That’s exactly how your customers may feel when you’re pitching them your products, but your website is in a language completely foreign to them. And if they can’t understand what you’re to get across, then the chances of them actually buying what you’re selling are extremely slim.
While translating your website helps improve the situation to some extent, the more effective approach is to have a global marketing strategy, which involves localizing your content – in other words, presenting such content in another language, and molding it to fit your target audience’s local context. With a properly localized multilingual website, you’ll be able to more successfully market your offerings to audiences in different geographical locations. As a result, you generate more revenue!
Want this for your business? Of course you do. So let’s get into the details of what localization is, its benefits, and the various localization tools available for localizing website content with speed, accuracy, and scale.
Note: this article will focus only on the localization of websites and not other formats, such as documents, apps, and software.
If you’re ready to jump straight to the 7 best localization tools to check out, you can click here.
What is Localization and Why Localize Your Website?
Localization is the process of adapting an offering (such as a product or service) to suit the local context of people in a certain market. For a website, localization involves translating web page text into your target audience’s native languages. However, it can also require the replacing of images and colors, and adjustment of the user interface to suit the preferences of the local market. And by catering to local needs, you stand to better:
Reach new markets across the globe, and sell more products to more customers.
Communicate with customers, where language differences may otherwise pose a barrier.
Optimize your website for international searches, so that your web pages rank higher for searches conducted by people looking for information in other languages.
Provide customer service, as you can effectively understand your customers’ issues and offer the appropriate solutions.
What Localization Tools Are There for Localizing Your Website?
Apart from being translated, a localized website will need to communicate a consistent message, in the same brand voice, across its different geographical page variants. This will involve refining your translations and other media to incorporate the languages and cultures of each of your markets, while still preserving their original meaning.
Don’t worry if this sounds challenging, because various software localization tools have been developed to help with just that. These specialized solutions take a lot of the hassle out of localization, helping marketing teams, software developers, project managers, and translators to localize every part of a website.
If you have a website, common types of website localization tools include:
Automatic website localization software
a) Self-Translation Services
You’ve probably used these DIY translation services before: copy/paste a paragraph of text into the translation service and set your destination language, and the platform will return the translated version of your content.
Google Translate, DeepL Translator, and Bing Microsoft Translator are just some popular examples of self-translation services – and you can learn more about them in our separate article on paragraph translators.
b) Translation Services
Unlike self-service translation services, which rely on algorithms to translate content, translation services rope in professional human translators to translate content. Such translation service providers can assist in:
Translating documents, websites, software, and more.
Proofreading website copy.
Automating the translation of large volumes of text via API.
Providing other translation-related services, such as video subtitling, multilingual chatbots, and Google Ads translations.
c) Automatic Website Localization Software
Automatic website localization software is all of the above and more. As a complete translation solution, they contain practically every feature you’ll need to localize your website in one place. The very best automatic website localization software has these features:
Machine translation post-editing: After the text has undergone one round of machine translation, you (or professional translators) can review and edit the translation to ensure its suitability for the local market.
Glossaries: With a glossary, you can specify how certain text should always be translated into another language. This helps ensure consistent translation during projects (especially large ones).
Project management tools: Businesses may have multiple staff managing a translation project, and/or engage external translators to assist with the work. Project management features are hence essential for assigning the appropriate localization team permissions for projects and facilitating collaboration in real-time.
Translation management systems (TMSs): Such systems organize and manage language translations in a central database. Beyond that, a TMS can also automate translation workflows, such as using machine translation to provide a first round of translation, and convert files to different formats.
Quality assurance and validation processes: For reviewing the quality of translations, and making any final tweaks or proofreading adjustments, before the translations are officially rolled out.
What to Look For in a Localization Tool
While there are many localization tools out there, not all of them are built the same—and that’s a good thing. Each tool aims to solve specific problems, so some cater to businesses just beginning their localization journey, while others have all the bells and whistles that an enterprise might need.
With that in mind, here are some things to consider when looking for a localization solution:
Localization projects involve so many aspects that it can be a challenge to remember them all. The last thing you’d want to do is to make things harder by working with a solution that has you figuring out your way by trial-and-error to complete simple tasks or spending hours in their help center.
