When your website attracts viewers from all over the world, you need to start giving your public more to grow your retention rate. The localisation and translation of your website seem like a natural step forward to provide a better user experience to foreign visitors.

Yet, will it be enough to satisfy potential clients who don’t speak English? What’s the difference between localisation and translation anyway?

Translation means converting your content from the source language into the target language, respecting grammar rules and syntax. It’s not a word to word translation, but a complex process that takes into account each language’s standards and guidelines.

Localisation, in contrast, is about more than rewriting the text into a different language. It adapts your message to local audiences. Localisation is widely used for websites, mobile apps, software, video games, multimedia content and voiceovers.

Localisation means you’ll need to provide different content for Argentina, Mexico and Spain, even though these countries have Spanish as their official language. Just as English varies from the US, to Australia and Canada, most languages have local versions and dialects that you need to consider when building your marketing strategy.

Regular translation probably isn’t enough for your business to be successful in local markets. You need to localize your content to gain the trust of local public. Because selling in a foreign country means more than overcoming language barriers. It means coming up with a customised message, specially made for each local audience.

You need to go beyond translation, as cultural barriers can make understanding the original message difficult. KitKat, for example, didn’t just translate their famous slogan into Japanese when they launched their product in Japan. The company changed ‘Have a beak, have a KitKat’ with ‘Kitto Katsu’, which means ‘surely win’. They also launched a series of exotic chocolate bars to meet the local taste.

This strategy made the KitKat Japanese campaign a localisation success, clearly demonstrating how to use the same words that your clients do to express themselves.

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