GTE Localize

5 Common Website Localization Mistakes

Posted by Anne Quach on March 16, 2021.

Website localization is no doubt one of the most essential steps for companies when planning to expand their businesses across borders. It contributes enormously to your global success by helping you:

    • Reach wider audiences – More than half of all websites in the world are in English while only 25% of the population speak this language. If your website is only in English, you are missing out on millions of potential buyers from non-speaking English countries.
    • Increase your brand credibility – Do you know 40% of global consumers won’t buy in other languages? When you speak the language that your global audience understand and display your website with images, design, and style suitable for the target nation’s culture, you can avoid regretful miscommunication and misunderstanding. This is critical for making a good impression and building brand trust in your audience.
    • Improve your website traffic – Well-localized website means optimized keywords, meta-tag information, etc. which ensure on-page SEO of your website in the new market. Your visibility on search engines will increase, which drives more organic traffic to your website.

These benefits can be gained only when you make the right decisions in localizing your content and SEO-related elements. Otherwise, your poorly localized website reduces your chance of generating new leads in global markets. To avoid this situation, you should be aware of the 5 most common mistakes in website localization below.

1. Using Machine Translation Only

The use of free machine translations such as Google Translate, Bing Translate, etc. has expanded quickly nowadays as they provide quick and understandable translations at zero charges.

Although neural machine translation’s quality is improving day by day, it should only be for private use. This is because machine translation cannot understand the context or use terminologies consistently throughout the whole document.


When it comes to multilingual sites, you should avoid using machine translation if you want to guarantee the accuracy of your content as well as your brand voices and professionalism. The best solution is to use professional human linguists to handle your localization projects. However, if you are on a tight budget and cannot afford human translators, then an alternative is using Machine Translation Post-editing (MTPE) which produces quite good translation at a much cheaper price.


2. Translating only parts of your website

Many companies choose to translate only the product sheets or contact page while leaving the FAQs, the general conditions of use, or blog posts untranslated. The obvious benefit of this choice is saving you a great deal of money. However, the drawbacks it brings is quite significant:

    • Firstly, according Can’t Read, Won’t Buy – a research series by Common Sense Advisory, 40% of global consumers won’t buy in other languages. Without the translations of product information or blog posts providing knowledge of the products, it will be more challenging for you to persuade non-native buyers or to become their first choice.
    • Secondly, poorly localized websites bring worse customer experience. It shows that you do not care enough or do not make effort to help users feel at home on your websites.
    • Thirdly, partly localized websites cannot bring you great page rankings in the target markets. A great solution to boost the rankings is to translate all content of your website, especially content from the blog posts. For effective blog translation tips, check out our blog post here.


3. Using Images with Text

Besides translating and modifying content to suit the tastes of the target audiences, adapting graphic is also an important part of website localization. Including texts in images might make the website localization process more challenging and time-consuming to deal with:

    • First, linguists translate the texts. Then, they need to find images expressing the same meanings while suitable for the target markets, edit and add the translation into the new images.
    • Moreover, search engines cannot read and understand texts in a photo. That means the texts in images cannot support the SEO aspect of a post.

Thus, to save costs and time when localizing your website, you should avoid using images with text inside. Instead, you can use captions for the images which are more friendly to handle and better for SEO.


4. Never updating your translations

If you think website localization is a one-time task. You finish localizing all content then it’s done. You are wrong. Today your website is updated with a new email address or office address. The next day, you add some more lines into the product description. Before you even notice, there are numerous conflicts in your websites in different languages. This leads to the confusion of buyers. Which information should they trust?

Website localization is a continuous process that requires frequent updates. If the number of changes is low, you can set a monthly or quarterly update schedule


5. Start translation before doing keyword research

Some people think translating keywords from one language to another is enough to boost SEO rankings. However, it is worth noting that a word or a term can have several different meanings and translations. Thus, the literal translation of keywords might not bring a desirable result.

For example, “orthodontics” formal translation in Vietnamese is “chỉnh nha”. Unfortunately, ordinary people barely use this term, some people even have never heard of it. A more practical and familiar term Vietnamese people use is “niềng răng”. They also use this term to search for information on the Internet.

Before translating, your company should conduct keyword research to see which terms have high search volume in the target markets and list these terms in the translation glossary. By using these terms in the translation process, you can guarantee more SEO-friendly content for your website.

Above are the 5 most common mistakes we want to remind you of when localizing your website. The list still goes on. Thus, to avoid the common mistakes in website localization, it is best to work with a professional localization agency, along with your internal technical resources. This will help you reduce time and cost, while increase your website quality.