The fastest way to accelerate your localization process without letting things fall through the cracks is by using an interface that has a straightforward onboarding process. The less time you spend trying to understand how the software works, the faster you’ll cruise through your localization workflow. Plus, when you can comfortably navigate through the localization tool, you’re less likely to encounter errors.
Whether you’ve gone one or five languages to localize on your website, it’s always more efficient to have a team with you working on the content simultaneously—and even better when the localization tool makes that a breeze.
A centralized localization tool that allows collaboration makes it easier to spot translation issues, ensure content is always up to date, and prevent any roadblocks from translating or localizing content. Plus, depending on the software, you’ll be able to assign translations to certain team members, mark them as pending for review, or take advantage of other features to streamline your workflow.
If you’re working with a team located all over the world, then all important data must be accessible online. When there’s one place in the cloud that contains all your files—especially your localization project—everyone is able to work directly on them, eliminating the constant back-and-forth.
Even better, your localization expert can easily work on your content when it’s on the cloud. This will save you tons of time and money, particularly if you’re localizing content in numerous languages.
Your localization needs now may look very different in a year. That’s why it’s crucial to look for a localization tool that can grow with you. While it may be tempting to stick to cheaper, more basic tools, you’ll eventually feel constrained by the technical limitations of the software once you start to expand into new territories and add more languages to your website.
When you choose a flexible localization tool, you’ll avoid the mess that often comes with migrating from one software to another since you’ll be keeping your localization project in one place. No loss of files, no new software to wrap your head around, and more predictability for when you scale—giving you a stronger base to explore bigger ventures.
When you’re entering multiple new markets, you’ll need to optimize your workflow so that you avoid the repetitive tasks and focus on the cognitive-heavy ones. A uniform approach won’t work here, after all.
Even if you’re sticking with your current number of markets, there may be an unexpected change you want to make for your business—migrating from one CMS to another, rebranding, or restructuring your website.
That’s why a localization tool that automates your workflow is indispensable: it removes as many of the manual localization tasks as possible, such as manually importing or exporting translation files.
And, if you’re frequently working with large volumes of content to translate as The Bradery does with the 500+ new products they upload and translate each day, something that automates translation and syncs content across all languages will help you serve your customers faster.
While it’s best to go with a tool that has the smallest learning curve possible, that doesn’t mean you won’t occasionally need help, especially when you have a more complicated use case in mind. Plus, sometimes, there might be an unprecedented bug in the software that’s preventing you from performing basic functions—and you’ll need that resolved ASAP.
Going with a localization tool renowned for its excellent support team and comprehensive documentation will save you a lot of time, money, and frustration. There’s a good chance you’ll be able to find support documents that outline and solve your problem, which means you won’t need to wait for customer support to get back to you—minimizing any disruption to your business.
If it’s a more complicated issue, then you can relax knowing that the team will respond to you as soon as possible and get down to the bottom of the problem quickly.
7 Best Localization Tools to Check Out
Knowing the various types of localization tools out there is great, but you’re probably also keen to know specific tools that you can use. So we’ve done a roundup of seven of the best localization tools here:
Weglot is a complete website translation and localization solution for businesses big and small alike. Integrate your website – Weglot is fully compatible with top website platforms and content management systems like WordPress, Shopify, and Webflow – and you’ll be able to manage your translations centrally within a cloud-based dashboard. Weglot uses a proprietary mix of leading machine learning translations such as DeepL and Yandex to instantly produce high-quality translations, which you can then fine-tune by ordering professional translations from the Weglot dashboard.
With Weglot, you can:
Improve your website’s user experience (UX) and better optimize it for search engine traffic
Enter global markets and gain more web traffic from international audiences, and
Boost conversion rates and customer satisfaction, as your website speaks the language of your target audience!
MotionPoint crawls websites to separate translatable content from code, splits such content into processable segments, and then sends these segments to linguists for translation. As a result, however, you won’t get your translations right away: MotionPoint estimates a typical turnaround time of one business day. After that, your translations are saved in a translation memory, so you can reuse them in other places such as your social media pages and email campaigns.
GlobalLink offers a whole range of translation services, from website localization to translation workflow management, and even artificial intelligence-enabled voiceover and subtitling. Its website localization service involves conducting research into the culture and local context of the target market, and then applying “innovative” website localization technology to localize web content. However, businesses interested in GlobalLink’s services will need to obtain a custom quote – off-the-shelf pricing is not available.
