6 Things to Keep In Mind When Selecting Content to Localize

Lucy Xu
June 19, 2018
5 min read

In recent years, the process of localizing your website has become significantly easier and more accessible for businesses of all sizes. With translation solutions – from enterprise SaaS translation software to specific translation services – becoming more widely available and affordable, more and more businesses can now produce content for global audiences. But once you’ve selected your solution, how do you know which content you should translate first?

While it is tempting to just say “translate all of it!” … this is easier said than done. And in many cases, it is more effective for you to identify targeted content areas that you want to localize first. This way, you are translating the most important content first, likely enabling you to roll out your launch in a new market much earlier than if you were to wait for everything to be translated at once. It can be a daunting process trying to figure out exactly which content you should be prioritizing in your localization queue, but it helps to know where to start.

Here, we’ve broken down the key considerations to take into account, and methods you can use to evaluate which content to translate first.

1. Map your translation efforts to your business goals.

The first order of business is to determine which content should be translated to support your business goals. If you’re globalizing your web presence to support a full product launch in a new country, you’ll want to include key product information pages, documentation, and support materials. If you’re trying to attract new business, then your top-level marketing pages are key. Identify the content to localize that best supports your business goals, whether product pages, customer support materials, top-level marketing information, or all of the above.

2. Be aware of your localization resources.

Regardless of the size of your localization project, it is important to recognize all the resources required to bring your localization plan into a reality. This goes beyond localization budget and also encompasses all the time, energy, and coordination that will be required of your localization and translation team. If you have sections on your website that require a lot of changing content (i.e., your blog), it will be difficult for a business with limited staff and translation resources to handle effectively. Instead, you can focus on localizing more manageable areas of your website to convey the value of your business in the new market.

3. Identify content that require special considerations.

Some types of content, like legal statements, require special considerations in order to translate them effectively. Establish a systematic process of evaluating your various content sections to get a strong understanding of the sections that may need specialized translations.

4. Look at entire sections.

In general, it is best practice to look at entire sections of your website when evaluating which content to translate. If you make the translate/no-translate decision on a more specific level (such as per page or content module), then the localization process will require much more customization. While the customized approach works if you have many resources at your disposal, it is generally not recommended for smaller organizations or those just starting out with a multilingual initiative. Instead, start with a straightforward holistic approach, then expand from there.

5. Industry benchmarks are your friend.

You are most likely not the first company in your industry to start building a global presence (and if you are… congratulations!). This being said, industry benchmarks can be a handy comparison tool. Do a little research to see how others in your space are approaching localization, and leverage existing localization frameworks to develop one for your own global expansion efforts.

6. Always keep the customer top of mind.

As with any other aspect of a business, the customer always comes first. As you localize your content, remember that the reason you’re developing multilingual content is to support your customers better. This means that providing a strong customer experience, especially as you enter new markets, must be taken into consideration at every step of your localization planning and implementing process.

Explore the Full #TranslationMustKnows Series

This post is part of the #translationmustknows series, built to equip everyone in your localization process – from developers to localization managers – with the knowledge and resources necessary for achieving translation and localization success.

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Achieve Website Translation Success

Website localization is a complex task. That’s why we’ve put together a guide that breaks down each key step of your software localization process from start to finish. Download the guide for action items and best practices for website and app localization, and an overview of the results that effective localization can drive for your business. Whether you’re a digital marketer responsible for all the facets of your company’s website or a webmaster responsible for the infrastructure and processes behind the scenes, this guide will walk you through all the critical steps of localizing your content.

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Lucy Xu
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