A company’s website is often its first public appearance in a new market. For some, it will be the single most cost-effective method of market entry, with little other outlay required. As a public marketing tool which can serve simultaneously as a product showroom, a point of sale and a communication portal, it is imperative that a site functions effectively and in line with local norms.

The following is a brief overview of the processes that are carried out to ensure that this happens, which together constitute the process of website localisation.

Before getting the work underway the translators and editors should familiarise themselves with the company’s core branding and values in order to produce effective, web-friendly text. This is often assisted by a preliminary website review, which assesses all aspects of a company’s website and its suitability for the new market. In some cases, there would be serious cultural or even legal implications of launching a site in a new market, and a professional review will help bring these to light.

The Process of Getting Translated Text onto The New Website

The process of getting translated text onto the new site is generally less time-consuming than DTP for print publication, as translators can work directly into HTML using a CAT (computer-assisted translation) tool such as Trados.

These tools also help linguists to ensure consistency of phraseology throughout the site. Most credible agencies will be able to perform website translations using CAT tools, and deliver files in the same format as they were received in.

Most languages written in a non-roman script (such as Chinese, Japanese or Korean) will need to be saved in a suitable encoding system to prevent character corruption. While each of these languages has its own commonly used encoding system (e.g. Shift-JIS for Japanese) all East Asian languages can be displayed in UTF-8 (Unicode) encoding.

This is usually a very simple process, but depending on the make-up of the files, anomalies can occur and so all files should be checked carefully before they go live.

The Process of Launching a Website in a New Market

Finally, the process of launching a website in a new market goes as far as ensuring that it is hosted and optimised effectively for search engines. For many markets websites can be hosted anywhere in the world without problems, but local hosting is recommended for countries such as China, where firewalls make access speeds very slow to sites hosted outside of the country.

This can be arranged as part of a localisation package, and your localisation provider should be able to advise on this. In China, all business websites must also be registered with the government – this is a fairly straightforward process for anyone with a local presence, but one which might not occur to marketeers who are not familiar with China.Once a site is complete, search engine optimization can be carried out to help the site attract visitors. This includes research into keywords which will help pages be identified by Google and the other local and international operators, insertion of these keywords into HTML and submission of the site to the major search engines.

This is not an essential process, but one which can be a huge aid in making sure a site actually gets viewed and maximising return on the investment in the rest of the process.

Website Localisation by Asian Absolute:

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