Nov 28, 2022 • 5 min read

Website Localization 101: The What, Why, How

Without translation, we would be living in provinces bordering on silence. ➖George Steiner

Did you know why Starbucks, the coffee haven we love and adore fail in the Australian markets?

Starbucks has seen a great elevation in its international sales due to its distinct coffee flavors and aesthetic-looking drinks. However, it did not appeal to Australian markets as much as they anticipated. Due to Starbucks' strategy, they incurred a whopping $105 million in losses!!

But what was the reason behind this?

Well, the biggest mistake Starbucks did when it entered the Australian market was to think that the locals did not need to adjust their offerings in accordance with the demand. If you know anything about Australia, you must know that they have a very rich coffee culture and cafe menus encapsulate complex coffee drinks as opposed to basic drinks normally found in Starbucks stores. To add to that, the Australian market found Starbucks drinks to be very sweet in taste which they are not usually fond of.

This is why Localization is important for a brand. We at Apric, in the course of these years, interacted with people from many different cultures and that just reinforces our emphasis on the importance of localization.

You may have noticed that all the cult brands have one thing in common: They have their website localized to fit all audiences.

What REALLY is Localization, though?

Website localization is the process of adapting a website to cater to a specific niche of an audience that speaks a different language than your brand and exudes different cultural values. This is not it, it has many layers to it.

Localization keeps in mind crisp translation, slang, convention, and culture-specific lingo that could enhance the user's experience. This could be portrayed in a range of functionalities like currencies, date formats, measurement metrics, etc. This can also be exhibited in the form of imagery and text.

Why is it important?

Apart from the obvious reason of enhanced sales, there are many benefits to adopting a Website localization approach.

1) Improved SEO

Localized websites have a much higher chance of ranking. Just make sure to use quality content with strong keywords. This is due to the fact that Localized websites have a much higher chance of attracting more leads, getting more traffic to the website, and easy navigation to users.

2) Reinforce Messaging

If you speak in a specific language, tone, or slang exclusive to the community, you will be able to communicate with their people effortlessly as opposed to using a standard language that they may be aware of, but not fluent in. This would in turn give you a chance to reinforce your messaging and your sales agenda.

3) User Engagement

People feel proud when they get to embrace their culture. Localization not only gives you a chance to connect with the people but gives you a pedestal to get acquainted with the culture. This results in high levels of customer engagement and satisfaction.

4) Enhanced Global Image

Your customers can see how much effort you have put into trying to understand and delve into their culture. They see that you have gone the extra mile to offer them your services. This would never go unnoticed and would lead to enhanced global credibility.

To succeed in a new environment, the best thing you can do is actually put effort into making it personal for them. And just like in any relationship, if efforts are put in, people will appreciate it.

How should you approach the website localization process?

1) Planning and Market Research

If you want to attain a global presence, you probably know how important is to tap into all markets and establish your brand globally. Market research and planning are crucial for any brand activity, let alone a localization process. The insights act as a blueprint to help the brand navigate its way to the market in a way that is appropriate to the culture.

A brand usually has a purpose to localize its website - it could either be to connect with the audience or to become an international presence, could be anything. This research helps brands reinforce their purpose ‘locally’.

Eg: Mcdonald's is well known for its Big Mac in the States. However, when they were to launch in India, they knew their bestseller would not suit the Indian market as beef is not consumed in the country. They in turn curated a specialized menu to cater to the Indian tastebuds and to this day, their bestseller remains McAloo Tikki Burger which encompasses a mildly spiced potato patty that is one of the cult street foods in India.

2) Networking

If you want to localize your website, using translators will not suffice. Instead, you need to network with people in that culture and possibly hire them to work with you if he possesses great knowledge in their area of expertise.

Why I say this is because you would need people who can help bridge that cultural gap between your customer and your brand. The size of your team could be subjective to your budget but if you hire a few people who are well-versed in the subject and have the same passion as you, your efforts will not go in vain.

Example: A dedicated customer support team that can answer customer queries that may be in short forms, cultural slang, or a certain tone that would not be grasped by someone who isn’t from that culture.

3) Automation

Just because you are using actual people to handle the cultural and linguistic aspects of the localization does not mean you can’t leverage automation. In fact, humans are prone to making errors just like machines and automation can help proofread tasks and make chores easier for your team.

Let me give you an instance - Accounts team, no matter how talented or expert they are, would need a calculator to carry out complex tasks. Not because they can’t do it, but for efficiency and time management.

Similarly, in this fast-paced world, we need automation tools to supplement manual work. These tools could be Translation Management Systems, Linguistic Quality Assurance, or Termininology Maintainance tools. So, make sure you use language automation tools, local payment gateways automation to handle payments etc

4) Website Internalization

Website internationalization is a term used to describe the process companies go through to make their websites more effective at reaching potential customers and business partners in other countries.

In simple terms, It means leveraging codes to enable your site to be translated. Don’t confuse this with actual “translation”. Internalization is the process of molding a website in a way that it can be translated efficiently. The most important step here is to decouple your "translatable" content from the source code. The aim of internationalization is that you can easily deploy your website, regardless of the market, and not have to build it over and over again.

5) Focusing on UX and UI

User Experience is key to any brand’s growth and customer acquisition and is not region dependent. Every single person on the face of this planet is bound to be more attracted to a brand that gives them a great overall user experience as opposed to one that would not. The individual experience, however, is subjective to the region.

The User Interface is also a key factor in your localization strategy. What would be appropriate to your culture may not necessarily be ok for the region you are thinking of establishing your brand in.

For example, a "thumbs up" gesture is seen as a sign of positivity and satisfaction in the West but is highly offensive in some Middle Eastern countries. So to make sure that no such offensive imagery or mentions of controversial topics are used in the UI is the responsibility of the brand.

6) Test and Launch!

Once your website is ready for localization, proofread and check for any errors in the translation, User Interface, Responsiveness, and overall performance of it. This is done to ensure functionality as well as linguistic accuracy. You can focus on Encryption Algorithms, Shopping Carts, Broken Strings, Site Performance, Entry Fields, Updates, and many similar functionalities while conducting your testing.

Once testing is through, you are ready to launch! You may need to periodically update your website to fit in with the trends and stand out from your competitors. Although, as far as making your website localized, you’re good to go!

Go Vocal For Local….

Website Localization is not as scary as you thought it would be, right? It does not have to be if you do it right! Although it requires a lot of effort from your brand's end, the results are absolutely worth the blood and sweat.

What do you think about Website Localization? Is your website Localized? Talk to experts at to get a free consultation and a customized roadmap for your brand's website localization process.

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Until then, Stay tuned for our next blog! Ciao! 🙂