2M website now supports 3 languages. Over the past 3 years, we planned and executed 2 separate language launches: French and Spanish. Having offices and maintaining client bases in France and Latin America, it was a logical move to make our most important source of online information available in these languages. Moreover, as a Language Services Provider, we believe in the old saying, “drink your own champagne”.
This article aims to shed some light on the processes and technology we leverage at 2M to successfully deploy localised website versions and improve our international users’ experience.
The Role of localisation
Language localisation refers to tailoring to a language with an associated culture and region. The end game is to allow for easier access and a greater reach of information for a standout international user experience. Adapting towards the language of a region connects the target market to the information in front of them and is more likely to resonate.
The act of localisation may sound simple in theory; however, the reality is that a lot goes on behind the scenes before reaching the final goal. Barriers include complex cultural and linguistic adaptation, all of which pays off when done well, however.
Localisation at 2M
With every new language launch on our website, we want our customers to benefit from the highest quality localisation. We take the time to coordinate our expert team and processes to make sure we are all working towards the same goal. We operate on the principle that localisation is the most personal form of customer relationships. 2M strives to operate on a basis that makes access to local languages easy and empowers our customers in the process.
In order to ensure that the launch of a new localised website goes smoothly, our focus is threefold: tool optimisation, project management, and quality assurance. To deliver on these strategic areas, our team is organised into three pillars: technology, projects, quality.
- The technology pillar focuses on creating the right tools and automation to support languages in maintenance, as well as launching new languages efficiently such as leveraging content connectors, translation memory or machine translation. This pillar is also responsible for providing technical support and debugging any issues with the tools being used. For example, we saved a substantial amount of project management time when localising our website using our WordPress connector. We also leverage translation memory technology across the translation process to ensure consistency and save time.
- The projects pillar manages all incoming requests. For our new languages, this pillar is responsible for assigning a point of contact who can intake the work, answer difficult questions and keep track of end-to-end timelines across the company.
- The quality pillar is in charge of maintaining quality standards across languages. All quality evaluations of content must meet a defined quality standard for us to consider that this translated content is ready to be published. This pillar is the one running linguistic quality assurance (LQA) processes, localisation testing and intaking bugs and feedback from internal speakers and external reviewers, as well as ensuring that all critical issues are fixed by launch.
Treat external partners as part of our team
Our linguists are the reason 2M can tap into world markets. They provide valuable personal insights into subtle language nuances and contexts that help us create the most authentic language website versions. This is why linguists act as an extension of our team and why we want them to be part of every step in the localisation process. Our linguists translate website content to deliver the highest quality UX with an edge. With this, we set the standards for quality and services for our international customers.
Translating and localising our website is a first step to ensure that our content is adapted for our target audience. However, we need to ensure that they will get to see our website and find our services easily when they search for it on the web and that is when implementing a structured multilingual SEO strategy proves useful.
Our multilingual SEO has a clear step-by-step process that involves our marketing resources, the project team, and the involved linguists.
- The multilingual keyword research is the first step. At this stage, we have reviewed our local website keyword strategy against the language we are working on and perform an in-depth research on the localised keywords. We review the volume of searches, the keyword variations, the competition using those keywords and analyse local search behaviour for our type of service. Tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Moz SEO or isearchfrom.com are great to get the necessary information.
- The keyword strategy definition is when, based on the keyword research, we extract a set of keywords where we feel that we will have the best chance to rank and whilst getting the most traffic as possible. Those keywords are reviewed and validated by local resources to ensure they are in line with search behaviour and local jargon.
- At the implementation phase, we inject those keywords in our localised copy at strategic locations such as headings, image alternative attributes, link anchor texts, page URLs and meta description. This happens during the translation process and again during the localisation testing process. Tools like a style guide, glossary and translation memory assist us in enforcing the use of the keyword in the localised copy.
- The technical multilingual SEO tasks are carried by the technology team. They assist the project team in setting correctly the required technical SEO element in the foreign language versions of the site. That includes setting correct hreflang tags, localised 404 pages, Content Delivery Network (CDN), and optimising the website sitemap.
SERPs results from localised pages both ranking 1st position on 1st page from searches executed respectively from France (Paris) and Spain (Madrid). – Click to see full size version
Know that it’s about more than language
We’re kept on our toes throughout the entire language launch process. The nature of language launches means that we have to constantly check in with our team. Team members experience high points at varying times throughout the project, which makes the process challenging. It’s all about communication – how we coordinate our team from the get-go determines our success. Language launches are demanding and this is why we strive to be on top of our game at all times throughout the project.
Localisation is not simply about translation. It’s a coordinated effort that requires deep input and collaboration from the whole team. Our project managers are at the forefront when a request comes in. Then, our technology and quality teams come in. Our technology whizzes equip the system with the right tools and fix any debugging issues we experience. Last but not least, translated content needs to undergo quality tests, localisation tests and implement feedback loop. Altogether, our efforts lead us to our original goal – to make the 2M website easy to navigate and a smooth customer experience for all.