Localise Your Website Like McDonald’s!

Last Updated On: March 16, 2018



Businesses understand that a foreign expansion means overcoming a variety of challenges in order to reach a new market that was previously unavailable. But few businesses really get to grips with the need to make their products understood by all those millions of potential customers.

If you need some guidance here, check out the local versions of the McDonald’s website. That particular multinational has been in the expansion game for decades and seems to have mastered how to get its culinary message across.

It’s not just the fact that the McDonald’s marketing material is meticulously translated into dozens of different languages by a very effective translation agency. It’s the way these regional websites have been carefully crafted so they contain the nuances typical of the cultures in which the market


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    So what are the lessons to be learned from a successful multinational, multilingual and multicultural brand?

    Firstly, the cultural context is really important. That means that the professional translation team picked to translate your business website must be aware of all those cultural specifics that will make the local website browsers sit up and take notice. Every culture is unique. It’s the slang, the idioms, the humour, the language associations, even things like colour consciousness.

    Secondly, localisation won’t work if the main translation task is unprofessional. There is no business sense in economising on the cost of translation. Using a free translation tool like Google Translate is likely to make your website pages a laughing stock wherever it is read. Use a professional translation agency, but one that understands the inside out of the community you are aiming at. Idiomatic language is what is needed in marketing pages on the Internet, but idioms vary tremendously from one culture to another and word for word translation tools

    Thirdly, your web pages must be thoroughly designed to take into account of the language style of the target market. Some languages just take more words, or longer words, t convey the same meaning. Other languages might be more economical on word length or word usage altogether. Then there are the differences in orientation. Some languages have a right to left reading pattern, like Arabic. Others read from top to bottom. This must be taken into consideration when it comes to converting a marketing translation message in one language to another when images and graphics are included on the pages you are translating.

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