12 Steps to Website Globalization

April 30, 2010

Website Globalization (G11N) = Website Internationalization (I18N) + Website Localization (L10N)


Whether you are trying to launch a multilingual website to expand your products and services into new global markets or whether you are trying to increase your company's global operational efficiencies by developing multilingual extranets and intranets, website globalization is a requirement to make either a reality. You must translate (globalize) your website to empower your web presence to effectively communicate, conduct and complete international e-commerce.


Website translation is also known as "website globalization". In order to truly "translate" a website into other languages you may need both internationalization (I18N) and localization (L10N) services.

Internationalization (I18N)


This process involves enabling the backend of a website to handle different languages, character encoding, currencies, form data submission, site search capabilities, etc. Internationalization requires understanding what database and content management systems (CMS) you are using to author, store and publish your website's content. Many recent versions of Data Bases (DBs) and CMSs are already internationalized or enabled for other languages. For instance, such systems should be double-byte enabled, to handle Asian languages and script-based languages. GPI's internationalization methodology may include discovery and assessment through implementation and testing. For more information on Internationalization, read our previous blog post, Why Internationalize Your Code Base, to learn more about this dynamic process.

Localization (L10N)


This process involves translating and localizing the front end of your website into different languages, ensuring that all website content (text and graphics) is translated in an accurate and culturally correct manner. GPI's localization methodology may include over a dozen steps of website localization ranging from review, website globalization guide analysis and preparation of a client's source files to basic online website QA & website testing.

Website Localization Kit


Project analysis and estimating cannot begin until the customer assembles and submits a complete set of website source files, also knows as a "Website Localization Kit". This kit should include:


  • Customer website(s) URL
  • Any passwords or login instructions
  • Summary of website architecture
  • Summary of any technologies and/or web development toolsets used to develop your website
  • All files that make up your website in their original folder/file structure
  • All original graphics used in your website (artwork, backgrounds, navigation buttons)
  • All application source files (Word, FrameMaker, Quark, etc.) for any documentation available via your website
  • A list (if available) of all files that need to be translated


These files are analyzed by your translation vendor or translator for:

web globalization

  • number of words
  • source and target languages
  • subject matter
  • desktop publishing (DTP) requirements for on-line documents
  • source and target file formats
  • client review and approval requirements
  • client workflow requirements


The following is an overview of website globalization best practices:

  1. Pre-Translation Source File Review
    Source files are assembled in the website localization kit described above. Files are prepared in order to utilize a translation memory (TM) workflow and also to preserve any mark-up or formatting codes in on-line documents for download, in order to save time and costs with DTP of target languages. A proposal is generated based on project factors including word counts, localizable graphics, target languages and any content management systems and workflows required.
  2. Project Kick-Off
    The kick-off includes and confirms the following: the project team; project schedules; project specifications; workflow requirements; communication channels; review and approval milestones; review current web authoring and publishing workflow.
  3. Subject Matter Training and Research
    A Globalization Services Team (GST) will review and study reference materials provided, including source files, demos and general client information. Additional client-specific training for translation teams related to the website subject matter (e.g. product or customer software functionality and target audience) may be required.
  4. Glossary Development
    Translation teams develop and maintain client specific glossaries that leverage (reuse) any existing client glossaries and the latest industry-specific dictionaries.
  5. Cultural Correctness Assessment
    Before the actual translation begins, the source web content and overall website design and feature set are reviewed for basic cultural correctness and customizations that may be required. An array of issues are reviewed, ranging from the need to culturally customize graphics and adding local phone numbers to comprehensive customization of website features based on locale-specific cultural values
  6. Translation, Editing and Proofreading
    Translation is performed by a primary translation/copy writing team, and editing/proofreading is done by a secondary linguistic team. All translations are completed by human translators, utilizing translation memory technologies that ensure an efficient and consistent translation.
  7. Website Graphic and UI Localization

