Have you ever wondered about the localization strategy followed by the biggest global websites?
The Internet allows us to connect with people on the other side of the world with just a click. Many companies go global and utilize this connectedness of the world in order to reach more customers.
If you want to maximize the potential of your brand, localizing it for new markets is inevitable. However, localization is a complex process that involves experts in various spheres working together in a team. Its complexity is the reason why it is a major investment.
This is a big move, no doubt, and many have failed. Contrary to most people’s expectations, localization is not “one size fits all”.
The localization strategy a company employs depends on a number of aspects such as industry, target locales, budget, etc.
This is exactly why you should consider very carefully what kind of localization strategy is the best choice for you.
To make this easier, here is a list of 10 brands that have localized their website successfully in more than 10 languages.
In this blog, we will have a closer look at what kind of localization strategy businesses from different industries have implemented, so that you can have a clearer idea of what would best suit your needs.
Wikipedia is often the site that comes up on top of every search and there is a good reason for that. The website is available in more than 320 languages which makes it among the most localized websites in the world.
It is in 13th place in Alexa ranking and has estimated traffic of over 5.5 billion visits.
When it comes to its’ localization strategy, we should take into consideration what Wikipedia really is. This is a community content website on which every user can contribute in the form of written content or in other words, articles on various topics.
Wikipedia’s main aim is to inform and distribute information regardless of language.
For this purpose, the company has created a Content Translation tool that can be used by any user on the Internet.
This tool allows you to translate an already existing article into another language. This process, usually done by volunteers for free- all the translations are user-generated!
The layout of the website has become a key feature of the brand Wikipedia. It prioritizes readability in order to suit its users’ needs. So the design and colors of the website remain the same regardless of the language.
Google’s search page, is translated into 149 languages. While this is a quite fascinating number, the company has expressed concerns regarding its’ potential further expansion into other languages.
The problem is that it can be virtually impossible to translate the website into some languages if there is not an ample amount of resources on the internet. This the greatest downside of MT.
Google uses its in-house machine translation (MT) to translate its search engine.
Parallel data is the greatest concern when it comes to MT. MT engines rely on big quantities of data (millions, even billions of parallel segments). While this is a very cost-effective strategy, in some cases it does not do the work.
In the case of Google, the company uses existing translation available on the Internet to train its engines. Needless to say, languages with a limited amount of resources cannot be translated by MT.
In order to overcome this issue, Google’s Translate Community members are working on improving the existing technologies.
Check Out: GLOBAL LANGUAGE FACTS
However, this is will take some time. What’s more, MT will never be as precise as human translation which makes it a very unreliable localization strategy.
Wikipedia is available in twice as many languages compared to Google. Still, Google has a total of nearly 90 billion visits.
Google ranks at the very top of Alexa’s ranking.
Clearly, striving for localizing your business in as many languages as possible, not necessarily needed to be number one globally, so choose wisely!
Also Read: Why Translation is an Intellectual Pursuit
Tinder has taken the world by storm and is currently used in 90 countries in 56 languages. Its total amount of visits estimated to be around 120 million.
As you can see, the company has decided to stick to the same design in all languages – the images, the layout of the page are the same and only the text is translated into the various target languages.
Tinder is an example of a company that successfully implements MT in order to reach a wider audience.
What’s more, Tinder has recently brought MT to the next level. Alongside translating content on the website, MT has been implemented in Tinder’s app’s newest feature – translating messages.
This means that two people can chat in different languages and the MT engine will automatically translate the text.
It should be pointed out that MT is particularly suitable for non-literary, straightforward texts in which little mistakes will not hinder the user from understanding the meaning of the text.
When it comes to communication, MT, a great way to eliminate the language barrier. This technology is often used by global companies in which emails and other forms of written communication are frequently used.
Instant messaging in the context of Tinder might, however, prove to be a challenge for MT. The problem stems from the fact that texting is a form of written communication that involves a lot of abbreviations, slang words, and jokes.
Generally, this kind of colloquial, informal language is rather ambiguous and ambiguity is the greatest enemy of MT since the engine does not consider the meaning of the word in a particular context.
4. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Christian organization. You might be wondering why it is included in this list, but actually, the website of the organization implements a very interesting strategy.
The website currently has around 28.5 million visits. What’s more, it is available in 159 languages, however, this might be a little misleading.
While the user can choose from that many languages, the content is not the same. For instance, the page in Spanish contains much more articles than the page in Romanian, Check out the image below
While there is content available in Romanian, it is considerably less than the number of articles that can be read on the Spanish page.
In this case, the reason behind this decision might be the fact that the organization is much more popular in Spain than in Romania, and thus, the organization decided to save up from translating content in Romanian.
The logo of the organization remains on top of the page in any language one chooses. Overall, there are only slight changes in the design across the different languages.
