In order for customers to have a fully-localized experience with a brand, it is important to think beyond website translation and ensure that all content is localized. This involves translation, but also providing information that is relevant based on the target market’s geography. For example, post-purchase emails should be translated into English for American and British customers, but the currency, shipping and refund policy information needs to be adapted to match local regulations.

1. Newsletters and automatic emails

Automatic emails provide crucial information such as proof of purchase and order status. Translating these emails and adapting information for local audiences will not only improve consumer trust, it will also reduce the number of customer service inquiries and returns.

  • Currency, sizing, and other product information
  • Shipping times (ex: it will take 2 days to ship to a customer in France compared to 7 days to a customer in Australia)
  • Return and refund policy

Even though newsletters contain less crucial information, they should nevertheless not be ignored. Their goal is to build a long-term relationship with customers and boost repeat purchases.

In practice, this means translating newsletters as well as including relevant promotions for each region. For example, a newsletter about a Thanksgiving sale would resonate with American customers, but not with British customers.


2. Social Media

In an ideal world, each market would have its own social media manager that shares engaging content and interacts with customers in their native language. Most businesses do not have enough resources for this, but there is a way to intelligently manage international social media with only one person.

It’s best to focus primarily on community building in the home market, while staying responsive with foreign audiences. This means sharing content in the company’s chosen language, while monitoring multilingual social media mentions. When customers send a message in another language, the response can be sent in their native language (keeping in mind the character limits and popular abbreviations on social media).


3. Customer Support

As an online business, online retailers can potentially receive customer service emails in an unlimited number of languages. To simplify the process, an automatic translation tool can be used to understand the main message – is this a customer with a question, a potential partner or a journalist interested in writing an article? This is the only time that an automatic translation should be used.

The response should always be written by a human translator because automatic translation often sounds unnatural and even worse, can convey false information.

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Translation and website localisation: best practices

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