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Web Localization & Internationalization

THE MAJORITY OF INTERNET USERS SPEAK a language other than English. And there are no shortage of studies that point out that they prefer to read and interact with websites that feature content in their native language. If a significant portion of your business revenue comes from abroad, InterNation can help you maximize your presence in these markets.

L

ocalizing a website involves more than just translating the content of an existing English website into other languages.  The term localization (l10n) is defined as the process of adapting the language and content of the website as well as its layout and formatting to the target audience and culture of a specific local.

It goes hand-in-hand with the term globalization (g11n), the process of ensuring that the design of your multilingual information projects will be viable and relevant in multiple target markets and internationalization (i19n), the process of designing and engineering websites for expedient and cost-effective localization.

All web localization projects should begin with a review of countries, cultures and languages that are to be addressed by the website with a view to the existing content, which will need to be modified, adapted or recreated from scratch prior to translation. The existing technologies used such as HTML, XML, Flash, PHP, Java, etc. need to be identified as well as any Content Management Systems (CMS) to be used.  Requirements for foreign language SEO should also be defined.

Layout and site navigation, graphic elements, colors, images should all be reviewed and modified to align with the customs and expectations of the target audience and the requirements of the internationalized website.  Buttons, drop down menus, forms and data fields may have to be redesigned to accommodate a language that expands in translation, is written right to left or does not use capital letters.

The translation process will utilize state-of-the-art CAT tools and translation memories (TMs) to ensure that existing text is reused accurately and consistently and at a fraction of the cost of newly translated text. Of course any client-provided proprietary terminology glossaries or MT assets can be integrated into the translation process and leveraged as well.

After the reintegration of the text and graphics into the code of the website, there are two more essential steps to ensure your website works and presents flawlessly.

Functional QA: To test that all functional items (links, forms and input fields, drop down menus) work as intended on the same platform as the one they will be deployed on.

Linguistic QA: One last review and check to make sure all texts and graphics have survived their reintegration into the web environment intact and without newly introduced errors.

InterNation can handle the entire project for you or work closely with in-house or third-party web designers, developers and other web personnel you designate — we’ve never met a localization problem we couldn’t solve.