Is "Localization" the right choice for my website?

I was at the Post Office today and bumped into a lady who does Foreign Language Translation Services.

We had a nice long talk, and it got me to wondering if maybe I should do “localization” of my website.

Now, up front, I’ll admit a lot of my interest in this is for the “romance” and nothing practical, but you never know, maybe it would be a good idea?!

So I have these questions…

1.) What justification does a Business/Website need to take the “Localization Leap”?

2.) Can a Website be successful if only a portion of the Content is “localized”?

3.) Does “localization” mean that you need staff who speak that language?

4.) If you only partially “localize” your website, can that do more harm than good? (Maybe it would “frustrate” people in the foreign tongue who like what they see and read, but who don’t have a chance to get the “full” experience that - in my case - an English speaking person would…)

Right now my website is about providing free content. If and when I am able to build a large online following, then I hope to turn-the-switch on the E-commerce portion, and start making $$$ by charging people for Content, whether it be Pay-per-View Articles, Books, CDs, Lectures, etc.

With that being said, it is conceivable that I could “localize” some of my site and have customers in Germany or France or Argentina, but who knows?! :-/

Does anyone have any “hands on” experience in this area?

And what do you say in response to my questions above??



My last company was a contractor for a gov’t agency (who requires a spanish translation for their sites), so I do have some experience with this.

  1. Some of it depends on laws in the country the company/site is working in, and the customers it supports. But mostly, it’s based on the percentage of the marketplace that company is looking to support. If the value is there to justify providing localization, they will.
  2. It can, but it makes it MUCH harder. Some people can switch from one language base to another quickly, others it takes an effort to switch back and forth - I, for example, have to make a conscious effort to switch from one.
  3. No, but it means you have to have staff that can read/write it fluidly. If you provide the language, the correspondence from your community will come through in that language.
  4. See #2. Dynamic content is the problematic portion.

One other thing to consider is you’ll need to check your templating system to ensure it’s capable of switching with ease, and there’s no hard coded values which can come up and bite.

So it all depends on your audience and whether it provides enough value and/or return to make it worth the effort…

Localization of a web site depends on type of web site you have.

I used a script once that used Google API to convert my web site to users Language. Was OK. But I read that Google thinks it is duplicated content. So I removed it.

Here is an article from Google blog: