Critical questions that guide the localization process
Still, throughout the localization process, it is important to have a consistent guiding vision even if you have not fully settled upon a single plan.
Answering such general questions may seem useless. But many marketing managers struggle to articulate the reason behind some activities and investments connected to their localization approach. As a result, the resulting websites fail to fulfill the company’s objectives and often fail to appeal to local customers.
Therefore, your company has to create a wide localization roadmap by answering the following questions:
1. What is the goal of the website localization project?
Is your company looking to increase revenues in each of the localized markets or build a solid brand presence?
Have you prepared a timeline and KPIs for the project?
What is your estimated budget and ROI of the project?
2. What is the aim of the websites you are planning to create?
3. How are you going to serve your customers in different markets?
Does your company have any knowledge of local norms? If not, are you planning to hire a localization specialist?
What steps is your company taking to effectively reach your target audience?
4. What is your communication plan towards different markets?
5. Can you identify the crucial parts of the site?
6. Which Content Management System (CMS) are you planning to use?
Are you planning to use your current CMS or considering other solutions dedicated to Tier 2 markets?
What are your requirements for the global CMS?
For more information about choosing a CMS, read our Guide on CMS for Enterprise
7. Do you need a digital transformation partner?
Do you need a consulting partner to guide you through the digital transformation process or do you have the competencies in-house?
Depending on the project scale it can be quite a challenge to manage it on your own, so an experienced partner might make the process smooth.
These are just a few of the basic requirements and questions of which you should be aware when considering launching your website localization project.
Step 2: Create a consistent budget plan
Of course, everything requires money, so we cannot discuss website localization without mentioning the budget. You’re going to have to remain realistic about your plans in order to fulfill your objectives without exceeding the available resources. However, you also need to remain ambitious in order to deliver a truly exceptional digital experience suited to your chosen audience.
With that in mind, do not create a plan that cannot be supported by your budget. But at the same time, don't underestimate the resources and opportunities available to your company. Moreover, try to roll-out a budget that is consistent with your business goals. After all, George Washington once said: “We must consult our means rather than our wishes.”
Forgetting about strategy while planning spending and investments is one of the most common mistakes when it comes to localization. Remember that the budget is just a plan with numbers. It helps create a more precise roadmap that enables you to manage your vision while considering realistic limitations.
During the budgeting period, start by listing three to five goals that will be fulfilled assuming a certain level of funding. Make sure that each of these objectives represents a clear fit with your project plan. Generally speaking, don’t forget about including these two important elements:
Timeline: Is the whole project lifetime predicted in the budget request? If so, will the localization take a month, a quarter, a year, or even longer?
Assumptions: Budget projections are made based on certain assumptions. Try to estimate how localizing websites in just one market will affect your global sales. Remember to take a hard look at the assumptions you are making and explain your decisions based on historical and current data.
Getting the details in order
Normally, you will prepare two separate budgets: the launch budget and the maintenance budget. However, some companies offer their services on a Service as a Solution model, meaning you could invoice the costs on a regular basis rather than once when the project has launched. Keep in mind that this will affect your operating expenses (OPEX) more than your capital expenditures (CAPEX).
And even before you start creating a complex budget plan, make sure to consider how many websites you’re planning to localize. Are they in the same regions or are they spread out around the world?
When thinking about the cost of launching a website localization project, the following topics should be considered:
Which content management system you will use
What kind of translation services will be needed
UX/UI adjustments, such as adjusting marketing materials like images and videos
The availability of in-house employees
The possibility of utilizing consulting services
Working with an implementation partner
Whether or not you would be well-served by a maintenance partner that can help develop content while offering skilled development and support teams
Let’s expand on two of these points in greater detail before moving onto the third localization step:
Content Management System
There are a wide variety of CMS options out there, each of which can provide their own benefits and each of which are suited to different companies. Choosing the right platform can ensure that your localized websites are easier to manage and suited to the various markets in which you intend to operate.
This choice might lead you to remain with your existing CMS depending on the associated costs, your company’s particular circumstances, or the content you intend to publish. Regardless, it’s essential to take this platform into consideration when considering how your business will approach the localization process.
Website localization services
Generally, translation agencies or language service providers (LSP) calculate their work, based on the number of words that need translation, the number of languages involved, and the cost per word.
The cost of translation varies significantly depending on the method and provider you choose. You can obtain translation services from local providers as well as global companies. In some cases, companies can also use automated translation tools that are supervised by humans, which often proves to be cheaper and faster.
There is also a difference between global agencies that will translate your content to various languages and local companies that only operate in a single market. Freelancers provide yet another option to consider and are a compromise between professional agencies and crowdsourced translations. Still, professional LSPs’ services can be invaluable if the content is highly specific, such as technical, medical, or legal translations.
While preparing a budget, you should also verify offers precisely. A provider has to inform you what is included in the price and what type of services will result in additional expenses. Still, bear in mind that per word rates should be all-inclusive. Moreover, once you pay for the content, it should be widely available for use on your channels. We recommend working with a vendor who is as transparent as possible and offers flat rates regardless of website traffic or other changing factors.
Generally, providers that offer their services on a SaaS model include all the technical, maintenance, and support costs as part of their cost estimate. Rates usually vary depending on the level of service. However, if your vendor sells an on-premises solution, you should consider different categories of costs such as technical and support expenses, and divide them into two budget plans.
Step 3: Plan carefully. Together or separated? Choose the website localization approach
A successful localization project starts long before the process actually launches. First of all, decide what method of management you will take.
From a technical point of view, there are two different approaches to making your company’s websites global:
Both methods have advantages and setbacks. If you want to localize your offer, the first solution offers a better option as it enables your business to create fully contextual content that feels native for the customer.
The second method is generally appropriate for supporting the global launch of a standardized offer. As this approach results in the websites being managed by one domain, they must be almost identical. Therefore, translations can only slightly differ from the original text. Otherwise, the user may be redirected to the wrong page or end up misinformed about the product and its features.
However, in today’s business environment, customers expect a personalized and tailored experience. Therefore, relying on multilingual but not market-adapted websites could discourage some, though deciding on the first method also entails certain challenges.
One such problem is the management of multiple websites across different time zones and continents. In other words, if your company operates in 100 markets it means that your developers have to supervise at least 100 distinct websites, the number of which rises with every version translated into a different language. Therefore, businesses should establish proper procedures that will make managing websites anyhow possible even before starting the localization process.
It might be worth considering the use of a CMS vendor that is not only an implementation partner but also takes care of website maintenance. Reffine offers not only its Light DXP platform but also a Content Team to deliver region-specific digital experiences.