colourful silhouette of a city with 'germany' written above it to represent website localisation
May 30, 2016

Proven Website Localisation Techniques That Work!

Should you simply translate your website into German… or localise it to reach your new target audience?

One of the trickiest tasks a website owner has to contend with is the translation and localisation of their site, for example from English into German. Besides the technical issues that they’re faced with, website owners have to contend with Germany’s cultural nuances.

Simply put: there’s no such thing as a one-size fits-all approach when it comes to website localisation.

Translation vs. Localisation: What’s The Difference?

You may think that translation and localisation means pretty much the same thing, but they don’t. Translation is all about translating text from one language to an entirely different language – think English to Spanish or French to German.

Website localisation, however, means the translation of business’s online profile and its digital assets – images, blogs, etc. into a business’ target audience. Localisation means integrating the local cultures practices and norms, preferences, prospects, tastes and legalities into the business. This is generally used in cases of website, blog, social media pages and video platforms, and already has a technical part to it.

What makes the process so difficult for Internet developers and marketers are the psychological and sociological elements that come with cultural adaptation. Each region of the world is different.

Should You Localise Your Website?

The reason websites are localised is to effectively connect with the local target market, using the language they speak and understand. It works to establish trust and recognition with the target audience.

4 Important Features That Ensure a Successful Localisation Project:

Web Designs

Once you’ve translated the website content, you need to localise the website’s design. This includes the colours, fonts, domain and hosting provider, etc. Every aspect of your website must be considered, asking yourself if your target audience will understand what you mean.


When localising a site, you need to consider your images. After all, images are just one of several things your target audience sees when they hit your website. If your target audience is in Germany, you don’t want images that have Asian buildings in the background. The idea is to create a connection with your target audience – get local people and settings in your images.

Localisation Combined With Branding

When it comes to marketing in a new country, you may need to come up with a whole new brand. Remember, the most effective branding features you have are your company logo and slogan. You need to think colours along with symbols and what impact your logo designs will have in the new market.

Now, you’ll need to deal with the translation of slogans. Slogan translation is going to be tough because you need to understand the culture of the target location. It’s hard enough to come up with a great slogan, but once you’ve done that for one country, you may have to come up with another one for your new location.


If you’re going to make an impact on your new audience, you must speak their language – not just their “spoken language” but how they converse, using words they use to communicate. Just writing in their language isn’t enough to turn them into a buyer. You must shape a tone of voice that speaks to your potential customers.

While text and images are great to reach out to your new target audience, video and other media can expand your reach too. Don’t forget to use local scenery and people in the video, if you decide to go this route. Since every video doesn’t need a person or place to get the message across, it’s important to decide if subtitles and voiceovers will be used to translate the content.

Localising your website means looking at every single aspect – contact information, properly formatted dates, language, the culture etc. One last thing you need to consider are the legalities in your target country. In Germany for example it is mandatory to add a statement of ownership to any website published in Germany and certain other German-speaking countries such as Switzerland and Austria.

Once you know this, you can consider the direction you need to go to reach out to your new target market audience.

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