Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
Culture and Website Localization > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

Culture and Website Localization


Culture and Website Localization

With the rise in ownership of computers and internet usage growing daily, the internet is fast becoming the primary port of call for information, shopping and services. In addition, those computer and internet users are increasingly from non-English speaking countries. At the end of 2002, it was estimated that 32% of internet users were non-native English speakers. This figure is constantly rising. In response, businesses have quickly become aware of the benefits of website localization.

Website localization is the process of modifying an existing website to make it accessible, usable and culturally suitable to a target audience. Website localization is a multi-layered process needing both programming expertise and linguistic/cultural knowledge. If either is missing, the chances are that a localization project will encounter problems.

In the majority of cases it is the lack of linguistic and cultural input that lets a website localization project down. In order to give an insight into the impact culture has on website localization the following examples depict areas in which a solid understanding of the target culture is necessary.

Language in Website Localization

Translating a website from English into another language is not as simple as it may appear. There are numerous factors that have to be taken into consideration when translating a websites' content.

Do all the words, phrases, sayings and metaphors translate directly to the target language? Would it be wise to translate the phrase "everyman for himself" in text describing a company or product if this is going to be read by a highly collectivist culture? Does the content of your website use humour and if so will the target culture appreciate or even understand it? Native alternatives should always be sought and used in any website localization.

When translating into another language carefully consider the variants. If it is to be an Arabic website then is aimed at Tunisians or Iraqis, Egyptians or Yemenis? If you are targeting all Arabic speakers then ensure Modern Standard Arabic has been employed by your translator.

One must analyse the style of the language and the target audience. If the audience is foreign business personnel, the vocabulary, grammar and punctuation must reflect this. If the audience is informal or youth orientated then a more relaxed language must used. Just as we in the UK would identify the difference between a site using 'posh English' and 'street English', other cultures will have the same perceptions of language. Using the wrong language for the wrong reader in your localization project will lead to a misunderstanding of the site or company.

It is essential to assess what information is necessary to carry over into the new site. Do not assume that all information on the English site is automatically transferred over. One must evaluate the target culture and society. Is it a culture that relies on information rich writing to fully understand a concept or product or is a culture that relies more on images or one that needs little text to grasp ideas and concepts? If your English site employs a lot of technical language then consider how best to transfer these concepts without the use of language.


Pictures in Website Localization

Images carry many subtle cultural messages within them. These can speak volumes about your company or product. Pictures or images may have certain negative connotations that may repel viewers. This is now an area that thankfully is receiving attention in website localization.

For example, if a travel site in a Muslim populated country used pictures of scantily clad women in bikinis, disco dancing and beer drinking, the chances are that they would not be very successful.

When including pictures of personnel it is wise to tailor these to what the target audience will look positively upon. A picture of the Director behind a desk in an office will be fine for a seniority respecting society, but for an egalitarian society it is better to show the Director mixing with staff.

It is through pictures that websites can either relate to an audience or repel them.

Symbols in Website Localization

As with pictures, symbols can cause problems in localization. Icons using fingers such as an OK sign or V-sign may mean different things to different cultures. Our Western symbols do not always mean the same abroad. An oft cited example is the representation of the house referring to a home page, or a letterbox to mail. The use of animals in logos can cause embarrassment and further problems. For example, pigs are considered unclean in the Middle East and cows as holy in India.

Colours in Website Localization

Colours are also loaded with cultural meanings that need to be analysed in website localization. Choosing the wrong colour for your logo or background will not always have disastrous consequences, but avoiding them is always advisable.
For example, in Japan white is commonly associated with mourning. In China red is auspicious. In Africa certain colours represent different tribes.

Navigation in Website Localization

It is even the most taken for granted aspects of website layout that must be analysed properly for a successful localization project. In the West we assume that how we present websites is how it naturally should be done. This is far from the truth.

A common problem experienced in localization is the effect on layout through translation. Foreign scripts can make your pages need more room or less room depending on the target language in the localization. Not all languages read from left to right. Arabic is from right to left and both Japanese and Chinese are from top to bottom.

Access to certain pages is also a factor that can be considered as relevant. Highly hierarchical cultures may view a site positively if it is 'member only' access, whereas an egalitarian culture may find it disagreeable.

Content in Website Localization

Examining your written content in any localization process in critical to its success. This is not only important for proper transfer of aspects such as dates, currencies, and units of measurement but for the presenting the correct image.

For example, will the site focus on a product or a company? Both bring with them certain considerations dependent on the target culture. If a company is marketing itself in a culture that respects seniority and hierarchy, readers will want to see information on senior members. Along with their titles and rank they will also want to evaluate them through information on their professional qualifications, experience and contacts. These areas in the UK may generally be avoided as in our culture it is bordering on self-indulgence and boasting.


Conclusion

Culture affects everything we do, say, read, hear and think and even websites cannot escape the influence of culture.

The impact of culture on website localization is huge. The above few examples are literally the tip of the iceberg. The number of variables that have to be taken into consideration requires the expertise of both a website designer along with a cross cultural communications consultant. In tandem they can identify the issues that will impact on the successful localization of a site.

At a time where the internet is entering more and more houses it is crucial that companies involved in the internationalization of their business consider website localization and take care to use effective cross cultural analysis.

Neil Payne of http://www.kwintessential.co.uk is the Director of cross cultural communications consultancy Kwintessential.

