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Why Bother? Website Localisation: Part One

29th October 2019

Professional website localisation costs money, but getting it right can transform your business beyond recognition.

Website localisation costs money. So why bother?

For the one reason a business should always consider spending money. You’ll make it back many times over. Localisation takes your website and your business a step beyond translation of words on a page. It gears you up for success in your target market by tailoring imagery and all-round design to the cultural preferences of each new audience. It demonstrates your understanding of the building blocks of language and culture by delivering correct date and currency formats and ensuring that “right to left” languages such as Arabic and Hebrew are aligned correctly. It presents the same product information in distinct ways that will appeal to different target demographics.  

A company wishing to sell the same products to German and Japanese customers, for example, would be well advised to approach them very differently. While a localised German site may typically be clear and orderly, with images at the centre and a list of products to the side, a localised Japanese site would be a riot of colour and information, reflecting the busy nature of advertising in Japan. Japanese site visitors may be welcomed by a colourful assault on their senses from a multitude of flashing rectangular blocks as the seller seeks to cram as much information onto a page as possible.

At this time of year many of us are thinking about festive promotions. Your Christmas-themed marketing may well appeal to customers in Greece, but just across the Aegean Sea in Turkey it will fall flat. Turkey is a Muslim country with no acknowledgement of Christian public holidays. And if you’re planning an Easter promotion next Spring, keep it in mind that your Greek customers will be celebrating a week later than those of us in Italy, France, Germany or the UK.

Professional website localisation combines expertise in translation, data transfer, digital marketing and cultural preferences for each territory on your target list. And while there are very good reasons and lucrative rewards for doing it well, the consequences of doing it badly could be disastrous.

Who could you be alienating? Try these 1.3 billion people for a start:


715 million Chinese-speaking internet users

270 million Spanish-speaking internet users

175 million Arabic-speaking internet users

140 million Portuguese-speaking internet users


And that’s just four languages.

Effective website localisation delivers an intimately tailored service that does more than just communicate a grasp of language. It conveys the sense that customers will be paid attention to and taken care of. We think that’s worth talking about, and we’ll tell you more about it tomorrow.


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