It’s no secret that a customer’s journey to find answers to both simple and complex questions usually involves them accessing a search engine like Google, Yandex, Baidu or Naver.

That’s why it’s more important than ever for businesses to provide online content that will appear—and rank highly—in search engines around the world. The best possible way to do this is by localizing their websites and all the digital content for global customers.

Using the right language is important, but understanding the culture is powerful.

Let’s take a look at how a company’s awareness beyond linguistics can impact the success of expanding their brand across borders.

For many years, Google—the lead search engine in many global markets—treated Russian the same way it did with other global languages. It didn’t pay too much attention to the unique linguistic characteristics of the language, such as the multitude of word inflections, grammatical gender for nouns and name modifications based on live events.

This ignorance prevented it from making meaningful inroads as a player in the growing market. Meanwhile, Russian search giant Yandex maintained its hegemony throughout that period and remains the lead search engine in Russia to this day. It’s clear that user experience is key for search engines to survive.

What’s the difference between Google’s approach and Yandex’s? Yandex understood and leveraged how Russians communicate their intention through linguistics, wording, and spelling. For example, Russians often use transliteration or phonetic spellings to refer to international brands.

The learning for Google—and for the rest of the world—is that when competition for dominance is fierce, companies that quickly and continually adapt to customers’ needs (and the ever-shifting norms of local languages) can help them becomes winners in a market.

Translation expertise and translation technology can work together to solve a global problem.

It’s clear that publishing digital content in customers’ preferred languages is a must if companies want to rank in global search engines. When it comes to marketing in these international markets, brands are usually starting from “zero.” Most believe they must craft all marketing material from scratch to make a dent in the market.

This lack of in-market experience—and lack of localized content—comes with a lot of complexity, gaps in user experience, and dilution of brand credibility and awareness.

Seasoned marketers know there’s a better way. They can audit their existent content (which serves their main market), identify the topics of global nature, and proceed to translate and localize this material for global markets.

Website translators are a unique breed.

Translators who specialize in website translation are unique. Their mandate is to find the right words and phrases that provide accurate translations and also build and reinforce a brand’s expertise and online authority.

They must also understand their company’s value proposition and how it supports the needs of local markets—and then use a data-driven approach to find the best local terminology to use.

There are 3 major mistakes on website translations projects:

  1. Expecting that translation only happens once
  2. Translating only the content that it’s visible on the browser and forgetting about all the metadata
  3. Not connecting all the translated properties

Website translation technologies are robust and can be customized as needed. Website owners and content teams need to be aligned and with a good global understanding of their product, industry, and buyers around the globe.