Localization: Localizing Websites for Spanish Speakers

By Rob Coven | October 24, 2011

Localizing WebsitesLocalization is the term generally used when making adjustments to the marketing of a product or service to another culture, people of another language or to those who live in or are from another country. In the case of Hispanics or Latinos living in the U.S., it is not simply about translating the words of an English language marketing campaign into Spanish.  It is also way of marketing the product or service to the target market, in this case U.S. Spanish speakers, Latinos or Hispanics, in a way they personally and culturally identify with. Localization integrates the marketing of a product or a service into the both the language and the culture of the intended consumer group.

In terms of building websites localization means that the images used, the layout of the pages of the website, the colors used and the word choices employed, may be different than that for an English based or “American” consumer target marketed website. We make changes to better relate to the visual, intellectual and emotional world of the Spanish speaker/Latino/Hispanic.

When it comes to marketing professional services such as law, accounting, education, etc., localization changes may be more muted on websites for such services than would be used for physical products.  Even though these types of professional services are presented differently in other countries and in other cultures than in the U.S., they are usually not done so to the extent that the marketing of products is.

Localizing a website to make it searchable and findable for a Spanish speaker, it is essential to use a Spanish language keyword rich URL. The content of the website, written in Spanish, can be optimized both for the Spanish language reader and for the search engine ranking.  Spanish Language Domain Names are much more understandable and easier to remember for a Spanish speaker. than English ones.  Don’t overlook this when localizing your website for Spanish speakers.

If localization has been successfully implemented, when Spanish Language consumers visit a “localized” website, they will perceive it as having been developed and produced for them by other Spanish speakers and/or from their home country. Localization is a tool that helps in creating a relationship with the target market in a way that makes them feel familiar and comfortable with the information being presented.

See this General Mills website as an example: http://www.quericavida.com or this one by Unilever http://www.vivemejor.com.

Understanding the culture is essential to creating the best localization of a website.  As a result there is a greater likelihood that the Spanish speaker will use the services or buy the product of the company marketing them to him/her.

Rob Coven is president and founder of Market To Latinos an online, Spanish language based, marketing and consulting company. He has been working and living with the Spanish speaking and Latino community since 1984. He writes blogs and shares important articles and research on the Spanish speaking population in the U.S. and abroad. Call Rob at 706-850-7555 or info@MarketToLatinos.com.

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