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Yesterday I attended a seminar held by Utah Technology Council here in Salt Lake City. The presenter was Adam Wooten from Globalization Group, talking about how to develop localization ready websites.  His key point was to prepare in advance to ensure that the localization process will be easy and cost-effective. To correct an error for one language, before going global can be $1000, but $25,000 to fix after having launched the site in 25 languages.

In order to prepare well, we should think of both technical aspects and cultural aspects.

Examples of technical aspects are:

  • Regional settings such as number and measurement formats
  • Character sets
  • Separate code and translatable text
  • Text expansion
  • Text in images (harder to localize)
  • Concatenated strings (harder to localize)

Examples of cultural aspects are:

  • Cultural aspects: eliminate local cultural examples, example, American Football
  • Brand Names (will they work in the target country?)
  • Symbols, Images and Colors (how are they perceived in the target country?)

As a translator, I especially liked his tips for content authors:

  • Write with the translator in mind
  • Avoid ambiguity
  • Avoid references and allusions, such as references to sports
  • Limit concatenations
  • Take advantage of repetitions (easy to handle with CAT-tools)

Adam Wooten is the CEO of Globalization Group, a localization company in Utah, and a member of Utah Translators and Interpreters Association.

Readers, do you have any other tips to prepare websites to go global? Happy Global Earth Day everyone!


Swedish Translation Services is a company owned by Tess Whitty, a freelance translator (English-Swedish), proofreader, editor, copy writer, localizer and entrepreneur.

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