    All embedded, translatable text found in navigation buttons, web art and other web graphics are extracted and translated, using the standard translation workflow. The translated text is then incorporated back into the original graphics, adjusting for text expansion as required, to create a language-specific or "localized" version of the graphic.
  8. Document Formatting and DTP
    Many websites have an array of linked documents which may require localization. Formatting or desktop publishing (DTP) of these documents includes formatting the target language documentation to match the original source documents in terms of layout, fonts, graphics, and overall design. Adobe PDF files can be created and optimized for screen or print and linked to the globalized websites.
  9. Multimedia Localization
    Many websites incorporate various multimedia components that require localization. Multimedia must be analyzed individually for numerous factors, which range from determining word counts in screen text, audio scripts and video, to the analysis of the types of assets and how they were digitized and included in your multimedia. All multimedia can be localized and must be tested to properly present audio and video in all target languages.
  10. Website Quality Assurance (QA) and Testing
    GPI's best practices include basic Online Website Localization Quality Assurance (QA) as a standard line item for all website projects. This QA checks the language versions of your site under selected browser/OS combinations for any cosmetic or linguistic issues, and helps identity basic functionality issues as well. Typically all testing is client-driven and the Globalization Services Team will work side-by-side with your expert users to perform I18N, L10N and/or Functionality Testing, onsite or offsite.
  11. Client Delivery
    After the website and all components have been localized, final draft sets of the source files in all target language versions are provided to the client. Client may review and approve all web content for both translation accuracy and design correctness. Another round of QA is performed once language versions of a website are in their final hosting environment.
  12. Final Edits and File Archiving
    Client provides any final comments for the translation and formatting. Comments are incorporated and final websites and documents are produced. GPI ensures the client's Translation Memories (TMs) and Glossaries are updated with any final linguistic changes. The final project folder, including all source files, is securely stored for future revisions, if required.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Internet Marketing


GPI recommends that you plan on and conduct some form of search engine marketing (SEO) and/or search engine marketing (SEM) in order to drive traffic to your new language sites. This may include global SEO of the localized web content, submission of pages to key country (locale) search engines and pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaigns through services like Google AdWords or Overture.


SEO also requires an effective list of keywords. Locating correct keywords for your website content and Meta tags for certain languages like Arabic often require new "organic" research on selected keywords. You cannot afford to simply depend on translated keywords: for some languages your translation vendor will need to create original keywords related to your product or services. To review some examples of SEO challenges for one language, (Arabic), read our blog post Arabic SEO and Localization.

A Proven Model for Successful Website Globalization


GPI has developed this methodology and set of best practices based on hundreds of successful, website localization projects that involved huge, scalable websites. Initial analysis and discovery, as well as establishment of communication methods, is critical to your success. A complete, documented website localization kit (set of source files) is also essential to ensure success from the very start of your project. Website globalization is not an afterthought, but an critical ingredient in your overall product and marketing strategy.


Keeping these steps in mind, it will be possible for you to gather and document essential source file assets ahead of time and be ready for website globalization to begin at the proper time, as you prepare to launch your products or services in new global markets.


Globalization Partners International (GPI) has also developed a series of white papers specific to globalizing websites for specific locales. You may download Website Globalization and E-Business Series white papers for free.


Additional Resources on Language Translation Services


To further understand the entire Globalization process, you should download our PDFs " Language Globalization Guides."  You may also benefit from our previous blogs:



GPI, a premiere translation Agency, provides comprehensive globalization and translation services. GPI will be happy to assist you. Request a Translation Quote online, or you may contact GPI at info@globalizationpartners.com or at 866-272-5874 with your specific questions about your target global markets and your project goals.

Website Translation
website, globalization, localization kit, source file, translation workflow, glossary, cultural correctness

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Federico has over 12 years' experience as a globalization engineer managing a wide range of software and website globalization projects (internationalization I18n + localization L10n). His expertise spans software and website internationalization and localization processes, standards and tools as well as locale specific SEO. Federico has completed hundreds of successful globalization engagements serving as lead I18n architect involving different programming languages. He is a certified developer in several content management systems and helps clients create world-ready applications, utilizing development practices that are faster, more economical, and more localization-friendly.