Translation and Localization Services: The Essential Guide

Unlocking Global Markets: The Essential Guide to Translation and Localization Services


It’s common knowledge that the customer journey is no longer linear. Your own marketing analytics likely back this up. Shoppers meander through multiple touchpoints such as your website, email, and mobile app before purchasing. Yet 71 percent of consumers expect a seamless, personalized experience across all channels. To meet these expectations, you need to tailor the omnichannel journey to each individual’s language and cultural preferences.

While this may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. With the right translation and localization services, you can create multilingual customer experiences that resonate with global audiences. Our essential guide will walk you through the process—from determining what you need to localize to choosing a language services provider (LSP).

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Understanding Translation and Localization

Let’s start by clarifying the difference between translation and localization. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, each process serves a different purpose. And you need to know which one is needed for a given project.

Translation involves adapting text from one language into another to recreate the original message. This method is ideal for technical manuals, customer support, and other content that requires little to no cultural adaptation.

Localization, in contrast, extends beyond adapting text and takes into account cultural norms and preferences of the target market. This includes altering cultural references, images, units of measurement, and more to reimagine the user experience for local audiences. It’s ideal for company websites, marketing campaigns, and other content that needs to conform to local expectations to succeed.

Think of it this way: translation can be a stand-alone service or it can be part of a larger localization process. 

Translation Management Systems

As you can see, translation and localization services play a crucial role in global expansion. They allow you to communicate with your target audience in their own language, which increases the odds of a successful connection. And they help you build trust by showing customers that you understand and respect their culture.

The Value of Localization in Different Industries

In fact, most global businesses can benefit from localizing aspects of a product or service. To prove it, we’ll show you how three different industries use localization to reach new markets.     

Ecommerce and retail

Ecommerce and retail thrive on customer engagement, and localization plays a pivotal role in that. By localizing their websites and platforms, businesses can:

  • Expand global market reach. Brands can enter new markets, attract diverse customers, and increase sales through localized e-commerce platforms and retail websites.
  • Ensure cultural relevance. Localizing product descriptions, images, and payment options builds trust and credibility with consumers.
  • Customize marketing. Marketing campaigns tailored to the local language and culture can significantly increase conversion rates.

Amazon, for instance, localizes millions of words every week to keep product listings up-to-date in multiple languages. This ensures online shoppers enjoy a seamless experience—regardless of language or location.

Software and technology

The demand for localized software and technology has grown significantly in recent years. As a result, adapting products for global markets helps companies gain a competitive edge by:

  • Increasing market penetration. Companies can reach a wider audience by localizing technology and software products, especially in non-English speaking countries.
  • Enhancing the user experience. Incorporating native language support and cultural norms makes software more user-friendly and intuitive.
  • Meeting legal requirements. Following local regulations and laws ensures legal compliance and fosters user trust.

For example, Microsoft’s Customer Experience and Success team (CE&S) localizes all of their customer service-related content into 47 languages. This improves the user experience and increases trust among global customers.

Marketing and advertising

Localization is the key to successful marketing and advertising campaigns. When marketers adapt their messaging to the local language and culture, they achieve:

  • Effective communication. Localized marketing campaigns elicit higher response rates and increase brand loyalty.
  • Culturally-relevant campaigns. Advertising that reflects local customs and beliefs prevents cultural misunderstandings.
  • Higher ROI. Localization increases the chances of campaign success, resulting in a higher return on investment (ROI).

For example, a global marketing agency that specializes in retail localizes everything from websites to packaging as part of a client’s product launch. This ensures that the entire customer experience is tailored to local preferences.  

Regardless of your industry, you too can leverage localization to connect with your target audience on a deeper level. It just takes a little background knowledge to get started.  

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Key Steps in the Localization Process

While every localization project has its own specifications, it typically includes certain steps. To give you a better understanding of how it works, let’s walk through the process of localizing an eCommerce website.

Start by identifying potential target markets to determine their size, demand for products, and cultural preferences. You’ll use this information to choose a location that best aligns with your business goals.

