Strategies for Successful Content Localization | TranslateSwift

Unlocking Global Markets: Strategies for Successful Content Localization

Published:   |  Updated:   |  Posted in: Business Translation
Unlocking Global Markets: Strategies for Successful Content Localization

To say that GM’s Chevy Nova had a poor launch in Latin America would be an understatement. While the name Nova was a good choice for the American market, in Spanish, the car’s name meant “No Go.”

While the Chevy Nova did manage to make it past its initial translation hiccup, it points to a larger issue of companies overlooking the importance of content localization. There is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy that can work in both domestic and international markets.

In fact, it can even be difficult for messages to translate poorly to other English-speaking countries. So, if you want to expand your business and move to a new market, you need to create a comprehensive localization strategy.

From your website to posts to even your marketing slogan, you want to effectively translate your business’s image to a completely new market. Along with your name, brand localization is all about adapting the necessary content to your target audience.

How a Content Localization Strategy Can Help Expand Your Business

A good content localization strategy can be essential to helping your brand ease into a given target market. Along with making sure that your brand appeals to any specific market, it can also help you avoid more expensive marketing mistakes. Some other benefits of a good translation strategy include:

Makes You Easier to Find on Search Engines

Your business will be a lot more difficult to find on search engines if the keywords you’re using are not in their specific language. For instance, people looking for a smartwatch in Portugal or Brazil will either search for the brand’s name or look up smartwatches. In that case, they’re most likely to search “relógio inteligente” in their Portuguese. So, without relevant keywords, your brand will struggle to keep up with the competition.

Increases Traffic and Conversion

When you become easier to find on search engines, then traffic to your website will also increase. And if you have well-translated content on your website, then you can also see your conversions increase. Foreign shoppers are less likely to spend money on websites that they struggle to understand, making them more likely to bounce off. Developing a comprehensive strategy can give you an edge over your competition.

Steps to Building a Successful Content Localization Strategy

Conduct proper research on your target audience

It’s always good to admit how little you know about the target market that you’re looking to get into. Making assumptions about an audience is always the fastest way that a company can alienate its audience. This research can save your brand from an unnecessary stain on its reputation, like when Tesco accidentally stocked bacon-flavored Pringles on a Ramadan Kareem promotion.

Despite this event taking place years ago, the brand still struggles to get people to forget this incident. It’s important that you try to learn everything that you can about the audience’s unique culture and perspective.

More importantly, good research should give you enough insight into whether your product or service is likely to succeed there. Can they afford what your company is offering? Is there another top company that individuals prefer? If there is, what’s their unique selling point? You should at least have answers to these questions after you’ve conducted your research.

Determine what needs localizing.

The next step to building an effective localizing strategy is to determine which of your content you’re going to localize in the first place. Localization can get expensive, so you don’t want to jump to the deep end and localize all the content on your website and posts. Instead, you need a content audit. More specifically, you need to see what content has the potential to convert and translate that.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t localize all of the content on your website, along with your marketing materials. However, translating all of this content can be risky, so you should instead start with pages like popular landing pages and the homepage. And if you’re short on budget, then you should also prioritize license translation.

Find the right translation services for your business

It’s important to emphasize that localization services for your business go a lot further than just translating the words on screen. Instead, it’s also about optimizing the content to make it more appealing to your desired market. It’s all about sending the right message about your firm to the right audience.

For instance, working with a company that can translate transcripts to English lets you see how effective their translations are. You also want to see if they can they can really nail the tone of voice that you’re going for.

Consider the words that you use with your audience

Now that you’ve finally moved to translating your document, it’s important that you use terms and phrases that are most likely to resonate with your audience. Even when countries speak the same language, it doesn’t mean they’ll refer to things around them the same way. For instance, what Americans would call sneakers, people from the UK would call trainers.

So, despite the fact that your website is in English, it won’t rank very high on search engines in the UK. Another good example to look at is Adobe, which has separate versions for its American audience and its British audience. They understand that despite both audiences speaking English, they have very different terms.

Other than not reaching higher on search engine results, you can also run the risk of alienating your audience if you don’t use the right terminology. By catering to the phrases that they mostly use, you can have an easier time communicating with them.

Practices for a Successful Content Translation Strategy

As a company looking to expand internationally, you can’t rely on a “one-size-fits-all” approach to localization. With so many unique cultures, societal norms, and languages, you need to focus on developing an effective content localization strategy. Your business’s success hinges on you making your international audience feel as engaged as your local one.

Let people switch between languages.

Studies on the effectiveness of content localization strategies show that individuals prefer going through a website in their native language, even if they know how to read English. Localization isn’t just about accessibility; it’s about comfort. How comfortable can you make your visitors feel when they are going through your website? The answer to that lies in how well you translate your brand’s message into different languages.

Airbnb is a good example of a firm that emphasizes localization for different markets since it wants to make sure that all of its clients feel welcome. As they serve a global audience, they have offered a wide range of languages for people to choose from.

Don’t just localize the words.

Finally, a major oversight from most companies is that they focus on translating the “words” on their website without considering the other media present there. Images, videos, and gifs all contribute to a better user experience, and yet companies hyper fixate on the content that people have written.

For instance, sunny landscapes aren’t the best choice of images to use when localizing content to places like Russia, Norway, and even Canada. Using images and visual flourishes that resonate with the relevant country’s audience is an incredible way to make people connect with your website and your brand’s image.

Consider cultural differences

Companies that come off as out-of-touch with the locals can have a very hard time winning that good faith back. Not only do they have to prove that they understand their audience’s unique culture, but they also have to shake off the allegation that they’re only doing this for money. The best way to deal with a situation like this is to not get in it in the first place.

Your firm needs to consider the unique cultural aspects of your target audience and be sure to align with them. At best, your target audience can think you’re out of touch; at worst, they can find your efforts to be “local” offensive. One of the best ways to deal with this divide is to see your target audience on social media. See what kind of humor resonates with them, what things they find offensive, and how they communicate with other companies.


When localizing your content for a broader audience, it can be very easy to get tunnel vision. You only want to translate the words without considering the broader visitor experience. But by considering cultural differences, carefully considering your business’s tone, and prioritizing your localization efforts, marketing to a brand new audience can be more effective. But this is a long journey, one that becomes a lot easier with an experienced guide and an experienced localization specialist.