The World Wide Web is evolving to be the new frontier in international business, as it provides unprecedented advantages to companies attempting to tap the global market. In the past, size and financial strength of a company were critical competitive advantages in reaching global consumers. Today, the Web allows companies of all sizes instant global reach and the immediate ability to interact with customers all over the world.
Website localization is a delicate and complex process involving diverse skills and requiring experience in the coordination of work phases. The localization of a website differs from straight translation with respect to the identification of translatable texts, the tools needed to render them, their non-linearity, the way in which the translation process is prepared and coordinated, and the extent of the changes that may by introduced. As with any translation and localization project, it is not enough to simply convert text into the destination language; rather the success of a website translated into a language different to the original depends on linguistic & cultural compliance, suitable communication tone, necessary graphical transformation, adapted scripting components, and page formatting, etc.
In the future, global web sites that are likely to enjoy the powerful advantages of branding will be those that are distinctively customized to their target markets. At 21GCTT, we believe that for such a customization to be successful, it will have to be culturally based. With experiences gained from our web site localization and cultural customization services for over 340 clients ranging from emerging startups to large multi-nationals, we have already proven, together with our survey, that companies targeting global customers have little choice but to culturally customize their web sites if they are to successfully draw customers, build trust and loyalty, and make themselves invulnerable to competitive marketing actions. Moreover, projections from an Internet research firm, www.globalreach.com, show that in 2004 only 35 percent of the online population will belong to English-speaking nations, while approximately 65 percent of global Internet users will be non-English speakers (or those for whom English is a second language). Online consumers speaking Chinese (170 million), Japanese (88 million), Spanish (70 million), German (62 million), Korean (43 million), and French (41 million) dominate the linguistically diverse global online population. This growing, geographically and culturally diverse online population offers extraordinary opportunities in online revenues for businesses. Research also shows that consumers prefer to shop and interact in sites that are specially designed for them in their local language. More than 75 percent of Chinese and Korean online shoppers prefer web sites in Mandarin and Korean respectively. Similarly, the French and Spanish have a strong preference for sites in their local languages. Several studies confirm that country-specific and/or culturally sensitive web content enhances usability, reach, and web site interactivity, leading to more web traffic and business activity on the Web. Further, it is very likely that if a company doesn’t culturally localize and customize its web site, it may be forced to do so in the future, driven by competitors doing the same or by increased expectations from customers.
Localizing and culturally customizing web sites is a core strength of 21GCTT. Our lengthy experience, backed by our unique global delivery model, as well as our IT, design, graphic，publishing, brand promotion and multimedia expertise, enables us to help our clients not only linguistically localize, but culturally customize their web sites faster, more efficiently and to higher levels of quality. Our family of Web Site Localization and Customization services capitalizes on the cost, time and skill advantages of China-based localization centers along with onsite support to ensure close relationships with product marketing, engineering teams and other internal constituents. Available individually or as fully integrated offerings, our services can optimize all phases of your product and marketing lifecycle.