Preparing an E-Commerce Site for a New Locale

This is a summary of an article on Lingoport.com from October 2009.

As I have shared in previous posts about localizing content for a specific locale, creating a website that works in multiple target locations is essential for creating an international business. If your company website sells to an international market or creates content that appeals to people around the world then it is important to communicate in a clear manner.

The process of preparing  a site can take time, but it is important to do it right the first time in order to save costs. Remember that simply translating a website into multiple languages doesn’t necessarily make it easier for international customers to use your site. There are differing date formats, currency formats, and address formats to consider; i.e.: England uses “postal codes” while the US uses “zip codes.” This difference is rather subtle, but as a company selling to international customers, it is important to be as clear and concise as possible throughout the purchasing process. This point brings up the difference between simply translating a site to multiple languages versus translating a site to multiple locales. Locales are more specific, obviously, and have their own purchasing behaviors.

On the more technical side, the architecture of the code in the back end of a site will likely need to be changed to support a new market. The process of internationalization extracting embedded code stings can more easily improve the process of translation, and ease the work load of software developers by cutting back the time it takes to search through lines and lines of code. Additionally, supporting the character set support Unicode offers will dismiss any mis-translated gibberish.

Now if you’re operating a smaller operation and consider machine translation, through Google Translate for example, then there are easily implementable strategies to consider when catering to an international audience. Using short, concise wording in your site’s content will help the machine translation better communicate your message. Additionally, when repeating the same idea, use the same phrase so that foreign readers can identify that you are talking about the same thing. Staying knowledgeable and up-to-date with your customers will go a long way in garnering success.

For the full article, please visit http://www.lingoport.com/building-a-site-for-worldwide-customers

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