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Sitecore Symposium 2017: Globalize Your Message with Localization

Meena Verma, Global Digital Marketing Manager at Alpha Assembly Solutions, gave a presentation on localization with Digital Marketing. She takes an approach of meeting your customers’ needs. The following are my notes from the session:
Your translation strategy should include:

  • Internationalization: ensure source content is ready for multiple languages
  • Localization: cultural adaptation of a target language including different idioms into a target language
  • Multilingual SEO
  • Translations: Word to word change from one language to another. Does not take into account regional preferences, beliefs, etc.
  • Globalization: Do all of the above.

Goal: Deliver the right localized content to the right audience at the right time.
Goal: Understand the science of correlation between language and human behavior. Overcome the challenges of effective brand management that breaks regional and cultural boundaries.
Quote: “Translated sites are not mirror images of each other. They are rather near identical twins with individual characteristics, personalities, and traits.” (Meena Verma)
This whole process starts with understanding your customers, their cultures, etc.


Content translation is only one piece of the puzzle. This will include:

  • local adaption of numerics like data formats, phone numbers, addresses, time zones, etc.
  • Use of international currencies like the dollar, euro, pound, etc.
  • Keyboard usage: Left to Right or Right to Left
  • Multimedia and video content
  • Voiceovers and audio
  • Text and graphics containing references that in a given culture may be subject to misinterpreation
  • Adjusting layout to fit the needs

Example: Nestle’s websites. Look at their Chinese vs U.S. sites.


Features of good Internationalization:

  • Provide global character set or unicode support
  • Support bidirectional text
  • Support multilingual users and org
  • Conform to international standards
  • Enable worldwide exchange of data

So your software should support this from the outset and then you’ll customize it even further.
Best Practice: Separate site constants from site variables
Site constants include source code, global templates, logos, brand names, etc.
Site variables: currency, etc.


Globalization means you have internationalized it and localized it.

How Does Sitecore Help?

Sitecore is i18n ready.

  • Multilingual interface
  • TMS integration
  • Translation workflows
  • Multi-site management

Other core functionality that helps

  • Ready with internationalized databases
  • Uses open architecture and API
  • Supports third party plug-ins
  • Can manage content, version, and variation support across multilingual sites
  • Enables separation of content from presentation for modifying content

Alpha has an SEO process that leads to globalization

Start with an SEO mindset. You want to automate this process as much as possible. Otherwise you create a non-scalable site. This will include keyword strategy, off-site quality link building, and on-site technical fixes.
A dynamic SEO Structure

  • Dynamic meta tag optimization
  • Automated content items naming convention
  • Dynamic recommendations for media items/documents
  • Bottom line: setting yourself up with content that is globalized

Why and What to Translate

It starts with better communication. Shoppers prefer to buy products in their language. 86% of localized campaign out-performed English version in click-through and conversion rates.  In other words, you get better results.
Next, you gain a competitive advantage. It’s a necessity. You will lose to your competition who chose to localize.  Remember, you target internet users rather than a language. Understand the convince them.
Localized the regions that matter most for your business. Identify and prioritize them. Choose the most important given the effort involved.

Translating Efficiently

First, build your site with globalization in mind. Key elements of design include site architecture and with flexible design templates. Not all designs will meet a bi-directional test.
Choose a content management system that supports this and has connectors. Next, find a translation partner with a Translation Management System (TMS) which integrates to the CMS. The translation provider should make the mechanics easy.
Next, don’t do everything manually. That includes the mechanics mentioned above and the the shortcuts that help from adaptive translation to automated full on translation.  Make sure your translation provider makes use of translation memory. This means that once a specific string is translated, then the system will pull that info from the database. You can save significant costs with this and the adaptive / machine translation.  Meera considers machine translation a first pass translation tool.
Fun Fact: Tables are an SEO and global SEO nightmare.
Translation No-Nos

  1. Just using machine translatoin
  2. Mistranslation of legal and technical content
  3. Machine translation cannot account for difference in localized languages

Best Practice: put text over the graphic vs embedded in the image.
Best Practice: Work with Glossary of terms and style guides.
Best Practice: Skip the cliches and other hard to translate items

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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