, businesses should remember that search engines read much content hidden on your website, which plays a crucial role in your search page rankings.
If this content is in a different language than your website’s user-facing content, it can negatively impact your search engine optimization, reducing website traffic and overall performance.
Website globalization looks at meta descriptions, meta tags, file names, website URLs, dialog boxes, and other text-based elements that are all appropriately translated. It also ensures that your website’s user experience accommodates foreign-language speakers. Some examples are featuring fonts that support all the characters of the languages used on the site and using a responsive website design that can adjust text size and shape changes when translated into the target language.
The average visitor may not recognize or appreciate the impact of website globalization, but they will enjoy the smooth experience that results from an adequately globalized site.
Why Localization Matters
Localization primarily focuses on website content and elements that directly engage with your website visitors. The process of localization begins after language translation is completed on web pages. It closely examines all forms of content to optimize that content for the targeted native language, the region, and the communities being served.
Website localization focuses more on language and communication’s cultural and contextual elements. It includes everything from idioms and jargon that need to be understood by the target audience to images and even color schemes that create cultural or other types of connotations a business may want to avoid.
For example, while audiences in Mexico and Spain may each speak Spanish, they live in entirely distinct cultures and require many different approaches to website localization of business content.
How Globalization and Localization are Different From One Another
The difference between globalization and localization is that globalization focuses on behind-the-scenes and technical considerations for a translated website or mobile app. Therefore, it ensures that the technical aspects of a website’s operation are addressed and optimized even when translating into a different language. In contrast, localization focuses on modifying content to suit local culture and other contexts. Localization is concerned with the way content is experienced.
The Importance of Using Globalization and Localization Together
While some businesses choose between globalization and localization in a cost-cutting move, it’s important to remember that these two services complement each other but offer minimal overlap in terms of the functions they provide to your business.
Suppose a website is localized but not globalized. In that case, it could experience poor organic traffic, reduced marketing value, and an impacted user experience due to technical issues stemming from the translation process.
Similarly, a website that is globalized but not localized may succeed in driving the organic traffic you’re looking for, but its content will have less resonance with your audience. There is also the risk that a lack of localization could result in content that accidentally offends your target market, creating a negative brand experience just as you’re trying to build your business in this region.
When you’re building your business in a new market, your website will serve as one of your first impressions among your target audience. Investing in globalization and localization alongside your website translation services allows your organization to put its best foot forward, maximizing your business opportunities among a new client base. Due to the complementary nature of this, it’s best to have these processes handled by the same agency—provided each specific process is managed by qualified translators and linguists like ours at BIG Language Solutions.
At BIG, we are proficient at helping transform client websites into powerful tools that deliver relevant, engaging experiences to global customers. We have the language, cultural, and marketing expertise with the nimble tech stack to assist you from strategic planning and translation to going live. Contact us today to see how we can help you transform your website.