Three Localization Lessons from Superstar Websites

Category: Website Translation

How do you translate your website’s U.S. appeal for an international audience? Let’s look to three multilingual sites from TIME’s 2010 Top 50 list for a few examples of how website localization can be done right.

Each teaches a different lesson ­— but what do these sites have in common? The companies behind them took the time to really understand the true goal of website localization: making sure a user from a different culture could easily interact with their site. Rather than just translating to other languages, they optimized their interfaces to make it easy, familiar, and enjoyable for their international users to navigate, shop, and network.

1. LinkedIn: Align your website localization with your global business strategy. In order to achieve their business objectives in other language markets (German, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish and French), the premier social site for professionals established:

  • Multilanguage customer support, training local staff and localizing training materials
  • Multilingual payment processing, backed by deep knowledge of local banking customs and laws
  • Localized advertising, translated or “transcreated” when appropriate

2. Localize your site’s images, too. This home-budget management site recently launched the Canadian-English version of their site. Subtle yet important image changes between the two versions help Canadians see this as a site they can trust because shows a true understanding of Canadian culture. Cash and coin images reflect Canadian currency, checkbook images show a Canadian bank ­— and the sports car representing auto loans is a more-conservative model for our neighbors to the north.

3. Make your navigation easy to get through in any language. This language-learning site connects native speakers and language learners from around the world in a multilingual classroom and forum. So it made perfect sense for them to create multilingual landing pages in 11 different languages. The navigation is clear and uncomplicated, favoring a parallel experience within the site across all languages. Find out more about creating a good multilingual nav experience on your site in this Acclaro blog post.

Check out this Acclaro article for more great localization tips and best practices from TIME’s Top 50 sites.