This is a good strategy when you want to test out the potential of your product in a new market. Instead of going all in, you can simply take it step-by-step.
Tripadvisor is the best friend of every traveler! It is among the largest travel guidance platforms and has an estimated traffic of nearly 170 million visits.
The website provides travel guides as well as reviews and ratings for different rentals around the world. The website is available in 28 languages.
The interesting thing is that the websites are taken into consideration that some languages have a few different varieties.
For instance, the user can choose between Mexican Spanish and Spain Spanish. What’s more, the website allows you to choose from different currencies regardless of your location and language.
It should also be pointed out that the reviews and guides that are available on the website are also translated. However, when it comes to reviews, they usually get translated with MT.
While there might be certain mistakes in the translation, the most important thing is that the reader can understand what is being said.
Overall, Tripadvisor employs a localization strategy that aims to bring comfort to its international users by paying attention to the little details.
6. Hyatt Hotels Corporation
The Hyatt Hotel Corporation, best known for its luxurious hotels, resorts, and vacation properties. Their website is available in only 10 languages and the total amount of visits exceeds 10.5 million.
Interestingly, the company has opted for a logical URL structure with page hierarchies.
In other words, instead of creating subdomains for each language, the company uses a single domain with different categories for each language.
The greatest advantage of this approach is the logical structure of the website as well as the SEO-friendly URLs which contain keywords.
What’s more, the company has a hotel in Sofia, Bulgaria and instead of translating the rest of the menu in Bulgarian, they have simply translated the main page of this hotel. When it comes to the rest of the content – it is available in English.
Also Read: How To Localize Your Website For China
Coca-Cola is loved all over the world – people in over 200 countries enjoy the refreshing drink.
The company’s website has been visited over 1.8 million times. But how do they remain on the global market for such a long time?
Let’s have a look at their website(s). In fact, what stokes me from the very beginning is the fact that for each country there is a separate domain.
What’s even more interesting is that there are considerable differences between some of the regional websites while others are more or less identical.
Above you can see images from the Bulgarian and the German website. While the overall design is completely the same, the pictures presented are different and for obvious reasons – culture.
Check Out: LANGUAGE INFOGRAPHIC GALLERY
For instance, the Coca-Cola company has taken into consideration that Euro2020 is a more appropriate topic for the Bulgarian market while the pride flag will be better appreciated in Germany.
If we look at the websites of Coca-Cola for countries outside of Europe (such as India and Japan) you will immediately notice the different designs.
Coca-Cola’s website is available in more than 20 languages, however, the name remains the same – Coca-Cola is called Coca-Cola around the world.
Indeed, the name of the product remains the most iconic feature of the brand and while the websites’ designs may differ, the name of the company and its logo remain the same.
8. United Airlines
The United Airlines’ website is available in only 9 languages but is has 30.5 million visits. It should be pointed out that the company has taken into consideration some little details which make a big difference.
For instance, when you select a language (e.g. Portuguese) you can choose from different currencies which are used in the countries where this language is spoken. For instance, Portuguese is the official language of Portugal and Brazil. Thus, you can choose between the currencies of these two countries.
Indeed, the payment can be regarded as a central aspect of the United Airlines’ website. By providing plenty of currency options, the company is much more likely to be used by foreign customers due to its flexibility.
NIVEA has opted for separate domains for each language they are available in. For instance, the domain for Germany has nearly 1 million visits, while the one for Britain – over half a million.
The company’s website offers an overview of its products as well as a blog with articles on various topics.
It is interesting that the blog posts are different on each website and in each language. This means that the company did not invest in translation, but rather chose to create articles for each audience to suit their customers’ tastes.
Interestingly, many think that localization strategy involves only the translation of already existing content. NIVEA proves these people wrong.
However, this is strategy is not implemented for every locale. Looking at the US and Indian domains, which are both in English, one cannot overlook the fact that the content on the blog is identical.
Tesla has received a lot of attention recently. The American electric vehicle manufacturer has a very sleek-looking website that is available in quite a few languages. Currently, the website is available in 25 languages and its traffic is estimated to be over 17.8 million visits.
However, Tesla has taken up a rather different approach in this regard. Instead of simply listing all the available languages, the user can choose separate regions (e.g. Europe, Middle-East, Asia-Pacific, etc.). By clicking on the region one can see the countries for which the website is available and underneath its name, you can find the possible languages to choose from.
For instance, in Switzerland, one can choose from German, French and Italian. On the other hand, while the company offers its services in Jordan the website is available only in English for this country.
What makes Tesla’s website noticeable is that it takes into consideration the linguistic variety of the countries – an aspect that many companies overlook.
Hopefully, these brands have encouraged you to invest in localization to take your product around the globe. I am sure you are convinced by now that there is not a single best way to approach localization.
There are several factors to consider before crafting your localization strategy. Don’t get intimidated- reach out to us for help with your global expansion!