Resources Hub » Blog » Why Website Translation and Localization are Essential to UX and Design

This is a guest post from Erica Sunarjo at TheWordPoint.

With over seven years of website localization experience, I can tell you one thing for sure.

Without localization, your ecommerce website won’t bring you even half of its potential revenue.

Besides, without proper translation, a website just looks sloppy.

If, for instance, you ship products to China and consider the region to be part of your target audience, why not localize the whole website to make navigation simpler?

Otherwise, you may have translations that don’t make sense—which can cost you visitors, conversions, and loyal customers.

Think of it this way: What kind of website would you rather shop with? Preferably, one that has easy-to-read copy in your language, pricing in your currency, and a checkout that makes sense for you.

Virtually everyone feels this way, meaning localization is vital to your process.

See our localization guide here.

Digging deeper into website translation and localization

Let’s get back to the “potential revenue” part we mentioned earlier.

When launching their online retail platforms, ecommerce companies have certain expectations regarding the revenue they’ll receive as a result. They determine when their startups will break even, taking into consideration several factors:

  • target audience outreach
  • expected net income
  • time factor

These are the constituents of ROI, but ROI isn’t always a precise number.

To calculate it, you also need to take into account the factors that can have a negative impact on it.

If you launch an international ecommerce platform, having little to no localization can negatively impact your business.

Let’s look at it from a different perspective.

According to Statista, retail ecommerce sales worldwide are expected to reach $6.5 billion by 2023. This means that the number of people shopping with ecommerce platforms in 2019 will double by 2023:

This Statista bar graph shows how global ecommerce is growing, making website translation and localization important.

The biggest ecommerce retailers understand this, which is why you see powerful players investing in web development, creating or modifying websites that deliver a seamless user experience, and doing it all with localization in mind.

Website translation and localization statistics

Don’t just take our word for it. Read some of the localization statistics below to see how localizing positively impacts businesses worldwide.

Localization is more than translation

Today, localization is no longer just a matter of website translation. Localization is now influencing digital marketing and social media marketing; it impacts target audience demographics. Multi-language marketing is a normal part of how businesses appeal to customers worldwide.

And since localization has such a big influence on web design, web development, and even digital marketing, ecommerce platforms shouldn’t neglect it.

Website translation is (and should continue to be) an important part of UX and design plans. After all, localization doesn’t just impact user experience—it has a tangible influence on the revenue, website traffic, brand exposure, etc.

1. More languages equal more visitors

When Neil Patel, the founder of KissMetrics, decided to translate his website into 82 languages, this decision was influenced by an unusual discovery.

He went over the latest internet use statistics, where he found that China and India have more internet users than the U.S. (one and two billion, as opposed to just 300 million).

He started wondering whether website translation was the solution for full traffic optimization. And it was.

Website translation helped him increase traffic by 47%. Web design and web development of an ecommerce platform should be carried out with website translation in mind from the beginning.

Even a small ecommerce startup launched in a bilingual country should have a website available in at least these two languages.

So, if you open your ecommerce startup in the U.S., consider launching your website in English and Spanish. This goes without saying for big ecommerce retailers.

2. Trust and brand perception

There are plenty of websites that aren’t fully translated, but a partial translation is possible only in a limited number of cases, like the translation of certain definitions or measures. But ecommerce websites don’t fall under this category.

Partial translation of a website undermines the trust of the consumers towards the brand and negatively impacts the perception of the brand.

When shopping online, consumers expect ecommerce retailers to provide:

  • high-quality product information
  • easy access to all pages
  • transparent and clear payment information
  • easy-to-use interface

You can invest virtually endless resources in web development and web design, but a lack of website translation will inevitably have a negative impact on your efforts.

Some consumers may forgive the absence of localized product information, but they won’t forgive a lack of clear payment instructions. If someone can’t easily make a purchase from your site, they will leave unhappy.

3. Website translation is in the UX and design code of ethics

With the high availability of translation apps and localization plugins and services, lack of website translation can no longer be excused.

However, you need to be careful with the services you employ to localize your website, since the localization of a website isn’t about word-to-word translation. It’s about making the text linguistically and culturally appropriate.

During web development and web design, you need to take into account that, with some languages, phrases and sentences will take more space on the page due to different length of words and some syntactic differences.

You can see it on the example of in English and Hebrew:

Website translation and localization is important, but only if you do it well. This English translation is very different than the Hebrew translation in the Israel locale. Website translation and localization is important, but only if you do it well. This English translation is very different than the Hebrew translation in the Israel locale.

Website localization shares the unstated motto of UX design “Do no harm,” thus occupying a special place in UX and web design code of ethics.

Indeed, the lack of website translation can harm user experience, and you can bet many of those users won’t return.

4. Website translation is an inalienable part of UX and design

We made it clear.

Since there are so many aspects that website translation and localization impact (including user experience, website traffic, and the success of your digital marketing efforts), investing in website translation is a must.

Wrap up

If your ecommerce venue has already reached the international level, make sure you don’t repeat the partial translation mistake—localize fully.

And, if you’re just about to launch your ecommerce startup, do it with website translation and localization in mind, as it has so much impact on your success.

Erica Sunarjo is a translator with more than six years of work experience. She likes to discuss topics related to translation services, content localization, and digital marketing. Apart from working at TheWordPoint, she enjoys reading books, riding horses, and scuba diving.

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