For growing brands wanting to expand past their native borders and brand giants looking to develop and create immersive experiences for their worldwide audience, localisation is the term on everyone’s tongue.
Traditionally, the initial ideas surrounding localisation centre on simply translating text from one language to another. Obviously, this is a key part of your localisation plan however there is so much more to consider, and localisation can feel like a black hole of problems.
The 3 Basics
Firstly, let’s cover all your basic bases:
This encompasses direct translations, preferably using a native translator, slang words and cultural terminology. For example, in South Korea the phrase ‘1+1’ is commonly used to advertise buy one get one free products. However, this term cannot be used outside of Korea as it doesn’t make cultural sense.
This type of delivery is different from the postal service you were expecting. Instead, localised deliverability encompasses regional device coverage, page speeds and browser preferences. Every country is different, so research and real-world testers will be your saviours when localising your website/app.
In a similar vein to delivery, preferred payment methods change from country to country. China favours WeChat Pay and AliPay whereas the UK favours Direct Debit and Paypal. Allowing your users to use a familiar payment system will help you avoid high cart abandonment rates and emphasise a sense of personal tailoring and security.
Understandably this is a lot of work and even big-name brands still make mistakes when localising.
What’s the Solution?
Simple, get someone else to do it. Or even better get native testers in your chosen country to test your website for all of the above issues.
A good testing community will show you each localisation issue in order of severity. From critical meaning, users cannot perform conversions and will abandon the site. To UX issues which make journeys harder and are likely to result in abandonment.
For companies already equipped with an internal testing company, external testing can seem like a waste of time. But as with most things, there’s a downside to internal testing. Namely, lack of time, resources and user bias.
I’ll give you an example:
You’re releasing a new website designed to be used internationally. In general, everything is going well and your website is bringing in revenue. However, there seems to be a substantial lack of conversions and time spent on the website in China compared to the other countries.
Your first thought would be to get your internal testing and development teams to rummage through your website looking for issues and bugs. However, this could take months to complete as they are already fixing current bugs.
When the time does come for your internal teams to search through your website, they approach it from a back-end perspective. But by doing so they completely disregard the way your real-world users in China are approaching the site.
Which devices are they using? Do you have access to them? Is your site optimised across these devices? Which browsers are being used? Are payment methods localised for Chinese users? and so on.
Only external testers can take on such a large testing task, increasing your revenue and conversions quickly for a fraction of the cost.