X

Our Analysts' Insights

Blogs & Events / Blog
23Jan

Localization Depth and Corporate Language Strategy

In 2018, CSA Research examined the language of content on 5.5 million webpages from 2,794 leading brand websites. We focused on 1,348 sites that yielded two or more languages to study the average depth of localization, defined as the percentage of source content translated into other languages. This research revealed that full localization is the exception rather than the norm and is usually something only enterprises with small and simple web presences pursue. Instead, major brands choose what to provide for each market based on economic opportunity and budget constraints.

As in many other areas of the language industry, English stands out. Localizations into English from other languages tend to be substantially more complete than for any other targets, as seen in the figure below. It is also the most frequent language found on major brand sites: The overwhelming majority of major brands translate into English if they aren’t authoring in it.
 

Figure02


On the flip side, for the eight source languages where we had sufficient sites to analyze, sites authored in English showed by far the lowest localization depth, as seen below. This indicates that corporate sites from the United States and other English-speaking countries tend to treat translation as an afterthought. Those authored elsewhere, particularly in Europe, see it as a much more important part of their market strategy.

Figure01


So how do enterprises decide what to translate? Our research finds that most organizations pragmatically start with general brand and marketing pages and then move into product-specific content over time and add support material if and when their market share justifies it. Taking this approach enables them to build brand awareness and develop a customer base in order to demonstrate a return on investment. They can then move on to additional content where there is a demonstrated need. CSA Research’s data can help localization strategists understand which languages to add and how much they should invest in them.

Ultimately the choice of how much to localize, and into which languages, is a critical business question for which different companies will find different answers, but access to data from a broad base of enterprises can help them benchmark their activities and find opportunities to differentiate themselves and identify gaps in their service. Combined with information from the Global Website Assessment Index 2019 and Top Target Languages by Vertical Sector: 2019, it provides a deep view into corporate language selection strategies.

About the Author

Arle  Lommel

Arle Lommel

Senior Analyst

Focuses on language technology, artificial intelligence, translation quality, and overall economic factors impacting globalization

Related

Airbnb: A Lesson in How to Implement Language at the Platform Level

Airbnb: A Lesson in How to Implement Language at the Platform Level

Are you ready to implement language as a feature at the platform level? Do you know how to gain exec...

Read More >
7 Steps to Ensure Japanese Linguistic Quality

7 Steps to Ensure Japanese Linguistic Quality

So you want to be big in Japan? What does it take to promote your brand in the country and how can y...

Read More >
Dashboards: What Are You Driving?

Dashboards: What Are You Driving?

A dashboard – in a vehicle – is familiar to every one of us. So familiar that we don’t even think...

Read More >
Implications of the Spotify Model for Localization Teams

Implications of the Spotify Model for Localization Teams

Our current research into continuous localization has revealed more companies adopting the “Spotify...

Read More >
Big Opportunities in Domestic Language Needs

Big Opportunities in Domestic Language Needs

Populations that do not speak the dominant language are often ignored in the United States and elsew...

Read More >
Globalizing at Scale: Four Steps to Advance Faster

Globalizing at Scale: Four Steps to Advance Faster

You’ve taken some deep collective breaths as an organization, and now you’re partway through pivot...

Read More >

Subscribe

Name

Categories

Follow Us on Twitter