Analyze all eCommerce content, including product descriptions, images, videos, and user reviews. This will help you prioritize which content to localize first.

Translate all relevant website content into the target languages, including user interface (UI) elements, product information, shipping and payment details, and any other text visible. This will allow users in different countries to access your website in their native language.

Modify the content to match the target market’s cultural norms and sensitivities. This may involve adapting product images, colors, symbols, and other visual elements to resonate with the local audience.

Offer local currency options and payment methods preferred by the target market. This ensures that the payment gateway and checkout process are compatible with local payment systems.

Optimize shipping methods and costs to meet local customers’ expectations. This could include partnering with local shipping providers to ensure timely and reliable delivery.

Ensure that the eCommerce platform complies with the target market’s legal and regulatory requirements. This includes data protection laws, tax regulations, and product labeling standards.

Adjust the website’s navigation, layout, and user interface to satisfy the target market. You may need to rearrange content, translate menus, and optimize page load times.

Ensure that your eCommerce platform is mobile-friendly and compatible with popular devices in the target market. Keep in mind that mobile commerce makes up the majority of sales in many regions.  

Provide customer support in the local language(s) using a variety of channels, such as email, live chat, or phone. This builds customer trust by demonstrating a commitment to their needs and expectations.

Verify that all aspects of the localized eCommerce platform work correctly and that there are no linguistic or technical errors.

Develop marketing strategies tailored to local audiences, including localized advertising, social media campaigns, and promotions.

Now, if localization looks too complex to take on in-house, don’t worry. You can outsource most of the process to a language services provider (LSP). They’ll provide the linguistic, cultural, and technical expertise you need to bring your project to life.

Choosing the Right Localization Services

Yet given the number of LSPs out there, you may wonder how to choose the right one for you. Here are some tips to help you decide:

  • Look for organizations that specialize in your industry, target market(s), and the services you need. Localization requires expertise in these areas to accurately adapt your product or service for local buyers. Not all providers serve the same industries, markets or language pairs, nor do they all specialize in every type of localization.
  • Check for accreditations and certifications. Verify that organizations are ISO 17100-certified for translation quality, and ISO 18587:- certified for MTPE (Machine Translation with Post Editing). This is particularly relevant in industries like pharmaceuticals and finance that are subject to regulatory approvals.
  • Ask for client references. Reliable LSPs will have plenty of client references to demonstrate their capabilities. Ask about clients that work in your industry, are similar in size, and have similar localization and language needs. This will give you some insight into whether a provider is the right fit.
  • Make sure vendors have the right technological capabilities. Choose a partner that offers robust technological solutions and integrations. For example, localization providers should be able to integrate their workflow management platform with your company’s systems via APIs.  
  • Ask for clear upfront pricing. Ask to see how many free MT words are included, what their price per word is for ad hoc projects, or for subscription services.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll be on your way to finding the perfect fit for your project.

Introduction to Our Multimedia Localization Services

If you need help with multimedia localization, look no further than Jockers. We offer a full spectrum of translation and localization services to help you go global. Our AI-powered WordsOnline platform can continuously localize: 

By combining machine translation with post-editing by our expertly trained linguists, we provide the highest quality translations. And our professional designers ensure that all media is localized for purpose and context. We can work with a range of DTP or multimedia file types, and our follow-the-sun methodology means there’s always a designer ready to work with your content. You’ll reach new markets faster than ever with our efficient and cost-effective localization solutions.

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Reach Global Markets with Jonckers

In short, translation and localization are the keys to unlocking global markets. By adapting your content to different cultures and languages, you can reach international audiences and experience unprecedented growth. However, unless you plan to build an in-house localization team, you need to outsource your project to an LSP that specializes in your industry.

At Jonckers, we have the expertise and technology you need to localize your website, videos, DTP files, and more. By combining our continuous localization technology with our team of linguists and designers, we provide accurate, culturally-relevant translations in any language.

To learn more about how Jonckers can help you go global, arrange a chat with one of our team, at a time that suits you…   


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