Permission is granted to reproduce the article in full on the condition I am made aware of any intention to use it. [email protected]

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Let's eliminate social vices undermining tourism promotion efforts- Minister
BusinessGhana
Mr Issahaku said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Wa Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Issahaku Tahiru Moomin during the Upper West Regional Tourism Awards last Saturday night. It was organized by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) in Wa ...

and more »

Testing leads to promotion
The LaRue County Herald News
If you subscribe to the newspaper, you receive FREE access to all the exclusive content of the web site! Simply register to receive uninterrupted access to our award-winning and in-depth local online content! Renew Current or Past Subscription ...

and more »

Disney On Ice Ticket Giveaway Rules
WTVM
Entrants agree not to upload, post or transmit any materials which contain any computer viruses, Easter eggs, worms, Trojan Horses or other harmful component or programming routines that are intended to damage, detrimentally interfere with ...


UMB calls for promotion of tourism industry in Africa
BusinessGhana
Mr John Awuah, UMB Chief Executive Officer, has called for the promotion of the tourism industry in Africa, in order to accelerate the continent's socio-economic development. He said tourism is one of the key industries driving the change process on ...

and more »

Gizmodo

Trump Calls to Regulate Bump Stocks, Bump Stock Maker's Website Crashes
Gizmodo
Now we're onto a new mass shooting, but this one didn't involve bump stocks. But that old ban people wanted? Well, it's suddenly back in the news. And the ceaselessly terrified crowd that hoards guns every time it hears the phrase “background check” is ...

and more »

WBAY

Furnitureland $20000 Giveaway complete rules
WBAY
E. The Station, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to disqualify any person (and all of their entries) from this Promotion if he or she tampers with the entry process, the operation of the Promotion, or the operation of the Station's website ...
Win the Ultimate Total Tools Outdoor Living Package!Townsville Bulletin

all 4 news articles »

PR Newswire (press release)

Ryan O'Halloran And Kevin Brennan Promoted To Managing Principals
PR Newswire (press release)
CHICAGO, Feb. 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Brennan Investment Group, LLC, is pleased to announce the promotions of Ryan O'Halloran and Kevin Brennan, formally Vice Presidents, to Managing Principals. In their new roles, O'Halloran and Brennan will co-head ...

and more »

SG Ghana “Aben Wo Ha” promo winners receive cars
BusinessGhana
Societe Generale (SG) Ghana has rewarded final winners in its 'Aben Wo Ha' promotion in Accra. The grand draw was the final in a series to reward customers who participated in the promotion launched in August 2017 by the bank to encourage customers to ...

and more »

Hudson Valley One

New Paltz native Dawn Elliott is this year's recipient of the Martha Washington Woman of History Award
Hudson Valley One
This year's recipient of the annual Martha Washington Woman of History Award is New Paltz native Dawn Elliott: historical interpreter, reenactor, preservationist, educator and researcher. The honor is bestowed each year by Washington's Headquarters ...


Miami New Times

President Trump's Son Spent the Morning Promoting Conspiracies About Parkland Survivors
Miami New Times
In the days after their classmates were massacred by a disturbed kid who was allowed to purchase military-style weaponry, hundreds of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High survivors have become fiery gun-control advocates. Their message is simple: Nikolas Cruz ...

and more »
Google News

Whats The First Thing Your Prospects See When They Visit Your Website?

I just reviewed a new website and I'm in shock.... Read More

Create a Google Sitemap for Your Web Site

Google Sitemaps is a simple and fast way for your... Read More

Website Promotion Ideas: 8 Simple But Effective Tips To Get People To Visit Your Web Site Often

If you have a website and desires to attract traffic... Read More

Cross Promote Online For Maximum Profits

Cross promoting is when two or more businesses promote their... Read More

How Can You Promote Your Online Business Offline?

Many people miss out on some very valuable promotion opportunities... Read More

Website Promotion ? Need Inspiration to Write Articles? Check Your Stats!

One of the best ways to promote a Website inexpensively... Read More

Generating Inbound Links

Content One of the best ways to encourage website owners... Read More

How to Get Directories to Submit Your Site - With this 5 Steps Guide!

So you have completed that new site and want to... Read More

Promotional Tools That Work For Online Businesses!

Promotion... also known as selling. Not an easy task in... Read More

Grassroots Marketing Campaign

Many people, in a rush to spike sales through the... Read More

Ten High Powered Ways To Increase Your Traffic

Once you have finshed designing your website, you want to... Read More

Successful Promotion is a State of Mind

Every good marketing plan should have a section on ongoing... Read More

How to Get Unlimited Free Advertising

The opportunities for getting free advertising for your product or... Read More

Developing a Profitable Web Business Concept

The first step to starting a profitable online business of... Read More

Free Web Site Traffic ? 4 Keys to Website Promotion

Web site traffic promotion on the cheap is labor intensive... Read More

Internet Directory Submission, Sure Way To Link Popularity

Most website owners fail to differentiate between a directory and... Read More

Promotion Techniques Dont Have To Be A Hassle

Are you tired of writing countless eMails to other webmasters... Read More

5 Effective Ways to Promote Your Website For Free Online

1. Generate Targeted Traffic from Online Discussion Forums.Online discussion forums... Read More

How To Use Banner Ads Effectively

It's no big secret that banner ads have become less... Read More

Dont Put All Your Promotion Eggs In The SEO Basket

One of the most frequent questions I get asked by... Read More

A Successful Link Exchange

Interested in boosting your link popularity, raising your Google PR,... Read More

Streamline Your Training Costs with Streaming Media

Streaming Media?now a well accepted Internet technology. Yet streaming is... Read More

What Can You Do To Beat Your Competition?

In many cases when you start a new website you... Read More

Can What You Dont Know About Web Analytics Hurt Your Site? Yes is an Understatement!

Web analytics. Don't worry, it's not as boring as it... Read More

SuperCharge Your Website With Multi Linking

Here's a fairly obvious Multi Linking Strategy that is probably... Read More