Website Localization - why is it important? /Elias Trapp


Website Localization is ever so important for any website that wants to present themselves to a foreign market. Why? Because localizing a website means to adapt and tweak it to the exact need of your new target audience, which – obviously – is important to guarantee the success of a business.

Now, having cleared the importance of the process, what exactly is it?

It all starts with the adjustment to the local language and culture, meaning that the website needs to reflect linguistic and cultural preferences regarding content, enunciation, images and overall UI. The motivation is to make the consumer feel as if he looked at a website from his own country, regardless of cultural differences between the creator and the user. Therefore, a localization isn’t simply translating, but much more complex than that.

In many cases, there is a surprisingly enormous difference between the User Interfaces of Websites. Take China as an example:

The screenshot above shows Mozilla Firefox’s website in the USA and the same website for China. A rather smooth, simplistic design as opposed to a colorful, information-packed UI.

Aside from UI, when entering the Chinese market specifically, there are a few more problems arising.

For instance, loading speed can be exhaustingly long because of the “Great Firewall”, which prevents any add-ins from potentially blocked sources to load. But regardless, if your website is hosted from outside of mainland China, passing through all the filters by Chinese government will take a while.

All that assuming, of course, that your site is not blocked in its entirety.

How to bypass those problems? Let’s have a look at some of our clients!

ACS Motion Control

This company offers its customers high performance machine control systems. Having Chinese customers already, they needed a functioning website as a channel of communication.

Residents in China however, found the site to be very slow to load, had issues displaying content and couldn’t use its full functionality (for instance, embedded YouTube videos that did not load).

XJet

XJet is a provider of ceramic and metal manufacturing solutions for various industries. With the rising economy in China, XJet wanted to have their fair share of the pie.

Because their original website was entirely inaccessible from within mainland China, they needed to establish a new site on a different domain.

Danziger

Danziger has had great success with breeding and patenting extraordinary flowers and sells to growers and nurseries all over the world.

Their website was state-of-the-art but included many APIs and add-ins that were blocked in China like YouTube and Google Fonts, resulting in a very slow loading speed. Additionally, much content of the website was inaccessible.

Each of these clients received a custom-tailored website localization, but let’s break down how we carry out our work in general:

Licensing and Hosting Services

- ICP License Support

It all start with an ICP license! The basic requirements for obtaining one consist of domain name, IP address and local business license. Basically, ICP is having your local hosting services/server officially connected to your domain address.

Every website operating from China is required to get an ICP License to be allowed to run. Most sites attempting to operate without a license will usually get blocked after a short grace period, losing the previously bought domain.

As the application for such an ICP license can be difficult, we help all our clients with the process.

- Domain

Local search engines in China (like Baidu.com) prioritize and rank your website in the search results higher if the domain is Chinese. As sub-domains usually have not much of an effect on search ranking results, we bought a Chinese domain for all these clients to ensure full visibility on the Chinese web.

- Local Server Hosting

To drastically reduce loading speeds, it was necessary to locally host the websites on Chinese Servers, avoiding the need to pass by the “Great Firewall”

Removing Blocked Features

Now this is where the actual work starts. Many foreign websites include add-ins that are blocked in China. Examples would be Google Search, Google Fonts, embedded YouTube/Vimeo videos, JavaScript etc.

We carefully reviewed their coding and removed any linkage to foreign providers. For example, YouTube videos are uploaded to alternatives in China and the website’s coding is being modified accordingly. As a result, the site doesn’t wait for the blocked add-ins to respond and overall loading speed increases.

Now it’s time for results. Not convinced that it makes much of a difference? Let’s see:

Danziger’s website is full of features and therefore has an according loading time in its nature. We translated and adapted the website to the Chinese customer, modified it to almost triple the connection speed and were able to remove any loading errors.

In ACS Motion Control’s case, a big part of their original website was video demonstrations and tutorials. Of course, they used the most convenient service for that: YouTube.

Next to translation, we revamped and modified the coding and, in the process, doubled website loading speed.

For XJet,Up2China provided an all-in-one solution, making their website accessible in mainland China by establishing a new domain and hosting locally. The result is a fast and reliable website.

Without doubt, Website Localization is of major importance for any aspiring business in China. Especially in such a technological advanced country, users will get impatient quickly and switch to a similar website faster than you can imagine!

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