What is a Localization Strategy? Everything You Need to Know

Creating a localization strategy is the first step to expanding multiculturally and globally.

Dominic Dithurbides Avatar
Dominic Dithurbide

08. Juli 2022


Reaching out to new markets feels more accessible than ever. With a few clicks, international customers can find and purchase anything available to them. Setting up a shop and selling your products or services around the globe may seem simple. To do this properly, however, you must speak authentically to your target audiences and develop a solid reputation. The more competitive the market, the more necessary proper localization becomes. Learn what a localization strategy is and how to create one that will allow you to adapt content for global audiences successfully.

What is a Localization Strategy?

A localization strategy is a process of adapting a product or asset to a targeted location. Developing a localization strategy involves the integration of language translation, image appropriateness, product availability, message match, process definition, and regulatory compliance.

Localizing your content and products can bring many benefits to your business, including:

  • Finding opportunities for market expansion
  • Revenue growth
  • Building stronger customer relationships
  • Providing a better customer experience

Creating a Localization Strategy: Key Considerations

Global brands are expected to market locally, and local markets want more than just word-for-word translation. People want a localized experience from their first interaction with your brand and through the sales process, support, and service.

If you have a strong localization strategy, it will be easier to roll it out to new markets again and again. All the legwork is complete, and you know what to expect. Making the process predictable and repeatable is possible, so you can continuously grow measurably. So, where do you begin? Here are some key considerations when developing a solid localization strategy:

1. Where and Why Are You Expanding?

It is an exciting time to market your business in multiple languages. However, before you take steps to expand your reach, take a close look into your "why." Are you sales reaching a plateau? Are you seeing an influx of traffic and sales from foreign markets? Have you missed a key demographic within the country that speaks other languages? You have to figure out why you are expanding and ensure you are doing so for the right reasons. For example, expansion isn't a solution to slumping sales. You have to get to the root of your current problems and prove you're successful in your domestic market before even thinking about expanding.

Translation can be a national or international strategy. If you have determined that your business is poised to open up to a multicultural or international market, your next step is to figure out where. For example, most American companies first translate into Spanish to better address the US Hispanic population. They have no interest in international expansion but instead want to capture the diverse populations within the US. Before you localize, research your target market. Consider your target consumers' cultural norms and values and their linguistic and demographic characteristics. What languages do they speak? What similarities can your current product or service have with your new target audience? What cultural references do they understand? How do they prefer to buy products and services?

2. Who is Your Target Market?

Once you have taken the time to understand your whyand where, you have to figure out who you are targeting. It is not as simple as saying, “we are expanding into Mexico so we will target Mexican citizens”. Go deeper into the demographics, interests, and cultural preferences of the audience you have seen success with and/or see potential in. Developing buyer personas will enhance and personify your target market. A buyer persona is a research-based profile that depicts a target customer. Buyer personas describe your ideal customers, their days, the challenges they face, and how they make decisions.

Keep in mind that your current target market does not always translate 1:1 internationally. For example, suppose you work in B2B and typically mostly target men between the ages of 45-60 in executive positions. In that case, you'll need to rethink your strategy in countries such as Jordan, Saint Lucia, Botswana, or the Philippines, where most corporate managers are women. Leverage your existing audience data, but remember that other countries operate differently than where your business is already thriving.

3. What Are You Translating and Localizing, and  What is the Scope of Work?

If you’re ready to engage with international customers, you’ll need to determine whatneeds to be translated and localized. Remember, there are essential differences between translation and localization.Translation is converting content from the source language into a target language, respecting grammar rules. Localization, in contrast, is about more than rewriting the text into a different culture using its preferred language. It adapts your message to local audiences to include cultural context and appropriate transactional elements such as units of measurement, currencies, and time/date.

Important content you should consider localizing includes:

  • Marketing materials such as advertising and press releases
  • Website content (including SEO considerations)
  • Mobile apps and related content
  • Software to support your website, including customer service
  • Customer communications, including emails and SMS notifications

4. How Will You Localize Your Content? 

Envisioning the localization of various digital content can be overwhelming. But you don't have to implement localization alone! Developing high-quality translation and localizing content is what translating services such as MotionPoint provides.

To start, you'll need a style guide and glossary to enhance translation quality and localization effectiveness. Style guides and glossaries reduce confusion and rework by providing a standard reference for marketing and translation teams. They include rules for voice, writing style, sentence structure, and terminology, allowing translators to choose preferred language elements to communicate with your desired target audience effectively.

MotionPoint utilizes style guides and glossaries with translation memory technology so that translations can be reused at no additional cost. Translation memory is your brand's ever-growing database of all previously translated content. Whenever a new piece of content is translated, translation memory automatically recognizes and creates a new entry within your existing translation memory.

MotionPoint uses both industry and linguistic experts to professionally translate and localize content and marketing materials to allow you to reach and engage potential customers fully:

Human vs. Machine Translation

Translation and localization can be achieved through both machine and human translation. Machine translation uses software to convert text from one language to another through programmed rules and dictionary databases.  Because machine translation uses literal translations, it can produce errors that may affect messaging. In contrast, human translation involves a person fluent in language, industry and culture, converting text from the original source to the desired language.  Human translators effectively capture the original meaning of sentences. A combination of human and machine translation is ideal for reducing costs and achieving accurate and personable translation and localization results. Ask us if this approach is right for you!

Types of Translation and Localization Solutions

Various translation and localization solutions exist to support the implementation of the localization process further:

  • Translation APIsautomate the translation of text from one language to another in any multichannel publishing platform without storing or managing translation data. APIs are a customizable translation integration option that achieves brand consistency across all languages and channels.
  • With translation proxy based technology, the translation workflow process is effortless, providing a hands-off approach to translation and localization needs. MotionPoint’s proxy technology parses website source code to determine which content needs to be processed for translation, then works through the translation process automatically.
  • Translation connectors or integrations automate content transmission between a Content Management System (CMS) and translation service provider, making translations quicker and more cost-effective. Translation integration connectors and plugins are flexible and can be scaled as your project grows.

Simplify Your Localization Strategy with MotionPoint

Customers worldwide want to interact with brands in their preferred languages across multiple channels. Partnering with a translation and localization companyfor your translation and localization needs will lead customers to your content and keep them coming back. MotionPoint is a translation and localization company using advanced technology to optimize and manage translations through multiple channels. It can adhere technology to the needs of your business, no matter where your business takes you.

Letzte Aktualisierung: 08. Juli 2022
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Über Dominic Dithurbide

Dominic Dithurbide hat seine Karriere als kreativer, zielorientierter Marketingleiter der Übersetzungsbranche gewidmet. Dominic bringt seine Fachkenntnisse in den Bereichen des globalen Marketings, der Nachfragegenerierung und Markteinführungsstrategien in das Marketingteam von MotionPoint ein.

Dominic Dithurbides Avatar
Dominic Dithurbide

Marketing Manager