Localisation involves adapting cultural nuances, graphics, symbols, currencies, units of measurement, colours, numbers, etc. to ensure the acceptability of your products or services by the target audience.
Ensuring that your message is received as intended requires more than merely changing the words from English into Spanish or between any other two languages. The content must be relevant and comprehensible to potential customers for your products and services.
For example, in Spain seeing a black cat is a symbol of bad luck, while for British people, opening an umbrella inside a house is associated with bad fortune.
Similarly, the colour green has a range of connotations, depending on where it is being used. In China, “wearing a green hat” is an expression used when a woman cheats on her husband or boyfriend, because the phrase sounds similar to the Chinese word for cuckold. This dates back to the Yuan dynasty, when the relatives of prostitutes were forced to wear green hats.
If you sell abroad and translated your online content to speak to your international customers in their language, then you may want to double check a few things…
If there are units of measure in the text, are they converted (i.e. metric to imperial)?
If you use a range of colours in your products (i.e. Moroccan Sands), are you being consistent throughout your content? – You may want to consider using the same colour codes in all languages, however this approach has the disadvantage of communicating little (or nothing) to your potential customers.
If there are any currencies in the text, are they converted?
If there are any contact details (i.e. a telephone number), would you like to use a local telephone number and divert all incoming calls?
Are there character limits that need to be respected? – For example, if you sell on Amazon, your title cannot exceed a 200-character limit. Similarly, if you have translated your Metadata, make sure that your translation does not exceed the maximum number of characters. Why is this important? When English text is translated into other languages, the translation tends to expand. This is the case with translation into Spanish, where the text expands by up to 25%.
In addition, it is also important to incorporate trust signals on your website in order to reach specific countries. We are sharing some examples below.
PayPal is the preferred payment method for Spaniards, followed by card payment. Another widespread method is to pay in instalments. And guess what? 41 % of the total number of sales in El Corte Inglés (the biggest department store in Spain) were paid in instalments in 2017.
If you have a company website in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, the law states that you must have an “Impressum” (a page that discloses information about the publisher of that website). This is required even if the domain is not a .de.
Price is one of the most important factors for Italian shoppers. They try to find the most attractive offer price and are happy to buy from a less well-known shop if prices are more affordable.
There is a law in France called the “Loi Hamon” which enables consumers to return any purchase within 14 days of receiving it without specifying a reason or paying any fees except the return cost. Wherever possible returns should be free of charge!