Lokalise is a TMS for translating web apps (including websites), mobile apps, marketing assets, and even customer service articles and chat conversations. Its platform allows for efficient localization workflow management through features such as version control and chained tasks. Meanwhile, automated translation quality assurance checks, translation memory, and spelling and grammar checks reduce the occurrence of translation typos and mistakes.
The POEditor localization management platform helps individuals and teams translate websites, games, and software using automatic machine translation. Human translation is also possible through POEditor’s partnerships with various translation providers. But if you’d like to tap on the wisdom of the crowd, then the platform’s translation crowdsourcing feature might be up your alley. POEditor also offers integrations with GitHub, GitLab, and other repositories for ease of translation of files in these repos.
Transifex aims to provide an all-in-one localization experience for businesses that need to localize anything from simple websites to interactive apps and video subtitles. After uploading the content you’d like to localize to the Transifex platform, you have the option of translating it using machine translation, crowdsourcing, or working with human translators. You can also create a style guide to keep your translations on-brand. Once you’re happy with your translations, you can publish them via API or command-line interface (CLI).
Crowdin specializes in the agile localization of websites, iOS and Android apps, games, and support documentation. This localization platform supports over 40 file formats, including JSON and CSV files. While Crowdin offers machine translation, you can also bring in your preferred human translator or engage one of Crowdin’s translation vendors.
Strings management is possible in Crowdin, where writers can search for and translate specific source strings for developers to approve. Crowdin also integrates with a wide variety of technical tools, such as GitHub and Figma, to streamline the localization process for all teams involved.
Why Use Weglot to Localize Your Website?
Of the seven localization tools featured above, some of them may be more suited for complex technical projects, such as localizing an app. If you’re simply looking to localize a content-based website or ecommerce store, and getting into the nitty-gritty of web development isn’t your thing, then our Weglot website localization tool presents the perfect solution.
Weglot is easy to use with its no-code setup and user-friendly centralized translation management platform. Once you’ve specified your destination languages, Weglot will translate your content instantly and to a high degree of accuracy thanks to its use of machine learning technology. Say goodbye to spending hours manually reviewing and translating thousands of sentences!
Your translations will also cost a lot less as you don’t have to engage a professional translator to translate your website in its entirety. Instead, you can get a human translator in after having Weglot do a first pass of machine translation of all your content, and then request the translator to focus on translating certain important pages, if you’d like.
Weglot also contains other features that help achieve 100% website localization, such as:
Implementation of hreflang tags for multilingual search engine optimization (SEO)
Replacement of media files (such as those that contain text)
Inject cultural nuances into your website text. This can include incorporating local dialects or slang that makes visitors feel like you truly speak their language.
Feature images and videos that are culturally appropriate. You don’t want to inadvertently turn off visitors with media containing imagery offensive to their culture. (As mentioned, Weglot provides built-in features for media translation.)
Optimize your website for multilingual searches. For example, implementing hreflang tags and setting up country-specific domains for web pages meant for different geographical markets.
Adapt your website layout for each target market. For certain languages that are read from right to left, such as Hebrew, you may need to adjust your website layout for ease of reading in that direction.
The Weglot Localization Tool: An Essential Component of Your Website Localization Strategy
If you’re taking your business to the world stage, then localization is one undertaking that you can’t afford to skip. Adapting your website content and offerings to suit the local market is a multifaceted and continuous effort, so it’s worthwhile investing in an end-to-end localization tool that accelerates your localization work without sacrificing the nuances involved.
A good localization tool will leverage powerful machine translation technology for translating text speedily and accurately while allowing you to fine-tune these translations by hand afterward. It will also enable you to invite staff and professional translators to your localization project as everyone works on localizing your content. Finally, it will contain value-added features that ensure the success of your localization strategy, such as a translation glossary. And for website localization, you’ll find no better tool than Weglot, which can get you ready for multilingual content creation in a matter of minutes.
Integrate Weglot with your website, then sit back as it instantly translates and displays your multilingual website content for you. Multilingual SEO features ensure that your website gets found by web searchers all over the world, who can then enjoy the localized experience that your website offers. Then, as your website traffic grows, Weglot’s translation processes effortlessly scale alongside your website operations so you can continue serving your visitors and customers well.